The 2023 Waste Management Phoenix Open took place from February 9th to 12th, 2023. This year, the event brought plenty of excitement with a surprise upset and a record-setting purse. In case you missed it, we put together this recap of the big day complete with some general information about the tournament.
Introduction to the Waste Management Phoenix Open
The Waste Management Phoenix Open, also known as the WM Phoenix Open, the WM Open and the Phoenix Open, takes place every year in late January or early February. The date has coincided with the weekend of the Super Bowl since 1973. Some years, this led to the tournament taking place Wednesday through Saturday or resulted in part of the event not being televised.
Despite the name of the WM Open, Phoenix isn't actually the location. TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona, actually hosts the event. The course opened in 1986 and is part of the Tournament Players Club network that the PGA operates.
When the tournament debuted in 1932, it was simply called the Arizona Open or Phoenix Open. After only three years, the event was halted, only to be revived in 1939 by a philanthropic organization known as the Thunderbirds. Until 1983, Phoenix Country Club served as the location for the tournament. In 2003, Friedman Billings Ramsey, an investment bank, sponsored the event, and its official name became the FBR Open. Waste Management, Inc., took over the sponsorship in 2010, renaming the event the WM Open.
In the history of the event, only four golfers have ever won three times: Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler, Mark Calcavecchia and Phil Mickelson. Last year's winner was Scottie Scheffler, who took home a payout of $1.476 million.
This year, the event was one of the elevated tournaments in which all top PGA players agreed to participate in. A portion of the proceeds from the tournament help fund Special Olympics events in Phoenix.
WM Phoenix Open Payout and Earnings
For the 2023 season, the PGA has made major changes to payouts for several events. The reason for the increase is to make the PGA more competitive with LIV Golf and encourage greater participation among the top players. With its new elevated status, the event had a $20 million purse. In 2021, the prizes awarded totaled just $8.2 million.
When the PGA announced the new larger payout, they specified that the winner would take home $3.6 million. Second place would receive $2.18 million, and the third-place winner would walk away with $1.38 million.
Vegas' Odds of Winning Waste Management Open
Going into the event, Rory McIlroy was favored to win at +800 odds. In 2022, he had a great season with wins at the Tour Championship, CJ Cup and the Canadian Open, and he came in second in the European Tour. Jon Rahm was estimated to be the next most likely to win at +850 odds. Scottie Scheffler was also on the list of potential winners, rated at +1,500 odds.
Who Won the WM Phoenix Open?
In the end, Scottie Scheffler held onto his title as the championship winner. The American golfer was born in Ridgewood, NJ, in 1996 and moved to Dallas in 2002. He became interested in golf when he was given a play set at the age of three. Thanks to training with instructor Randy Smith, Scheffler won tournaments on the PGA junior circuit 75 times.
While at the University of Texas, he led his team to three Big 12 championship victories. His first appearance at the U.S. Open was in 2016. In addition to winning the WM Phoenix Open in 2022, Scheffler was the champion of the Arnold Palmer Invitationals, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and the Masters Tournament.
On Thursday, Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor rose to the top of the WM Open leaderboard, but by Friday Scheffler had taken the lead with a 64. For a moment on Saturday, he seemed like he might be in some trouble when he ended up in the rough on the 14th hole. However, Scheffler managed a birdie and held onto his lead. Jon Rahm and Nick Taylor started Sunday 11 under and never managed to catch up. With this win, Scheffler became only the seventh player in history to win back-to-back WM Open tournaments.
Here's a look at the WM Phoenix Open Leaderboard top 10 at the end of the tournament:
- 1 Scottie Scheffler, -19 score, $3.6 million earnings
- 2 Nick Taylor, -17 score, $2.18 million earnings
- 3 Jon Rahm, -14 score, $1.38 million earnings
- 4 Justin Thomas, -13 score, $980,000 earnings
- 5 Jason Day, -12 score, $820,000 earnings
- T6 Sam Burns, -11 score, $652,500 earnings
- T6 Sungjae Im, -11 score, $652,500 earnings
- T6 Jordan Speith, -11 score, $652,500 earnings
- T6 Tyrrell Hatton, -11 score, $652,500 earnings
- T10 Wyndham Clark, -10 score, $485,000 earnings
- T10 Xander Schauffele, -10 score, $485,000 earnings
- T10 Rickie Fowler, -10 score, $485,000 earnings
- T10 Adam Hadwin, -10 score, $485,000 earnings
The predicted champion, Rory McIlroy, tied for 32nd with a score of -4. He received a payout of $109,286. He struggled on Thursday with four bogeys putting him +2 over par and tied for 82nd place.
Between Scottie Scheffler's back-to-back win, Rickie Fowler acing No. 7 with a hole in one, and the increased payout, the WM Phoenix Open created a major buzz! It will be interesting to see how the rest of the 2023 season unfolds. In the meantime, spring is almost upon us, meaning it's nearly time to get back to the course.
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