The Phoenix Open on the US Tour looks an open tournament with Brandt Snedeker (pictured) having the best profile. Snedeker was second to Tiger Woods in the Farmers Insurance Open, and last year’s FedEx Cup winner has some decent course form in his record.
Woods completed the job at Torrey Pines on Monday, winning the tournament by four shots. The former world number one has now recorded 75 wins on the US PGA Tour. He would like to transfer the form he showed in California to the US Masters in April. Major championship wins will define Woods’ career, and he still looking to surpass Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major titles.
The Phoenix Open has been played at the TPC course at Scottsdale since 1987. The event is best known for its huge galleries and in particular the raucous atmosphere at the par 3 16th where the crowd surrounds the entire hole from tee to green.
The TPC at Scottsdale is a typical stadium course, except that it is in the desert so waste areas and bunkers are prevalent. Water is in play on several holes and the Bermuda greens are mostly above average in size. It is accuracy more than distance that is the key to good scoring.
The weather can be a factor at the Arizona complex. It can be anything from cold and wet to warm and dry so the forecast and round one tee times can affect the shape of the tournament. The stretch around the turn is exposed and most susceptible to the vagaries of the elements.
Several players have made the top-five on their tournament debuts. Overall, however, it has generally paid to rely on course form, probably as much for experience of the extraordinary atmosphere as for knowledge of the demands of the course.
The winner usually has to shoot four rounds in the 60s, and the average winning score over the last six years has been 16-under. Another consideration is that players that do well here often have local connections, so the fact that Phil Mickelson played college golf at Arizona State makes him a leading contender this week.