Defending Phoenix Open champ returns as first field set

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Defending tournament champion Hideki Matsuyama was among the first to commit to the 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open Presented by The AK-Chin Indian Community, set to tee it up Jan. 30 to Feb. 5 at TPC Scottsdale as part of a 132-player field who will vie for the $6.7 million purse, the $1,206,000 first-place check and 500 FedEx Cup points.

Additionally, the tournament received commitments from 12-time PGA Tour winner Zach Johnson, 2015 Rookie of the Year Daniel Berger and 2010 WM Phoenix Open champion Hunter Mahan, a press release states.

“Hideki is a great champion and we are excited that he will be here this year to defend his title,” Tournament Chairman Andy Markham said in a release. “With ‘The People’s Open’ just 40 days away, we expect this already impressive list of commitments to include many more big names as we get closer to tournament week.”

The 24-year-old Matsuyama currently ranks sixth on the Official World Golf Ranking thanks to a 2016 campaign where he earned eight top-10 finishes after his second career victory in Scottsdale last February.

Matsuyama is off to a hot start in the 2016-17 wrap-around season collecting wins at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and the Hero World Challenge as well as a second-place finish at the CIMB Classic.

According to a press release, other top-ranked golfers to commit include No. 32 Kevin Chappell, No. 33 Berger, No. 38 Zach Johnson, No. 42 Shane Lowry, No. 44 Kevin Na and No. 49 Gary Woodland.

PGA Tour members have until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, to commit to play in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, according to a release.

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 Waste Management Phoenix Open is a highly-attended golf tournament in the world and has gained high status for being a unique stop on the PGA Tour.

Last year’s tournament broke three attendance records, including a PGA Tour record 618,365 fans for the week, a release states.

The 2017 edition will mark the 82nd playing of the event (one of the five oldest events on the PGA TOUR) and the eighth as the Waste Management Phoenix Open the release states.

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