What Is the WM Phoenix Open?

What is the WM Phoenix Open

The WM Phoenix Open, also known as the Waste Management Open, is one of the most popular tournaments in professional golf. It is typically the golf event that draws the highest annual attendance, regularly attracting around 500,000 fans. The relaxed, festive atmosphere has also led the tournament to be called “The Greatest Show on Grass.” Keep reading to learn more about the WM Phoenix Open.

Basic Information:

  • Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Course: TPC Scottsdale
  • First Tournament: 1932
  • Par: 71
  • Length: 7,261 yd (6,639 m)
  • Tour: PGA Tour
  • Format: Stroke play
  • Prize Fund: $20 Million
  • Most Wins: Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler, Mark Calcavecchia, Phil Mickelson (3 wins each)


The first Phoenix Open was held in 1932 at the Phoenix Country Club in Phoenix, Arizona. The winner of that very first tournament was American golfer Ralph Gulfahl. There was a brief period of intermittent hosting of the tournament and then a long pause of almost four years, starting in 1936.

The Phoenix Open has traditionally been held as an annual major golf tournament since it was restarted in 1939. The only exception to this annual hosting was when the tournament was paused from 1941 to 1943 because of World War II. From 1955 to 1974, the Phoenix was moved to a nearby club, the Arizona Country Club, but the location was reset to the Phoenix Country Club in 1975. From 1987 onwards, the permanent home of the tournament has been TPC Scottsdale.


The WM Phoenix Open follows this format:

  • The WM Phoenix Open is a 72-hole tournament taking place over four rounds.
  • The 134-player field is split into threesomes, which remain together for the first two rounds.
  • After the first two rounds (36 holes), the field is cut to the top 65 players, plus any ties for 65th place.
  • In the third and fourth rounds, players are paired and tee times are determined based on players’ performance through the first two rounds, with similar performers matched together.
  • The winner earns 550 FedEx Cup points and roughly 39.5 Official World Golf Ranking points.
  • If there is a tie for the win, any tied winners will compete in a sudden-death playoff, with the players competing one hole at a time until a winner is determined by one player achieving a lower score than the others.
  • The holes used for the playoff are, in order: 18, 18, 10, 17, 18.


Eligibility for the WM Phoenix Open is determined using the PGA Tour’s priority ranking system. The top-ranked players within the professional tour’s system are automatically eligible for participation in the tournament. Other players, such as any winner of the previous past five Opens, any winner of the past five PGA Championships, or any winner of the last three sets of PGA Invitational Tournaments, are also automatically eligible for play. There is also a qualifying event held every year for the final three spots in the tournament.

The WM Phoenix Open has been won three times each by four different golf legends. Arnold Palmer was the first to set that record, winning the tournament consecutively in 1961, 1962, and 1963. Gene Littler won his first two before Palmer in 1955 and 1959 but did not achieve his third win until 1969. Several decades later, Mark Calcavecchia won thrice in 1989, 1992, and 2001. The most recent golf player to achieve this feat was Phil Mickelson, who won his first two WM Phoenix Opens in 1996 and 2005 but did not win his third until 2013.


What is the Waste Management Open?

The Waste Management Open, also known as the WM Phoenix Open, is a professional golf tournament. The tournament is held every year, usually in late January or early February, as part of the PGA Tour. Since 1987, the tournament has been held at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona.

What player has the most Waste Management Open wins?

Four players have won the Waste Management Open three times each: Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler, Mark Calcavecchia, and Phil Mickelson. Impressively, Palmer was the only one of these four players to win his titles in consecutive years (between 1961 and 1963).