SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – The 2024 Waste Management Phoenix Open, referred to in Arizona as the “People’s Open,” along with the “Greenest Show on Grass,” got off to a rocky start this year when Mother Nature decided to rename this year’s Open “The Wettest and Coldest Show on Grass.”
Set in the rugged Sonoran Desert and surrounded by the stunning and beautiful McDowell Mountains, The WM Phoenix Open showcases some of the top players in golf coupled with the largest crowds of any golf event in the world. This yearly gathering has become both a tradition and celebration here in the city of Scottsdale.
If you haven’t had a chance to attend a Phoenix Open, you will never understand or appreciate how people from every walk of life can come together for four days and enjoy something much bigger than just watching a golf tournament. It’s truly an amazing moment in time shared by professional golfers and fans alike. I recommend that you put it on your “Bucket List.”
Although this tournament is not one of this year’s PGA Signature Events, it is exciting and certainly fan-oriented. Last year, the event had Designated Event status with a $20 million purse, of which winner Scottie Scheffler claimed $3.6 million, but this year the purse was reduced to $8.8 million, with the winner receiving $1.584 million which is less than half of last year’s winnings.
The WM Phoenix Open brings immeasurable attention and respect to the Stadium Course, designed by the team of Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish. The course, which was renovated in 2014, is most famous for its par-3, 16th hole that transforms into “The Coliseum” during the tournaments and provides fans with one of the most exciting settings in professional sports.
This par 71 course measures 7,266 yards from the tournament tees. Trouble comes in the form of 72 bunkers that are deep and strategically placed in the fairways and around the greens, that are large and feature many tricky twists and subtle breaks. Water comes into play on six of the holes, including three of the last four.
After play was suspended just after 12:30 p.m. on Thursday due to “unplayable conditions,” the PGA Tour announced in late afternoon Round 1 would continue at 4 p.m. A little more than half the field had already teed off, with Sahith Theegala 5-under making it through 14 holes and sitting atop the leaderboard.
Once play resumed, the rain subsided, but a cold blustery wind made the remainder of the afternoon a challenge for players and fans. Round 1 play was suspended due to darkness with the final threesomes just completing their 6th hole of the day.
Nick Taylor finished his opening round as the outright leader on Friday after firing a record setting 11-under 60. He was 3-under through six holes on Thursday before play was suspended due to weather. He resumed his first round on Friday morning and continued his assault on the TPC Scottsdale Course by finishing with eight birdies and no bogeys over his last 12 holes.
The leaderboard at the completion of Round 1 had 1st place Nick Taylor -11. 2nd place Andrew Novak -9. 3rd place Maverick McNealy -8. 4th place Doug Ghim -6, and Sahith Theegala -6.
Prior to the start of the second round on Friday, the PGA announced a 90-minute delay due to lingering frost as temperatures in the Arizona desert reached near-freezing in the overnight hours. This delay would almost certainly make finishing both the first round and second rounds today unlikely. It also means that anymore delays today or over the next two days would most like require a Monday finish.
Nick Taylor, whose 11-under opening round tied the course record at TPC Scottsdale, began his second round just 40 minutes after completing Round 1 and shot a 1-under 70. “Yeah, it’s weird feeling disappointed after a 70, said Taylor, but this morning was pretty hard to follow up I Didn’t hit it great off the tee this afternoon, so I was grinding a little bit early on, but held it together “But this morning was obviously pretty special to make all those putts and shoot 60.”
More than half the field did not complete their second round when play was suspended due to darkness. The second round will resume tomorrow (Saturday) morning.
The leaderboard at the completion of Round 2 had 1st place Sahith Theegala -13. 2nd place Andrew Novak -12, Nick Taylor -12. 4th place Maverick McNealy -10. 5th place Doug Ghim -9. There are 5 players tied for 6th place at -8.
73 players made the cut at -2. Notables who missed the cut were Stewart Cink, Luke Donald, Max Homa, Matt Kuchar, Gary Woodland, and Rickie Fowler.
The WM Phoenix Open crowd quickly became the sideshow here on Saturday as it began to swell, and both the police and tournament officials began to get concerned about dealing with the increasing control challenges. This prompted the organizers to close the gates in the afternoon and limit alcohol sales because the course was just to crowded. “It’s insane,” said a golf fan in town for a bachelor party. “It’s the Waste Management Open. It’s known for being a party.”
They also put this statement out on social media; “Due to larger than usual crowds, the WM Phoenix Open entrance gates are temporarily closed and shuttle service to the event is on hold.” “Shuttle service back to parking lots will remain running. Regularly check our channels for updates.
Saturday saw the completion of Round 2 by mid afternoon and the beginning of Round 3 at 4:10 pm MT. This gave the players about 2 hours on the course before play was suspended.
The third round of the WM Phoenix Open resumed after a frost delay pushed the start time back over an hour. The entire field had yet to finish the third round due to multiple weather delays.
The leaderboard at the completion of Round 3 had 1st place Nick Taylor -15, Sahith Theegala -15. 3rd place Charley Hoffman -14, Andrew Novak -14. 5th place Scottie Scheffler -13, Cameron Young -13
A cold desert morning greeted players and fans as play continued to complete the unfinished 3rd round from yesterday afternoon. The course Superintendent and his crew did a masterful job getting the course ready this morning for an early start in spite of an overnight frost.
The final round had threesomes off split tees. Players were not regrouped between rounds. Preferred lies were again used during the fourth round. A warming sun and a gentle desert breeze made today’s final round a pleasant afternoon for both players and spectators here at TPC Scottsdale.
With everyone on the course finished with their first 9 holes, the leaderboard looked like this heading into the final 9. 1st place Charley Hoffman -18, Nick Taylor -18. 3rd place Scottie Scheffler -17. 4th place Sahith Theegala -16. 5th place Sam Burns -15. 6th place Kurt Kitayama -14.
After dealing with a wayward tee shot on the 17th hole, finding the bunker on the right front side of the green, Hoffman -21 hit his 2nd shot well short of the pin and then calmly hit his putt to 2 feet from the cup to keep his 3 shot lead intact heading to the 18th. Meanwhile, Taylor -19 birdied up on the par 5 15th hole to close Hoffman’s lead to just 2 strokes.
Taylor -20 went “Pin Hunting” on the Par 3 16th Coliseum hole and grabbed himself another birdie to close within one shot of Hoffman -21, who missed his birdie putt on the 18th. Taylor -20 missed his birdie putt on the 17th hole.
We’re heading to extra holes! Taylor -21 found some magic in his pitching wedge and dropped his 2nd shot on the 18th green leaving a 9-footer for a birdie putt which he made for the tie.
Immediately following the conclusion of the 4th round both Taylor and Hoffman headed out to the 18th tee for their first of Two extra holes. On the second extra hole Charley Hoffman missed his birdie putt but Nick Taylor sank his giving him the win.
Nick Taylor -21 (60 70 68 65) is the 2024 WM Phoenix Open Champion. Along with the winner’s trophy, he pockets a check for $1,584,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points. This is his 4th PGA TOUR win with the last one coming in 2023 at the RBC Canadian Open. He a native Canadian living in Winnipeg. His career earning with today’s winnings added in are $16,516,342.
NBC Reporter Cara Banks caught up with Nick Taylor as he left the green after sinking the winning putt. She asked him, “You mentioned last year that you felt like the underdog coming down the stretch against Scottie Scheffler. Then last year, you went and won your National RBC Canadian Open, how much more comfortable did you feel this time around?”
Taylor responded “Yeah, more comfortable. It was a marathon day you know. You know, we signed our scorecards after the third round and had 8 minutes to go to tea. I don’t know if that rattled me a little bit, but it was just a long day. I found my swing a bit the last nine or ten holes and made some birdies. It was incredible.”
The 2nd place winner is Charley Hoffman -21 (67 68 64 64) who lost in two extra holes to Nick Taylor. Hoffman picks up a check $959,200 and 300 FedEx Cup points.
Third place was shared between Scottie Scheffler-18 (68 66 66 66) and Sam Burns -18 (68 67 67 64). Both players picked up a check for $519,200 and 145 FedEx Cup points