LIV Golf League might be called golf but louder, however, there is no place in golf more noisy than the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale (16th hole), which is the venue of this week’s WM Phoenix Open.
The scene is expected to get even more lively with NFL fans arriving in town for Super Bowl LVII. This week marks the fourth consecutive year that the Super Bowl and WM Phoenix Open have been held in the Phoenix metropolitan region. It hosted the doubleheader in 1996 and 2008, as well as 2015 and 2015.
It promises to be a wild party as usual at the tournament known simply as the Greatest Show on Grass.
Very few sporting event in the world can happen in the same week that the Super Bowl and still have such an impact, said Jon RahmArizona State graduate, who lives in the area.
With that being said, I don’t think it’s everyone’s favorite. Its either a favorite or a hated one. Theres no middle ground.
The 16th hole, The Coliseum, is the most popular in golf. Its surrounded by a stadium that seats over 17,000 people. Last year, after Sam RyderAfter aceing the hole in the third round, he was rewarded with what may have been a couple thousand aluminum beer bottles and cans.
Rain delay. 🍺 pic.twitter.com/iTg3ftTOTG
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 12, 2022
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 13, 2022
I love it, he said. Patrick CantlayWho lost to Scottie SchefflerIn a three-hole playoff, his first year in the WM Phoenix Open. I think it is cool that you can freeze it in there, make everyone go crazy, and make a birdie.
This weeks WM Phoenix Open will be the first time that the PGA Tour has made the WM Phoenix Open an elevated event. Phoenix fans will be less rowdy now that there is a $20million purse up for grabs, with $3.6million going to the winner. It is unlikely. The tournament has replaced aluminum Beer cans and bottles with plastic cupSimilar to the Masters, these are used to make it harder for beverages to reach green.
The field includes 22 out of the top 25 players from the Official World Golf Ranking as well as nine of the top ten FedEx Cup players.
Rahm stated that I think this event was a designated one before we knew what they were going be. This tournament will be what it is no matter what the purse. … Since I came [for]Eight years ago, it was the first time it happened. Its amazing that its been eight and a half years since then. Every year, its made a significant difference.
Here are some things to watch this week in professional golf:
Whats next on PGA Tour?
Where: Stadium Course, TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona
Purse: $20 Million
Three stories to follow
Rahm vs. McIlroy: Rory McIlroyRahm and McIlroy have been the best players in the world over the past few months. Well finally see them face off in the U.S. on Saturday. It will be the first time that they will play in the same PGA Tour tournament since McIlroy won the CJ Cup in South Carolina late October.
McIlroy is the worlds No. McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world has three wins and seven top five finishes in his eight previous worldwide starts. Rahm, ranked 3rd, has had six top-fives and four victories in the same stretch. McIlroy will make his second start at the Phoenix Open. He tied for 13th in 2022. Rahm will be making his eighth appearance in this event. He has never finished lower than 16th.
McIlroy will not be playing with Rahm, at least in the first two rounds. McIlroy is paired up with Collin Morikawa Hideki MatsuyamaIn a feature group (9.48 a.m. ET on Thursday and 2 :33 p.m. ET Friday ET on Friday Rahm is currently playing with Max Homa Keegan Bradley (2:33 p.m. ET on Thursday and 9 :48 a.m. ET on Friday ET on Friday
Rahm may have an advantage at-home.
Its always a good idea to stay home for a tournament, even if its a little different. [with]Rahm stated that the dynamics we have are similar whether we are in a hotel or not. The best thing is being comfortable. Its not like its a constant struggle to learn the course or to get to know the area. Its much easier and less stressful to do this.
Schefflers defenseScheffler is the No. Scheffler, the 2nd-ranked player in the World, won the WM Phoenix Open last years. He will be the reigning champion in four of the next nine events. He also won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Schefflers scoring average is 67.8 according to data from PGA Tour. Xander SchauffeleSecond-lowest among players who have played at least 10 rounds in the events move to TPC Scottsdale in 1987. Louis OosthuizenThe lowest score at 67.58 is currently held by Corey, who is currently playing in the LIV Golf League.
Scheffler aims to become the first backward-to-back winner of this event since Matsuyama in 2016-17.
Schauffele is currently tied for 17th place in five starts of the WM Phoenix Open. He also has two straight top-fives. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Schauffele was within 3 shots entering the final round in four of those starts. He lost by one stroke in each of his previous two years.
Loaded field: This is the deepest field for the WM Phoenix Open ever with so much prize cash at stake. There are now 24 of the top 30 players (up from 16 last year) and 37 out of the top 50 (upfrom 26 last years). The only players in the top 30 who can compete but are not playing are Will ZalatorisSlowly, he is recovering from a back injury. Sepp Straka Ryan Fox.
LIV Golf League announces team names, but not rosters
LIV Golf League introduced two brand new team names and several new logos to mark the upcoming season. These included RangeGoats GCs new franchise name, Bubba Watson. Its not what you think.
— rangegoatsgc (@RangeGoatsGC) February 7, 2023
Champion of the Open Championship in Reign Cameron SmithThe team, which is entirely made up of Australian players, will also change its name to Ripper GC.
In two weeks, the second season of LIV Golf League will begin at Mayakoba, Mexico. The circuit has yet to announce its 48-man roster. Twelve four-man teams will be competing in the second season. The league hasnt yet officially announced whether PGA Tour pros will compete. Mito Pereira Sebastian MunozThey are coming aboard, It has been widely speculated for some time.
Gambler, Secrets from a Life at Risk is the highly anticipated memoir by sports gambler Billy Walters. It was co-written with investigative journalist Armen Kteyian. ESPN has been told by sources that Phil MickelsonWalters was a friend of Walters in the past. He wasnt too excited about the book.
Walters was convicted on 10 counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in 2017. Federal prosecutors claimed that Walters illegally earned $40 million trading Dean Foods stock between 2008 and 2015. He was April 2020: Released from prisonIn January 2021, Trump granted him clemency.
The word is out. August 15th will be the publication date for the book I co-authored and edited with the GOAT. Gambling secrets, six years high-stakes betting, battle with Phil, 31 months in prison, and one helluva inspiring personal story. pic.twitter.com/fwMTRN7N6P
— Armen Keteyian (@ArmenKeteyian) February 8, 2023
This was included in publisher Simon & Schusters news release about the book on Wednesday: Although Mickelson was also implicated in the probe, he was never charged — despite agreeing to pay back more than $1 million in trading profits and interest — and he refused to testify at Walterss trial. Walters shares the inside story about his own trial and exposes shocking details about his six-year relationship with Mickelson.
In 2018, Walters said ESPNMickelson might have been able to help his defense if Mickelson had agreed to testify during the criminal trial.
Heres the guy [Mickelson]Walters stated that all he needed to do was to come forward and tell truth. He had to do that. He was concerned about his image and wouldnt do it. He was concerned about his endorsements.
Home sweet home! pic.twitter.com/7hRRnZrkWq
— Justin ROSE (@JustinRose99) February 7, 2023
Former world No. 1 golfer Justin RoseA four-year drought was ended without any victory claiming the AT&T Pebble BeachMonday Pro-Am He moved up to No. He moved up to No. 35 in the world, and was invited to the Masters. Rose, the winner of the 2013 U.S. Open spoke to ESPN Tuesday about his long journey back up to the top of this leaderboard.
What does it mean that the drought is over?
It means a lot. Its important to remember that as a player, you try to convince yourself, or trick yourself, that its not about winning. But you need a result… It is important to have that shot of confidence. It was the perfect time of year to set up a season for me and get me back on track.
How can you be confident when you havent won in four years? How can you prove to yourself that you are moving in the right direction when you have gone four years without a win?
Obviously, Im sitting there with the benefit of hindsight saying, Well, yeah, it was possible, but its not an easy task. It is impossible to know exactly what will happen or whether you can do it again. You may think you can, and you are certain that you can, but will it happen? You dont even know. You dont know. Rory and Jon Rahm will be among the men youll see. [McIlroy]playing at the same level they are playing. You may think, Man, my game is just kinda here somewhere and these guys play like that. But a couple of good shots and momentum will get you going and youll be right there.
Two days before the tournament began, you switched your irons at the practice range. Do you remember ever doing that?
I do like to tinker. I am a tinkerer, for sure. I believe that my mind is always moving. How can I improve? Usually, I am playing with something. I cant recall a time when I made a major change like that. But I had a Spidey sense. It was like I had a feeling that something was going to be simpler for me. My other irons felt extremely stiff. The heads had tiny blades. I thought, You know? This doesnt feel easy, so lets give it a shot.
You have been a participant in every major championship since 2010. What does it mean for you to be invited back to Augusta National Golf Club in March?
That was a major goal of mine and I had this ticking time. There are many ways to get there, but my goal was to play my way back up into the top 50 by mid-March. That was what I had in mind and focused on. Obviously, winning a tournament is a more enjoyable way to get into the Masters. Im glad that this has been taken care of.
How important is it to you to be in contention for this summers Ryder Cup in Rome?
I think the Ryder Cup has a unique flavor that you cant miss once youve had it. Its a magical week. It can be difficult and heartbreaking. Celebrating as a team, and the entire locker room environment coming together. Obviously, [as]Individual-sport players rarely get to experience it, but when we do, we love it and make the most out of it.
It was a bit of an iron fist that I didnt get picked last time. Its one thing to know you arent playing well, but its quite another when your peers see you as not playing well. Although it was difficult, it was necessary to be motivated.
After winning at Pebble Beach, you were asked about the LIV Golf League. How serious were you about considering switching to another circuit?
I would recommend serious consideration. It never got to the stage where I was like, ‘Do I touch it with the pen?’ No. No. Yes, there were certain benefits, but I couldnt see how it could work without a critical mass. There were still many questions about what we are seeing at the moment. This is the world ranking point side. [about]Access to the majors for you
I haven’t won one to have those exclusions for the next five year or whatever it may be for some of these guys who have made that move. To gain entry, I rely on world ranking points. Thats something I cant let go of. I still want that moment in my career when I win a major and prove that I can do it again a decade later. Thats something I wasnt ready for just yet.
The best bets
Tom KimTo win (8-1), Top-5 (6-2)
Marks: Tom Kim, a 20-year-old youngster, has already won two PGA Tour titles. He was successful in Las Vegas, which had similar desert conditions to TPC Scottsdale. He is a joy to watch, and he loves every moment of it. He was sixth at the American Express, and is first in shots gained from 150 to 175 yards. This helps at this event.
Rickie Fowler top-10 (+450)
Marks: Fowler is looking to get his game back, and we dont think you should look. He has made it to the cut in five out of six events this season. This includes a runner-up finish in the ZoZo Championship. Hes now at one of his favourite tournaments, where in 2019 he won again and was runner-up in 2016.
Collin Morikawa to Win (25-1)
Bearman: There are many men you could play with at TPC Scottsdale that consistently perform well, including Jon Rahm (8-1), Xander Schaffele (14-1), and Scottie Scheffler (11-4). Morikawa (25-1), who was the leader in shots gained: green to tee here in 2020 but couldnt putt, isnt offer the same value. The 25-year old, two-time major champion, has not finished lower than 6th in his three previous events on Tour. He bounced back from blowing an enormous lead in Hawaii with a third-place finish at Torrey Pines. He is currently third on Tour tee to green, fifth on approach, and has shown improvement using the flat stick. He is a great fit for TPC Scottsdale, and if he can hit a few putts, could score another win.
Xander Schauffele +170 top-10, -125 top-20
Bearman: Schauffle was once called the human ATM because he had eight consecutive top-20 finishes last year, including three wins. He has six more top-20s and one more W/D since that streak ended in Memphis last season. Schauffele is now back in good health and plays a TPC course where he has had great success with, finishing no worse than 17th in five of his last five visits. Hes third in shots total and 7th on the tee-to green. He is 33-under par in the last two years. He was second and third.