WM Phoenix Open: Scottie Scheffler trying to defend title against Rory McIlroy, loaded field in Arizona
All eyes are on the Valley this week.
Not only will Super Bowl LVII kick off Sunday afternoon at State Farm Stadium, but the People’s Major will put together an incredibly strong field just a few miles away in Scottsdale.
Here’s everything you need to know about the WM Phoenix Open 2023.
VM Phoenix Open
TPK Scottsdale | Scottsdale, Arizona
71 | 7261 yards
Wallet: $8.5 million.
FedExCup points for the winner: 500
BetMGM Favorites: John Ram (+750), Rory McIlroy (+800)
Last outing: Scotty Scheffler wins first Tour win
Scotty Scheffler’s impressive rise began at the WM Phoenix Open 2022.
Scheffler beat Patrick Cantley in a three-hole playoff at last year’s tournament to capture his first career PGA Tour title in his 71st career start. This win marked the beginning of his breakout year on the Tour, which quickly catapulted him to number one in the world rankings.
Scheffler used a win at the WM Phoenix Open and a few weeks later won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play to earn the green jacket at The Masters in April. Scheffler also placed second at the US Open and Tour Championship and finished in the top 10 11 times in a year.
Scheffler comes out this week at world number 2 in an attempt to defend his title at TPC Scottsdale. This season, he has already hit the top 10 three times, and last time he hit T11 on The American Express.
Although everything has changed for Scheffler in a year, he does not feel it.
“I think I’ve definitely changed a lot coming to tournaments and stuff, but I don’t really feel much change from what I felt sitting here last year,” he said on Wednesday. “In terms of the game, I just always try to get a little better and the game of golf doesn’t change too much for me. I just show up and do my best. I hope this will put me in an advantageous position before Sunday.”
Rory McIlroy debut in 2023 on a crowded field
Rory McIlroy returns to tour this week for the first time in October. He definitely picked an action-packed event for his 2023 debut.
Twenty-three of the top 24 players in the official world golf rankings who qualify for the Tour play at TPC Scottsdale, one of the strongest courses this season.
McIlroy will need a strong finish if he too wants to maintain his top spot in the rankings. If McIlroy trips, John Rahm and Scotty Sheffler have a viable way to jump over him.
However, McIlroy had a very simple answer when asked if he felt like the best player in the world on Wednesday: “Yes.”
“Because I do. I play well. I feel consistent, I’ve been as good as I’ve ever been in my career,” McIlroy said. just look at my statistic categories, there are no obvious flaws, I worked really hard on it to try and become a more versatile player.”
For more about McIlroy, click here.
Netflix show coming up
Next week, Netflix will release a golf documentary ‘Full Swing’ that will explore both Tour and his feud with LIV Golf in 2022.
Based on the trailers that have been released so far, Netflix has had incredible access.
McIlroy was not originally going to be in the documentary, but unexpectedly showed up in the trailer.
“I sort of decided to see how the first season works, see if I like it, like the idea, feel comfortable with letting the cameras infiltrate my life a little more,” McIlroy said. “But I had a good chat with [producer Chad Mumm] in summer. Obviously with everything going on in the world of golf, he just said that somehow my voice could just add a layer of context that wasn’t there before.”
Although his involvement was not as extensive as the others, Scheffler said he had already seen his episode and was quite pleased with how it turned out.
“I wouldn’t say I had a huge part in it,” Scheffler said. “I didn’t give them as much access to my personal life as a lot of guys did, but it was a good experience and I think that’s it – when I originally signed up for it, I really didn’t think they wanted very much from me, and all of a sudden I started winning tournaments and stuff and they said we need a lot more things now. It was kind of a tough balance, but it was a lot of fun.
“I think it will be great for the game. I think it will bring in a whole new audience of golfers and it should be great for our tour as well as golf.”