A quick look at last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where all four Bulldogs made the cut:
Greyson Sigg made the cut by a couple of strokes, braved the bad weather in the third round, and snuck into a tie for 55th.
Kevin Kisner shot an opening 76, but somehow recovered by closing with 3 under par rounds. He finishes at T34.
Keith Mitchell was sniffing the top of the leaderboard after each round. He was enough in contention to be micc’ed up (wore a CBS microphone) for the live broadcast on the 3rd hole of his final round. I’m pretty sure he led the field in proximity to hole, but he couldn’t make a putt to save his life. He finishes 4 back in a tie for 4th.
Brendon Todd literally got better each round, shooting 70-69-68 then a 65 in the final round to finish in a tie for 2nd. Justin Rose shot 65-66 to take command of the lead and did not surrender it.
So what’s going on this week? A lot. Besides the actual golf being played, the Super Bowl will be held about 30 minutes away . And the Netflix special “Full Swing” will make its debut next week, so folks are getting pumped up for that. As for the golf tournament itself:
Tournament: Waste Management Phoenix Open, February 9-12, 2023
Course: TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course), par 71, 7,261 yards. After the last few weeks, pros might like getting back to playing a single course.
Purse: $20 million, up from $9 million last year. The winner receives $3.6 million, which is more than double the 2022 winner’s check of $1.476 million. More on this below.
Defending Champ: Scottie Scheffler. Starting one of the best runs in golf history, Scheffler shot 62 in the 3rd round to get to the top of the leaderboard. He birdied 4 holes of the final 9 and got into a playoff with Patrick Cantlay, then emerged victorious on the 3rd playoff hole. The Texas Longhorn would also win 3 of his next 5 tournaments, including the Masters.
Fun Fact: This is the highest-attended golf tournament in the world, and it’s not especially close. With the Super Bowl in town, Arizona State just down the road, with warm and sunny weather, the tournament attracts fans like no other. They open the gates around 6 am, in the dark mind you, and fans will literally dead-sprint across the course to the 16th hole for prime viewing of the totally enclosed par 3. The desert landscape, with boulders, cacti, and other unpleasant obstacles, usually snag a few still-drunk-from-the-night-before patrons.
TV Times: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel), Saturday, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS)
‘Dawgs in the Field: 9. Kevin Kisner, Harris English, Russell Henley, Brendon Todd, Brian Harman, Keith Mitchell, Chris Kirk, Greyson Sigg, Davis Thompson.
It is the first “full-field designated event” of the PGA Tour season. While there’s a lot to unpack, there is too much so I will sum up. The most recent TV contracts kicked in recently, so the PGA Tour was suddenly flush with money. With the blessings of the players (Players Advisory Council), the Tour pushed money into certain events in an effort to attract more top players via larger purses. These “elevated events” (Waste Management, Travelers, Heritage, Wells Fargo) will likely change every year so that Tour sponsors each have their seat at the table of increased viewership, merch, and ticket sales. The fact this happened on the heels of losing big stars to the LIV Tour with their even bigger purses is pure coincidence, I’m sure.
Your Wasted Management fanfest is now coupled with 23 of the top 24 players in the world (I’ve seen 22 of 25, who knows), serious serious money at stake, and it concludes about 2 hours and only 30 miles from the site of the Chiefs/Eagles Super Bowl. Every golf-related social media will have this as the backdrop, and hopefully will include video of hilarious drunk fans.
You don’t think this is a party? Here’s a partial calendar of events:
Concert on the 16th hole with Maroon 5 a full 6 days before the golf even starts. Thursday night is Jason Aldean concert, Friday is Machine Gun Kelly, and Saturday night is The Chainsmokers. There are a myriad of pro-ams, hole-in-one contests, putting contests, and other such things.
The course is usually in pristine condition, though with all the heavy rains out west their overseeding may have been affected. No worries, as this course has no right to even exist in that environment. There is a decent amount of water on the course, and you will see coots and other waterfowl regularly. One of the best holes is the 17th - a drivable par 4 that sets up a wonderful risk/reward when the tournament is on the line.
Former Bulldog and former PGA Tour member and current local resident Bubba Watson has some very good finishes here but won’t be playing. I’d watch out for Brendon Todd and Greyson Sigg. Todd because he showed great form last week, and like Sigg, has a short surname. Because in 2023, all tournament winners have had no more than 4 letters in their last name: Sentry - Rahm, Sony - Kim, AmEx - Rahm, Farmers - Homa, AT&T - Rose. There’s a little tip from your Uncle GTD.
There are a few more sporting events going on this weekend. College basketball is heating up for the stretch run, and the Hoop Hounds host UK Saturday afternoon. But for your Sunday early afternoon viewing, the choice is really down to golf or the Puppy Bowl. Either way you can get your fill of ‘Dawgs chasing balls. Enjoy, and as always...