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Jon Rahm has sent a message to fans planning on attending the WM Phoenix Open this weekend after last year’s event was overshadowed by distasteful scenes in the crowd.
The event at SPC Scottsdale in Arizona has always attracted thousands of boisterous fans and has been labelled as “The Greatest Show on Grass.” Last year, however, things perhaps went a little too far when spectators covered the 16th green with beer cans on two separate occasions.
The first incident came after Sam Ryder hit a hole-in-one before a Justin Thomas chip-in caused similar scenes. Rahm was playing alongside Thomas when he chipped in and is hoping the supporters rein it in a touch this time around. He said:
“Since I came here for the first time eight years ago, it’s gotten exponentially louder and louder. On 16 last year when Justin Thomas chipped in, I didn’t want to see the water bottle coming straight for my head from the third storey of the grandstand, but I did, so hopefully, those are things they reign back on.
A stacked field in Arizona
The Phoenix Open is one of the PGA Tour’s new “elevated” tournaments which means a prize fund of $20m up for grabs this weekend. As a result, 18 of the world’s top 20 golfers are taking part including last year’s winner Scottie Scheffler and world number one, Rory Mcilroy.
Rahm has always been a fan of the event, though, and doesn’t believe that its “elevated” status has made it any more popular with players than it already was. He told reporters:
“I think this was a designated event before we ever knew what they were going to be. No matter what the purse is, this tournament is going to be what it is. Very few sporting events in the world can comfortably happen in the same week as the Super Bowl and still have the impact that they have like this one.
With that said, I don’t think it’s everybody’s favourite – you love it or hate it. I love it and I want to come every year but I know a few players that put it far down their list.”
more beer showers!
Justin Thomas (+1400 entering the week) moves to three back of the lead after this chip-in for birdie on 16. pic.twitter.com/68a2bpRsPE
— BetRivers Sportsbook (@BetRivers) February 13, 2022
Rahm will fancy his chances
Regardless of all the great players that will be playing in Arizona this week, Rahm will be backing himself to come out on top after a stunning start to 2023. The Spaniard won his first two tournaments of the year in January and came close to securing a hat-trick of victories at the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks ago.
It will be the first time this year that Rahm will be playing in the same field as Rory Mcilroy, the other red-hot player on tour. The Northern Irishman won the Dubai Desert Classic two weeks ago to cement himself at the top of the world rankings although that could all change this week.
If Rahm wins the Phoenix Open then will almost certainly return to the top of golf’s world rankings unless Mcilroy finishes in 2nd place on his own. Rahm believes he is currently playing better golf than anyone else on tour so will be in a confident mood ahead of his first shot on Thursday.