Scottsdale Independent

VIPs play Waste Management Phoenix Open for charity

Pro Webb Simson tees off at the 16th hole at the Annexus Pro-Am at the Phoenix Open. (Arianna Grainey/Independent Newsmedia)

The Waste Management Phoenix Open welcomed local celebrities and athletes to the TPC Scottsdale on Wednesday, Jan. 31, for the beloved Annexus Pro-Am.

Golf fans flocked to the famed 16th hole after the Pro-Am to watch the Phoenix Suns Charities Shot at Glory, a closest-to-the-pin contest for a chance at $1 million for charity.

Waste Management Phoenix Open runs Jan. 29-Feb. 4, at the TPC Scottsdale,  17020 N. Hayden Road. It is a 72-hole PGA TOUR event.

Participants in the Pro-Am included Arizona Cardinals players Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson; Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time; NFL Hall-Of-Famer Emmitt Smith; MLB Hall-Of-Fame pitcher Greg Maddux; and Lady Antebellum star Charles Kelley.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open and the tournament host, The Thunderbirds, raise money for charities, most of which provide programs that benefit youth.

Recent beneficiaries include Phoenix Children’s Hospital, First Tee of Phoenix, Special Olympics Arizona, Boys & Girls Clubs, and more.

The 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open raised more than $10.1 million dollars for charity, setting a tournament record, and The Thunderbirds have raised more than $122 million in the tournament’s 82-year history.

“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, according to a press release. The 2017 tournament broke four attendance records, including a PGA TOUR record 655,434 fans for the week.

The 2018 edition will mark the 83rd playing of the event (one of the five oldest events on the PGA TOUR) and the ninth as the Waste Management Phoenix Open.