2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open Preview
Dates: January 31 – February 3, 2019
Where: Scottsdale, Arizona
Course: TPC Scottsdale (Par/Yards: 71/7,261)
Field size: 132
2018 champion: Gary Woodland
Purse: $7,100,000 ($1,278,000/winner)
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner Format: 72-hole stroke play
Things to know about the Waste Management Phoenix Open
• 21 of the top 30 in the FedExCup standings are in the field, led by Nos. 1-3 Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland, respectively.
• Defending champion Gary Woodland, fresh off a T9 performance last week at the Farmers Insurance Open, has five top-10 finishes in seven starts in 2018-19.
• Arizona State alumni led the PGA TOUR in FedExCup points last season among collegiate programs; former Sun Devils in this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open include Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie and Grayson Murray; Tim Mickelson, former ASU head coach, currently caddies for his brother.
• Now in its 83rd year, the Waste Management Phoenix Open surpassed $100 million in all-time charitable giving in 2015, making it the third PGA TOUR event to achieve the historic milestone (AT&T Byron Nelson, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am).
• For the third time in five years, the Waste Management Phoenix Open was named the PGA TOUR “Tournament of the Year” for the 2018 event.
• Waste Management Phoenix Open has done something no other sporting event, municipality or company in the world has ever done – Zero Waste – for six straight years.
Rising to the Occasion
Eight of the 12 winners through the Farmers Insurance Open have been inside the top 40 in the Official World Golf Ranking at the time of their win: Marc Leishman (23), Brooks Koepka (3), Xander Schauffele (19), Bryson DeChambeau (6), Matt Kuchar (40), Xander Schauffele (11), Matt Kuchar (32) and Justin Rose (1).
The Waste Management Phoenix Open and the FedExCup
• Nine of the 12 winners of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in the FedExCup era (2007-present) have qualified for the FedExCup finale, the TOUR Championship: Aaron Baddeley (2007), Kenny Perry 2009), Hunter Mahan (2010), Mark Wilson (2011), Phil Mickelson (2013), Brooks Koepka (2015), Hideki Matsuyama (2016, 2017) and Gary Woodland (2018).
• Four of the 11 different FedExCup champions are in the field: Bill Haas (2011), Brandt Snedeker (2012), Billy Horschel (2014), Justin Thomas (2017).
• Seventeen of the top 30 in the final 2017-18 FedExCup standings will compete at TPC Scottsdale.
• Twenty-one of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings are in the field.
How Gary Woodland won the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open
Gary Woodland began the day trailing 54-hole leader Rickie Fowler by three strokes, before closing with a 7- under 64 to enter a playoff with Chez Reavie. On the first extra hole, the par-4 18th, Woodland’s par was good for his third PGA TOUR victory in his 207th start at the age of 33 years, 8 months and 14 days. Woodland claimed the win in his ninth start at TPC Scottsdale.
More on Gary Woodland
Following his win in Scottsdale, Woodland would go on to finish T6 at the PGA Championship, advance through all four events in the FedExCup Playoffs and finish 26th in the FedExCup standings. Through just seven starts this season, he has collected five top-10 finishes, including solo-second showings at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES and the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
• Eight past Waste Management Phoenix Open champions (12 wins): Gary Woodland (2018), Hideki Matsuyama (2016, 2017), Phil Mickelson (1996, 2005, 2013), Kyle Stanley (2012), Hunter Mahan (2010), Kenny Perry (2009), J.B. Holmes (2006, 2008) and Aaron Baddeley (2007).
• Five 2018-19 winners on the PGA TOUR: Xander Schauffele (WGC-HSBC Champions, Sentry Tournament of Champions), Matt Kuchar (Mayakoba Golf Classic, Sony Open in Hawaii), Kevin Tway (Safeway Open), Cameron Champ (Sanderson Farms Championship), Adam Long (Desert Classic).
Players of Note
• No. 28 in the FedExCup standings, 2016 Arizona State University grad has already collected three top-10 finishes in five starts this season; T8/Sentry Tournament of Champions, 6th/Desert Classic, T5/Farmers Insurance Open.
• Four-time All-American at ASU and only player to win multiple Ben Hogan Awards (2015 and 2016), given to the NCAA’s top collegiate male golfer.
• Making fourth start in the Waste Management Phoenix Open (T5/2015/Amateur, T16/2017, T11/2018).
• World No. 4 will make his fifth start in the Waste Management Phoenix Open (T17/2015, MC/2016, MC/2017, T17/2018).
• En route to 2016-17 FedExCup title and Player of the Year honors, collected five wins, including his first major championship title; CIMB Classic, Sentry Tournament of Champions, Sony Open in Hawaii, PGA Championship and Dell Technologies Championship.
• Claimed his seventh, eight and ninth TOUR victories last season at The CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, The Honda Classic and World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Additional top finishes last season included a playoff loss at the WGC-Mexico Championship, 4th/WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and T6/PGA Championship.
• In four starts in 2018-19 season, claimed top-five finishes at the CIMB Classic (T5) and Sentry Tournament of Champions (3). Thomas is 22nd in the current FedExCup standings.
• FedExCup leader will be making his second start in the Waste Management Phoenix Open (T17/2018).
• Schauffele has two wins in 2018-19 at the WGC-HSBC Champions and Sentry Tournament of Champions.
• World Golf Hall of Fame member will set the record of most starts (30) at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He currently shares the record with Gene Littler, Jim Ferrier and Jerry Barber.
• Has competed each year since since 1989, with the exception of 1990.
• Three-time winner of the Waste Management Phoenix Open (1996, 2005, 2013).
• Average winning margin of victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open is three strokes (playoff/1996, 5 strokes/2005, 4 strokes/2013).
• Arizona State University alum owns a total of 11 top-10 finishes in the Scottsdale event, most recently finishing T5 in 2018.
• Making his third start of the 2018-19 PGA TOUR Season; T17/Safeway Open, T2/Desert Classic. Opened the Desert Classic two weeks ago with a 12-under 60 (La Quinta CC) en route to the runner-up finish. The 60 was his third on TOUR, with the other two coming in round two of the 2005 Waste Management Phoenix Open (won) and round one of the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open (won).
• Kuchar, with two wins to his credit already in 2018-19 at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and Sony Open in Hawaii, is second in the FedExCup standings.
• Kuchar has qualified for the season-ending TOUR Championship eight of the last nine years, his streak of eight straight was broken last year when he finished 76th in the standings.
• Four-time PGA TOUR winner, including the 2015 PLAYERS Championship, has finished runner-up (2016), T4 (2017) and T11 (2018) in his last three starts at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Also finished second in 2010. Is making his 11th start in the event, dating to 2009.
• In three official starts in 2018-19, finished T4 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, T16 at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and T66 at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open.
• PGA TOUR rookie claimed first TOUR title last fall at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
• In addition to his win this season, claimed additional top-10 finishes at the Mayakoba Golf Classic (T10) and The RSM Classic (6).
• Will be making his first start at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Significant changes for PGA TOUR in 2018-19
1. The new schedule – with an improved flow, from start-to-finish, will allow fans to better follow and engage in the PGA TOUR all season long. THE PLAYERS move to March and the PGA Championship move to May has created a “Season of Championships” — with six straight months of significant events starting with THE PLAYERS, bookended by the FedExCup Playoffs in August.
2. The FedExCup Playoffs – which have been reduced from four to three events beginning this season and will conclude before Labor Day, allowing the TOUR to compete to own the August sports calendar – will
feature fields of 125 for THE NORTHERN TRUST, 70 for the BMW Championship and 30 for the TOUR Championship, where the FedExCup Champion will be determined.
3. A simplified, strokes-based scoring system at the TOUR Championship that crowns a singular champion.
Instead of a points reset at the TOUR Championship, the TOUR is instituting a strokes-based system related to the FedExCup standings through the BMW Championship. The scoring system virtually replicates the win probabilities of the current system but uses strokes instead of points – which is much easier for golf fans, and the casual sports fan, to understand. The leader through the first two FedExCup Playoffs events will begin the TOUR Championship at 10-under par. The next four players will start at -8 through -5, respectively. The next five will begin at -4, regressing by one stroke per five players until players 26-30 start at even par. With the implementation of this change, the player with the lowest total score including FedExCup Starting Strokes will be the FedExCup champion and be credited with an official victory in the TOUR Championship. Two constants will the drama and the crowning of a deserving champion seen over the first 12 years of the FedExCup. Using next year’s scoring at the 2018 TOUR Championship, Justin Rose – thanks to a birdie on the 72nd hole — would have captured the FedExCup by a single shot over Tiger Woods, Billy Horschel and Dustin Johnson.
4. A $10 million Wyndham Rewards-sponsored bonus – the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 — where players will be rewarded for their outstanding play during the Regular Season, prior to the start of the FedExCup Playoffs. The top Regular Season finisher in FedExCup points through the Wyndham Championship will earn $2 million, followed by $1.5 million for the runner-up with the 10th-place finisher earning $500,000. Dustin Johnson led last year’s FedExCup standings through the Wyndham Championship, just 83 points ahead of Justin Thomas.
5. Including the Wyndham Rewards Top 10, there will be a doubling of FedExCup total bonus money available to players, from $35 million to $70 million.
Aon Risk Reward Challenge
The season-long Aon Risk Reward Challenge will highlight the world’s best professional golfers as they tackle the most challenging holes across both the PGA TOUR and LPGA. The PGA TOUR and LPGA player on top of the Aon leaderboard at the end of the regular season will each receive a $1 million prize. The scoring system, identical on both the PGA TOUR and LPGA, is intuitive and produces a compelling risk/reward narrative throughout the season. Players will take their best two scores from each Aon Risk Reward Challenge hole, with the winners having the best average score to par at the end of the regular season. Players must play a minimum of 40 rounds throughout the season. The Challenge runs across regular season tournaments (36 PGA TOUR; 29 LPGA).
This week focuses on the 17th hole at TPC Scottsdale, a quintessential risk reward drivable par-4 that forces players to choose a strategy off the tee, and to execute precisely for a chance to make birdie or even eagle. The green can be divided into four quadrants and the strategic player will approach each pin location differently. The key risk zones that catch the players’ eye off the tee are: 5 fairway bunkers dotting the fairway, water wrapping around the green, mounding to the right, and a bunker in the back-middle of the green. The Aon insight is that 76% of players go for the green off the tee and 50% of them go on to make birdie or better. 64% of players who find the water go on to make bogey or worse. As with any good short par-4, there isn’t a single strategy that makes every area of the green easily accessible. Players must take into account where the pin is and play the correct line off the tee to give them the advantage.
Waste Management Phoenix Open Preview via PGA TOUR