The three-time Waste Management Phoenix Open Champion and local fan favorite Phil Mickelson is back at it again at the TPC Scottsdale. Many may recall that the first of his three wins in this even happened back in 1996, the same week the Cowboys and Steelers met in the Super Bowl down the road at Sun Devil Stadium.
After competing in the Annexus Pro-Am from the the TPC on Wednesday, “Lefty” met with the media to discuss the week ahead.
Winning in ’96 and in a playoff in ’08 when Super Bowl was also in town: I really enjoy it. I think it is fun that the Super Bowl is here. I think it is a great place to host a Super Bowl. This town as you can see from this golf tournament, really support sporting events, from Arizona State athletics to every professional event…’96 was a great memory for me, winning the tournament for the first time. I had not played well in this event prior to that…I hit a shot on 16 that I will never forget. The pin was back left. I hit it about three or four feet and it was the loudest road I think I still remember to this day.
What he loves about this event: What a great place to hold a golf tournament. It;s a wonderful test on the back side with some risk reward that really makes for an exciting event.
Takes on the course changes: I think for the most part they’re really well done. The first year you always have to cut some slack because the greens are firm and unreceptive because the roots haven’t had the chance to grow in…I think it looks really good. Surprisingly, the greens are putting very true and in wonderful shape. I was pleasantly surprised.
Coming off a tough 2014 season: I felt in the offseason this year to get back to the level of play I know that I am capable of. I had a good offseason, like I say, to get physically able to practice and work as hard as I need to, to play at this level and I feel like my game is where I want it to be.
Current Sun Devil John Rahm a tournament exemption this week: John Rahm is the third-ranked amateur in the world. He’s a phenomenal player. I think it says a lot about the Thunderbirds saying with the support of the Arizona State athletic program, as well as supporting the community here and the game of golf, to give him am exemption and let him compete against the pros. That guys is a tremendous talent…It’s a really big thing for him.
Mickelson begins his 2015 Waste Management Phoenix on Thursday on the first tee at 7:57am with Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan.