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Phoenix Open more than doubles its total purse size

Posted February. 08, 2023 07:52,   

Updated February. 08, 2023 07:52


Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona, the U.S. is crowded these days with flights coming in and out carrying passengers as two large-scale sporting events scheduled to be held in the area during February are attracting sports fans everywhere.

On February 13, the 2023 National Football League (NFL) playoffs to Super Bowl will start at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, where Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles will be competing against each other. The location can hold as many as 70,300 people, with a total of 63,400 seats available.

On Thursday, the WM Phoenix Open, part of the PGA Tour and one of the favorite tournaments of golf fans around the world, will begin at TPC Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona. This specific golf tournament is known to allow drinking, cheering, and booing by the gallery during the games, unlike the rest of the tournaments. Dubbed one of the "loudest" outlets for golf fans for this reason, some hundreds of thousands of spectators come to enjoy the tournament annually. In 2022, more than 700,000 golf fans flocked to Arizona to watch the WM Phoenix Open.

It is the fourth time that the WM Phoenix Open and NFL playoffs for Super Bowl are held in the same week near the Phoenix area after 1996, 2008, and 2015. Sources anticipate seeing some one million tourists in the region during the week.

Yet, another good piece of news is that the Phoenix Open, already one of the most popular golf tournaments in the world, was named one of the PGA Tour's "elevated events" in 2023. It more than doubled its purse size this year from the previous 8.2 million to 20 million U.S. dollars, with the winner's share coming in at 3.6 million. After witnessing players exodus to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational Series launched in 2022, the PGA Tour picked 17, including its four major tournaments out of its 47 tournaments for seasons 2022 and 2023 as "elevated events" with a record increase of their prize money.

The WM Phoenix Open will practically be the first official major tournament in 2023 because the Sentry Tournament of Champions (with a total purse size of 15 million U.S. dollars) held in January invited former winners only. Eighteen out of the top 20 players in the global ranking are joining the Phoenix Open. Only Cameron Smith (Australia), who moved to LIV and Will Zalatoris of the U.S., who decided to take a rest this week will be missing the tournament.

One of the most notable players in the tournament is Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), the current No.1 on the Official World Golf Ranking. The 2022 CJ Cup winner chose the Phoenix Open as his first PGA Tour tournament for 2023. McIlroy still remains to be at the top of his play, winning the DP World Tour Hero Dubai Desert Classic on January 30.

Scottie Scheffler of the U.S. and Jon Rahm of Spain, No.2 and No.3 on the Official World Golf Ranking, respectively, are also potential candidates for winning the tournament. Phoenix Open defending champion Scheffler looks to regain his No.1 position by winning the tournament for two consecutive years. Rahm, both an Arizona State University graduate and resident in the area, has already won two titles in the PGA Tour alone this season, reaching the peak of his golf career.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com