(Phoenix, AZ, January 31, 2019) – It was 1989 when Phil Mickelson competed in his first Waste Management Phoenix Open (WMPO). In the view of some organizers, what Phil has done for the event has ‘put it on the map.’ When Mickelson first teed up at the event back in ‘89, it was just the third event to be played at that venue.
30 years is a long time, but they went by fast for Phil.
“Thirty years, gosh, I remember when I was in college, it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was playing in my first Phoenix Open,” Lefty said. “Just amazing how many great memories I have when I come back and play here.”
Phil did not make the cut at his first WMPO, but that didn’t faze him. He went on to win the Tucson Open as a junior in college.
30 years later, and Phil has not changed. He has 43 PGA TOUR Victories under his belt, including five majors. Phil has won at TPC Scottsdale, which is the site of where he will play his 30th Phoenix Open.
The 30th appearance is a record as he breaks a tie with Jim Ferrier, Jerry Barber and Gene Littler. If he makes the cut and plays four rounds, he will break the record for most rounds played (107). If Lefty were to go on and win the WMPO, it would be a fourth title and a stand-alone record.
Phil knows the importance to this tournament, and acknowledges what it means to him. “I cherish every time that I’ve had success here. I cherish coming down the back nine having an opportunity to win. It’s an environment unlike any other and it’s just really fun to get in the thick of it here in Phoenix,” he said regarding the WMPO.
Phil has a special bond with the WMPO, and not just because he has 11 Top-10 finishes. It’s the fans. At his first appearance in 1989, 334,500 people were in the crowd. Last year? 719,179.
“It was always special, but it became something bigger and larger than I think I ever thought possible.”