Planet Golf — 02 February 2016 by Candace Oehler
Waste Management 30 years old

WMPO Monday 1 WMPO Monday 2 WMPO Monday 3 WMPO Monday 4

Day 1 of the 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open was remarkably tranquil … and cold … and blustery.  Blankets, ponchos, and hats were the uniform of the day, as ominous dark clouds covered the usual blue skies of Scottsdale, and the temperature remained below 50 degrees.  The place was deserted, except for the Coors Light Pro-Am participants and a few pros.  Tuesday’s warmer temps and “Dream Day” activities for kids will no doubt draw more spectators and golfers getting in their practice rounds.

Of Note:

* The event surpassed the $100 million in all-time charitable giving in 2015.

*Last year’s champion, Brooks Koepka, went on to claim five more top-10 finishes, making eight total for the season.

*Three-time WMPO champion Phil Mickelson is back for his 27th start.

*Three of the event’s last four winners were first-time winners on Tour – Books Koepka (2015), Kevin Stadler (2014) and Kyle Stanley (2012).

*20-somethings to watch: Emiliano Grillo, Smylie Kaufman, Justin Thomas, Petre Malnati and …… wait for it ….. Jordan Spieth.

*Celebrity watch for Wednesday’s Annexus Pro-Am:  Larry Fitzgerald, Bruce Arians, Dierks Bentley, Greg Maddux, Bode Miller, Justin Upton, Emmit Smith, and more TBA.

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About Author

Candace Oehler’s deep dive into sports media began several decades ago when she won a trip from Seattle to Mariners spring training in Arizona. Noting that non-English-speaking Latino ball players received little, if any, media coverage, she fluently/en español became a pioneer in Spanish sports media, and eventually became known affectionately throughout the Latino MLB community as “La Veterana.” Candace has written for team publications and MLB.com; hosted her own radio show on several Spanish-language stations; served as producer/reporter/engineer for the Mariners’ inaugural season of Spanish radio broadcasts; and has been a reporter for MLB Network Radio the past 10 years. She was invited to Venezuela by future Hall-of-Fame shortstop Omar Vizquel to cover rebuilding efforts and accomplishments of his charitable foundation following the devastating 1999 mudslides; worked in Puerto Rico for former Major Leaguers Joey Cora and Carlos Baerga managing fundraising events; and was the only female in the raucous locker room when the hometown favorite Licey Tigers won the 2004 Caribbean World Series in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Candace was introduced to the game of golf in 1992 by members of Seattle’s historic Fir State Golf Club, who had approached her to manage their (then) little fundraising tournament hosted by a shy, gangly 15-year old Tiger Woods. Candace co-managed the annual event for nearly 20 years, working with hosts that included Ken Griffey, Sr., Birdie Griffey, Mike Cameron, Nate McMillan, Warren Moon, and Dale Ellis. She became secretary of the club and the Fir State Junior Golf Foundation, and got totally, completely hooked on golf, learning to play on a set of Redbirds given to her by the club (apparently they considered her mother’s Patty Bergs a bit antiquated). She has since traded up to another set of Redbirds and a much more user-friendly golf environment in Arizona. And, once a prolonged stint on the DL is over, she can’t wait to get back on the course and continue lowering her current 21-handicap to ….?

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