The Waste Management Phoenix Open: A Fan’s Preview

The PGA Tour moves onto Phoenix from Feb. 2-5 for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Set in the golf crazy community of Scottsdale, Ariz., the Waste Management Phoenix Open welcomes winter golfers of the PGA variety.

The signature hole at TPC Scottsdale is the par-3 16th hole. This hole is known far and wide as one of the craziest in all of golf. Thousands of spectators pack the stands that surround the hole to watch the players compete. I can't imagine how nerve-racking it would be to tee off in front of several thousand people. I would probably totally miss the ball. This would, of course, draw some derisive comments from the gallery. I wonder what the pros think prior to stepping to the tee box knowing that if they hit a less than stellar shot they will hear the jeers.

While the tournament draws the largest galleries in golf, just two of the world's top 10 players are competing at the Waste Management Open--Webb Simpson and Dustin Johnson. Also competing in Phoenix are three players that already have a tournament title under their belt this year. Johnson Wagner, Mark Wilson and Brandt Snedeker are all scheduled to compete. Hyundai Tournament of Champions winner Steve Stricker is the only winner on Tour this year that will not be playing in Phoenix.

There are also several former champions that are returning to Phoenix. Notable among them are Mark Wilson, J.B. Holmes, Vijay Singh, and Phil Mickelson. I would like to think that Phil Mickelson can play well in Phoenix. He is definitely a crowd favorite and has won this title twice. However, in two events this season Phil has shot himself out of the tournament on the first day. When questioned, Mickelson said that there wasn't a bad area in his game at the moment and brushed off questions about the health of his daughter, Sophia.

I'm hoping Phil can come out on Feb. 2 and play well. Maybe then he can work toward getting himself into the tournament and see what happens as the week unfolds. Just as Tiger Woods' return is very significant for golf, having Phil Mickelson play well can do nothing but help the PGA Tour.

Dwight is an avid golfer. While still relatively new to the game, he plays as often as the weather and his schedule will allow.

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