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Mickelson, Rahm tee off early in featured Phoenix Open pairing


Mickelson, Rahm tee off early in featured Phoenix Open pairing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Phil Mickelson and Jon Rahm will get the celebration began early Thursday within the Waste Administration Phoenix Open.

The previous Arizona State stars will start play with Xander Schauffele on the 10th tee at TPC Scottsdale simply earlier than eight a.m. They may hit the rowdy par-Three 16th hours earlier than the alcohol-fueled revelry kicks into excessive gear on the stadium gap. Regardless of the time, they’ll hear loads of “Forks up!” and “Go Devils!” cries from the gallery.

“Each time I’m going by, each gap, each single shot, I get cheers from somebody from ASU,” Rahm stated. “While you miss a shot, you keep in mind how many individuals you could have pulling for you. And while you’re taking part in good, it makes it that rather more enjoyable. It simply escalates the whole lot to an entire stage of pleasure.”

Two-time defending champion Hideki Matsuyama might be within the group instantly forward with Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson, the gamers the Japanese star outlasted in playoffs the final two years.

“It’s going to sort of be bizarre to play with them on Thursday and Friday,” Matsuyama stated.

On the opposite facet of the draw, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas will be part of Patton Kizzire, the lone two-time winner this season.

“That is all the time a little bit totally different week, very thrilling,” Spieth stated. “Good change, sort of a enjoyable change with this sort of celebration crowd.”

Rahm and Mickelson are taking part in collectively for the primary time within the match and fourth time on the PGA Tour. Mickelson’s brother, Tim, coached Rahm at Arizona State and was the Spaniard’s agent. Tim Mickelson is now his older brother’s caddie.

“He’s all the time been an amazing pal and mentor to me,” Rahm stated concerning the 47-year-old Corridor of Famer. “He’s helped me out on the whole lot he’s been capable of assist me out on. Even in school and out of faculty. And we simply have quite a lot of enjoyable collectively. I like taking part in follow rounds with him, I like joking round with him.”

Rahm received the CareerBuilder Problem two weeks in the past in a playoff within the California desert and was in competition final week in his title protection at Torrey Pines earlier than fading on the weekend. The 23-year-old has jumped to No. 2 on the earth behind Dustin Johnson.

“He’ll get there (No. 1), finally,” Mickelson stated. “He’s so gifted and to have him do it as rapidly as he had proper out of faculty, very spectacular. Not solely that, he’s such a pleasant man to be round.”

Rahm was second behind Johnson at Kapalua in his first begin since profitable the European Tour’s season-ending occasion in Dubai in November. He’s making his third look within the match after tying for fifth as an newbie in 2015 and tying for 16th final yr.

“I stay a pair miles from right here,” Rahm stated. “It’s house.”

Mickelson is making his 29th begin within the occasion, matching the file held by Gene Littler, Jim Ferrier and Jerry Barber. Lefty received on the Stadium Course in 1996, 2005 and 2013.

“I simply love what I do. I like taking part in golf for a dwelling,” Mickelson stated. “I like the West Coast and I’m excited to be again right here in Phoenix. The golf course is in nice form. We’ve acquired nice climate. It’s only a enjoyable place to play, one of many locations I stay up for yearly.”

The third-ranked Spieth took a fast journey to Cabo in Mexico to arrange after taking a break following Kapalua.

“They acquired the greens good for me at El Dorado,” Spieth stated. “The golf course is implausible. It’s desert golf, so it was good prep for right here.”

Within the pro-am Wednesday, Spieth performed with Inexperienced Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and Thomas was with former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians.

“He spent a little bit time in Alabama, so we had that in widespread,” Thomas stated.

The fourth-ranked Thomas is utilizing placing coach Matt Killen as his caddie with Jimmy Johnson sidelined by plantar fasciitis in his proper foot.

“There’s quite a lot of issues I’m going to do in a different way on the placing inexperienced in follow than I do in tournaments, so he could possibly choose up on these issues,” Thomas stated.

Johnson hopes to return in two weeks at Riviera.

“I didn’t need him coming again too quickly after which having to take one other month off,” Thomas stated.

The fifth-ranked Matsuyama is making an attempt to match Arnold Palmer’s file of three straight victories. Palmer completed the feat from 1961-63.

“That might be one thing,” Matsuyama stated.

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