The “Greatest Show on Grass” returns this weekend to the Arizona desert as the Waste Management Phoenix Open takes place at TPC Scottsdale January 31-February 3. The tournament is well known as the best attended and most raucous PGA Tour event as over half a million spectators pass through the gate over the week. The 2019 field includes Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele, Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama and looks to provide another highly competitive Waste Management Phoenix Open.
The tournament’s roots head all the way back to the inaugural Phoenix Open held at the Phoenix Country Club in 1932, though the tournament would fold in 1935 in the face of the worsening Great Depression. Bob Goldwater, older brother of future Arizona Congressman and presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, revived the tournament in 1939 through the Thunderbirds civic group who agreed to stage the tournament. The Thunderbirds limit their membership to only 55 active members from the Phoenix area and have raised millions of dollars for charity through the Phoenix Open and other events. The group continues to put on the tournament, which primarily benefits the Special Olympics and Boys and Girls Clubs. The tournament moved to the TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course in 1987, where it has become a huge part of the attraction. The layout of the course makes it the most fan-friendly course as multiple stands are available to watch the action throughout the course. The most famous hole is undoubtedly the 16th, dubbed “the Coliseum”. This par-3 is fully surrounded by grandstands that can seat more than 20,000 spectators, many of whom are college students known to both cheer and boo loudly.
The tournament has seen wins from some of the game’s greatest players including 3-time winners Arnold Palmer, Phil Mickelson, Mark Calcavecchia and Gene Littler. Other past champions include Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama and Vinjay Singh. The tournament has also seen a number of firsts. Mark Calvecchia set the tournament's 72 hole scoring record at the course in 2001 (since tied in by Phil Mickelson) with a record 32 birdies--a number that has never been bested in any PGA Tour event. The only par-4 ace in PGA Tour history also occurred at that 2001 tournament when Andrew Magee drained his tee shot on the 332-yard 17th hole.
General admission to the Waste Management Phoenix Open is $45 for Thursday and Friday and $60 for Saturday and Sunday. General Admission gains access to the grounds and any of the hospitality venues open to the public. Upgraded options are abundant and run from several hundred to several thousand dollars per ticket. In addition, youth 17 and under are free when accompanied by a ticket-holding adult. The Phoenix Open also offers all first responders and Active, Reserve and Retired Military get free admission for themselves and one accompanying individual. Television coverage is provided by Golf Channel and NBC. Coverage begins Thursday and Friday 3-7pm ET on Golf Channel. On Saturday and Sunday, coverage starts on Golf Channel 1-3pm ET before switching to NBC 3-6pm ET. Radio coverage is provided by PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM and PGATour.com while streaming coverage is available through PGA Tour Live.