Editor’s Letter: WM Phoenix Open Keeps it Fresh During Super Bowl Year

Craig OuthierJanuary 2, 2023
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Photo by Madison Kirkman
Photo by Madison Kirkman

The rowdy and wonderful WM Phoenix Open returns to the Valley for the 89th time this February, now firmly entrenched as the world’s most-patronized golf tournament. Barring a pandemic or the like, seven-day attendance at the Open typically falls somewhere between 700,000 and 800,000 people. Astoundingly, a few of them are even golf fans.

Despite its success, the local service club that runs the tournament, the Phoenix Thunderbirds, is always looking for ways to keep the Open fresh. Which is why you’ll find a few new experiential wrinkles at TPC Scottsdale this year, including expanded, pedestrian-friendly footpaths, more video screens and viewing areas, and a re-energized Fan Zone with abundant merch options.

My favorite addition: food from beloved Valley barbecue joint Little Miss BBQ (pg. 14). Now, you’ll be able to eat brisket from one Valley institution inside another institution. Mind-boggling!

Even the name of the tournament has changed, as sharp-eyed readers have probably already noticed – a process set in motion when title sponsor WM rebranded in 2022. (Again, I approve. The phrase “Waste Management” never looked completely at ease in sports headlines, and “WM” is much easier to type.)

Following suit, PHOENIX magazine has freshened up its annual WMPO Field Guide for 2023. Inside, you’ll find information about all the on-course tournament changes described above, an updated TPC Scottsdale fashion primer and enterprise journalism designed to deepen your appreciation of the tournament, including writer Tom Mackin’s concise feature about upstart golf tour LIV and how its rise might affect the WM Phoenix Open this year. (Spoiler: All for the better.)

Of course, the biggest difference about this year’s Field Guide is the conjoined Super Bowl LVII Fan Guide, with NFL star (and WMPO Pro-Am veteran) Larry Fitzgerald on both covers. When the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee invited us to conceive and publish a fan issue, pairing it with our WMPO guide just seemed like a no-brainer.

Both events culminate on the same day, don’t you know? And what a day it’s going to be.



If this monthly all-at-once business doesn’t cut it, check out PHOENIX magazine’s dining and culture blogs. Find daily information on trends, art, pop culture and more at The PHiX; and up-to-date eating and drinking news with our Desert Digest blog. Only at phoenixmag.com.