While the 2023 wrap-around PGA Tour season technically began back in September, the year really begins to roll with the “West Coast Swing.” The first leg was the American Express at La Quinta, featuring a stiff test on the Stadium Course designed by Pete Dye, and then moved over to The Farmers at Torrey Pines, where Tiger famously won the US Open Championship in 2008 playing on a broken leg.
The third stop on the Swing was the AT&T Pro-Am, home to perhaps the greatest course in the world–Pebble Beach Golf Links. This week is the WM Phoenix Open, played at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.
The history of the WM Phoenix Open goes all the way back to 1932, and was originally called the “Arizona Open,” held at Phoenix Country Club. In 1987 the tournament moved to the Championship Course at TPC Scottsdale, designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish.
Next week the West Coast Swing moves back to California and the Genesis Invitational at iconic Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, where Tiger just announced that he will be making his 2023 season debut (and also where he made his first appearance on the PGA Tour).
Jon Rahm won the American Express, his second PGA Tour win of the 2022-2023 season, where he outlasted young Davis Thompson with a one stroke margin at 27 under par. The Farmers Insurance Open saw Max Homa winning his 6th PGA Tour event, where he took down a charging Keegan Bradley, who recorded his 3rd top 10 of the 2023 season to build on his resurgence in 2022 when he recorded 6 top 10’s.
Another big name, Justin Rose, suddenly emerged from the doldrums with an impressive win last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, ending a four-year victory drought by beating Brendan Todd and Brandon Wu by three strokes.
The West Coast swing has delivered plenty of excitement thus far, and this weekend promises even more as Rory McIlroy joins the field at TPC Scottsdale.
WM Phoenix Open
TPC Scottsdale is home to one of the most popular tour events of the season, where a half million or more golf fanatics assemble each year to watch their favorites and let it all hang out.
The centerpiece of the tournament is the par 3 16th hole, otherwise known as “The Coliseum,” where raucous spectators turn it up to max volume, testing the focus of even the most seasoned tour pro.
Past winners include many of the biggest names in golf, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Johnny Miller, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, and Rickie Fowler.
Tiger left his tracks at TPC Scottsdale in 1997 with a hole-in-one at The Coliseum, and the intensity of the thunderous ovation registered on the Richter scale all the way over at Caltech in Pasadena.
This week’s field includes most of the top players in the world, headlined by Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, and two-time past winner Hideki Matsuyama.
As we head into Sunday, Scottie Scheffler is in the lead as he ramps it up to capture back-to-back Player of the Year honors–while trying to hold off the red-hot Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Nick Taylor. Jason Day and Rickie Fowler are also among the leaders as they look to continue 2023 comeback seasons.
With Scheffler, Rahm, Rory, and a field stacked with the top players on tour jockeying for position, the weekend will be loaded with thrills–and it’s a pretty good bet that the final round on Sunday will be one you won’t want to miss.
All eyes will be on Tiger when he tees it up at the Genesis Invitational next week at Riviera Country Club in LA. What already promised to be a great week of golf just jumped to a new level of excitement before the Tour heads east for the Florida Swing.
The Honda Classic at PGA National Resort in Palm Beach will be first up (February 23-26), where the world’s best will have to negotiate the infamous “Bear Trap,” followed by the Arnold Palmer Invitational (March 2-5) at Bay Hill.
The Players (March 9-12) highlights the Florida swing, followed by the Valspar Championship (March 16-19).
There’s a great stretch of golf on the horizon, and before you know it The Masters will be here, the best golf week of the year—can’t help smiling about that.