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Waste Management Phoenix Open preview

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By Seth Kerr (Cooper)

GolfWRX Staff Writer

The PGA Tour heads 377 miles East on I-10 this week to the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The tournament is almost as well known for its raucous atmosphere as the tournament itself. The 162-yard par three 16th hole features fans surrounding the players on all sides, with the crowd routinely booing or cheering players’ shots. Last year Jarrod Lyle made a hole in one on the 16th during the second round of the tournament, which sent the crowd into a frenzy.  Players trying to capture the crowd’s good graces are often seen throwing hats, frisbees, gloves, and anything else they can find in their bag into the stands as they walk from tee to green.

Mark Wilson returns to the 7,214-yard TPC of Scottsdale looking to repeat as champion after his playoff victory over Jason Duffner last year. The mild mannered Wilson overcame frost delays, which forced a Monday finish, and a strong field to beat Duffner on the second playoff hole to win his second tournament in three starts. Wilson will be looking to repeat the same feat again, having already won at the Humana Challenge this year.

Kyle Stanley, a relative unknown prior to last week, is back looking to bounce back from his finish at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open. Stanley had a three shot lead in the fairway on No. 18, but then spun his wedge off the green into the water and three putted for triple bogey. That forced a playoff with Brandt Snedeker. After both players made birdie on No. 18, Snedeker got up and down on No. 16 and Stanley three putted to give Snedeker his second come from behind victory in as many years.

Stanley, no stranger to heartache after watching Steve Stricker birdie the final two holes to win the John Deere Classic last year, thanked his Twitter followers for all their support and said he is looking forward to playing in Phoenix.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open, which touts itself as the “greenest stop on the PGA Tour”  is also bringing back the “Green Out” event on Sat. February 4th. For each spectator who wears green on Saturday, the Thunderbird Charities will donate some green to Keeping Arizona Clean and Beautiful. Last year’s Green Out raised $35,000, so if you are planning to head to the tournament make sure you wear green on Saturday.

Nine of the top 10 players on the money list will be in the field this week, with only Steve Stricker not playing. Ian Poulter is making his first start of the year since the birth of his son Joshua last week. The tournament airs Thursday and Friday on Golf Channel from 4-7 p.m. EST. CBS has the coverage on Saturday and Sunday from 3-6 p.m. EST.

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