Jon Rahm may still represent his homeland of Spain, but he played college golf at Arizona State and now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. That means he’ll have a short commute as he heads the field at the Waste Management Phoenix Open this weekend.
Rahm comes into the Phoenix Open as the +600 favorite to walk away with the trophy, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Rahm looks forward to Phoenix Open
While the world’s No. 1 golfer has never won in Phoenix, he says it’s one of his favorite tournaments of the season.
“It’s always a week I look forward to,” Rahm told reporters after competing with Aaron Rodgers in the pro-am event. “I have a lot of support this week. It’s a home week. It’s a special event, right? It’s an event unlike any other.”
Rahm isn’t alone in his love for the Phoenix Open. The tournament elicits a raucous party atmosphere, with the gallery cheering – and jeering – shots throughout the Stadium Course on TPC Scottsdale. It wraps up on Super Bowl Sunday, and has become a tour favorite amongst both fans and players.
“The way I try to explain the Phoenix Open to people that have never gone is, ‘Imagine a humongous bar or outdoor party, and in the middle of it, there’s a golf tournament going on,’” James Edmonson, caddy for Ryan Palmer, told VinePair.com in 2020. “I mean, 90 percent of the people attending don’t really care about the golf.”
Over the course of the Phoenix Open week – from practices on Monday to the final round on Sunday – over 700,000 people could attend the tournament. That makes this the highest-attendance sporting event in the United States. It will be a very different atmosphere from 2021, when only a limited number of fans could watch in person.
Long hitters should have edge in desert
It’s not all fun and games, however. Six of the world’s top 10 and 28 of the top 50 are in the field, making the Phoenix Open a serious competition. The likes of Justin Thomas (+1000), Hideki Matsuyama (+1200), Patrick Cantlay (+1600), and Jordan Spieth (+1600) will be competing with Rahm for the title.
Long hitters tend to love the course, as it rewards length as long as the ball stays in play. World No. 3 Viktor Hovland (+1600) said the conditions make for good golf, though there’s still challenge to be found.
“It’s desert golf, not really a lot of wind,” Hovland told reporters. “You’d think it would be pretty easy, but just with how the greens are so firm and fast, it’s hard to get real close to the pins.”
One of the biggest talking points heading into the Phoenix Open has been Phil Mickelson’s comments at the Saudi International last weekend. Mickelson accused the PGA Tour of “obnoxious greed” while supporting an event that could lead to a competing breakaway tour.
For the most part, though, players tried to stay away from that controversy.
“I try to stay away from those things,” Rahm told reporters. “I’m here to play golf, and that’s about it.”