Thomas, Rahm, Finau and Matsuyama Among Latest Commitments to 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open
Highly-ranked Xander Schauffele and Webb Simpson also set to join star-studded field.
Former PGA TOUR Player of the Year and World No. 4 golfer Justin Thomas, six-time worldwide winner Jon Rahm, World No. 10 golfer Tony Finau and two-time WM Phoenix Open champion Hideki Matsuyama are among the latest players to commit to the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, set to tee it up January 28-February 3 at TPC Scottsdale.
Also committing to “The People’s Open” are highly-ranked golfers Xander Schauffele (11) and Webb Simpson (21). The 2019 field now includes four of the Top-10, seven of the Top-25 and 13 of the Top-50 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).
“The field is already beginning to take shape as we get closer to the New Year and we are expecting it once again to be one of the strongest fields on TOUR,” said Tournament Chairman Chance Cozby. “We are already receiving commitments from former champions, FedExCup winners, and some of the top-ranked golfers in the world and we’re excited to see strength of the field grow as we get closer to The People’s Open.”
Justin Thomas is coming off an incredible two-year stretch on the PGA TOUR, winning eight events during the 2017 and 2018 seasons including his first Major at the 2017 PGA Championship on his way to the 2017 FedEx Cup title and being named PGA TOUR Player of the Year. Thomas continued his red-hot
play in 2018 with three victories including The 2018 CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, The Honda Classic and the World Golf Championships – Bridgestone Invitational. Additionally, Thomas was part of the 2017 U.S. Presidents Cup Team and the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup Team.
Former Arizona State All-American and local fan-favorite Jon Rahm is coming off a solid 2018 campaign in which he won his second PGA TOUR title at the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge. Thanks to his six worldwide wins over the last two seasons, including his most recent at the Hero World Challenge in early December, The Spaniard has vaulted up to No. 6 in the OWGR. Rahm carded a total of five Top-10 finishes last year including a second-place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. No stranger to the WM Phoenix Open, Rahm has played the event three times in his young career – never finishing outside the top 25 – including a T5 finish as an amateur in 2015.
Two-time WM Phoenix Open champion Hideki Matsuyama is one of only six players to successfully defend their WM Phoenix Open title and the first to accomplish the feat since Johnny Miller in 1976. Matsuyama is coming off a 2018 campaign with four Top-10 finishes. In 2017, Matsuyama won three times, placed second three times and won more than $8.3 million on his way to an eighth-place finish in the FedExCup standings. He currently ranks 27th in the OWGR.
Finau has been on a tear of late and is coming off an outstanding 2018 season that included 11 Top-10 finishes (3 runner-ups) and six Top-5 finishes. He also finished in the Top-10 in three of four Majors in 2018 (Masters, U.S. Open, The Open Championship) on his way to finishing sixth in the final 2018 FedEx Cup standings.
Schauffele, who turned professional in 2015, has three career PGA TOUR wins, including taking honors at the WGC – HSBC Championship last October (Finau finished runner-up). Last season he notched seven Top-10s that included two runner-ups and two third place finishes, and he finished in the Top-6 in two Majors (T6 U.S. Open, T2 The Open Championship) while finishing 15th in the Fed Ex Cup standings.
Simpson owns five career PGA TOUR victories, including the U.S. Open in 2012 and most recently the PLAYERS Championship in 2018. He had nine Top-10s in 2018 and six Top-5s that included his PLAYERS win, a runner-up at The Wyndham Championship and fourth in the season-ending TOUR Championship to finish 11th in the final Fed Ex Cup standings. Simpson finished runner-up to Matsuyama in the 2017 WM Phoenix Open, losing in a four-hole playoff.
The other Top-50 golfers who have already committed include Rickie Fowler (9), Bubba Watson (17), Cameron Smith (29), Gary Woodland (31), Phil Mickelson (32), Kevin Na (45) and Brandt Snedeker (50).
A field of 132 players will vie for the $7.1 million purse, the $1,278,000 first-place check and 500 FedExCup points. PGA TOUR members have until 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, to commit to play in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Eligible players are assigned one of 34 PGA TOUR priority ranking categories based on their past performance on TOUR. The field will continue to change as players with higher priority rankings commit to play in the Open.
The 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open will be held at TPC Scottsdale January 28 – February 3, 2019. “The People’s Open” is the best-attended golf tournament in the world and has gained legendary status for being the most unique stop on the PGA TOUR. The 2019 edition will mark the 84th playing of the event (one of the five oldest events on the PGA TOUR) and the 10th as the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. The Thunderbirds consist of 55 “active” members and more than 250 “life” members. In 2018 The Thunderbirds raised a record $12.2 million for charity from proceeds from last year’s tournament and have eclipsed $134 million in charitable giving since its inception in 1932. For more information on The Thunderbirds, visit www.thunderbirdscharities.org.