Chris Condon/PGA Tour
The PGA Tour’s best-attended event begins this weekend as the Waste Management Open returns to the TPC Scottsdale in the greater Phoenix area. Dubbed the “Greatest Show on Grass”, the tournament routinely sees half a million fans pass through the gates and features stadium seating on most of the 18 holes. Golfers will have to contend with the “Coliseum”, a par-3 surrounded on 3 sides with stands that hold 20,000 people known to both applaud loudly at good shots and boo and heckle mercilessly on mishits. Returning to this cauldron will be defending champion Rickie Fowler.
2019 Champion Rickie Fowler
Rob Schumacher, Arizona Republic/USA TODAY Network
Rickie Fowler headed into Phoenix last year without a win in each of the previous 2 seasons. The golfer, once lauded as the next superstar, was in need of another win to boost his confidence after numerous near misses. So when Fowler headed into the final round with a commanding lead, it looked like all he needed was to hold his nerve to claim his 5th PGA Tour win. However, a chip into the water on the 11th hole resulted in Fowler taking a drop. Unfortunately for Fowler, his drop ball ended up rolling right back into the water, costing him another stroke. Fowler escaped the hole with a triple-bogey and looked on par for an epic meltdown. Instead, Fowler rallied to win the trophy by 2 strokes over Branden Grace.
Fowler will hope for a much more straightforward win this time around, but sees a strong field standing in his way. Justin Thomas, currently the FedEx Cup points leader and 4th ranked golfer in the world, will look to build on his strong season on his return to the desert. Spanish golfer and world number 3 Jon Rahm is another one to watch. Rahm is a graduate of Arizona State University and will likely receive strong support from the local crowd. In fact, numerous golfers with Arizona links will be teeing off, including residents Tony Finau and Adam Hadwin. Other contenders are 2-time champion Hideki Matsuyama, as well as Bryson DeChambeau and Bubba Watson.
Former Sun Devil Jon Rahm will be a fan favorite. Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Television coverage of all 4 rounds is provided by the Golf Channel and CBS. Coverage begins Thursday and Friday, 3-7pm ET, on the Golf Channel. Saturday and Sunday coverage begins on the Golf Channel 1-2:45pm ET before finishing on CBS from 3-6pm ET. Streaming coverage of featured holes and groups can be streamed on PGA Tour Live through NBC Sports Gold. Radio commentary is provided by PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM satellite radio and streaming online at PGATour.com/liveaudio.