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The Biggest Storylines in Golf for the Week of Jan. 27

Fred AltvaterContributor IIJanuary 26, 2014

The Biggest Storylines in Golf for the Week of Jan. 27

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    Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will both be in action again this week but in different parts of the world.
    Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will both be in action again this week but in different parts of the world.Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Neither Phil Mickelson nor Tiger Woods were at their best last week in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

    They will both be in action again this week but in different tournaments.

    Woods has traveled to the Middle East to play in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, and Mickelson will defend his title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    Even though the NFL will host the Super Bowl this weekend, there is plenty of golf action to satisfy every golf fan.

Hole No. 16 at TPC Scottsdale Is Party Central

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    No. 16 at TPC Scottsdale always draws a large and raucous crowd.
    No. 16 at TPC Scottsdale always draws a large and raucous crowd.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Waste Management Phoenix Open always draws the largest crowds of the entire PGA Tour season even though it is pitted against the Super Bowl.

    Over 500,000 golf fans will flock to TPC Scottsdale to watch the excellent golf and to soak up the atmosphere of the par three No. 16.

    The sponsors of the Waste Management Phoenix Open endorse interaction between the 30,000 rowdy fans that ring the hole and the golfers.

    Loud cheering will reward a good shot, but boos will ring down for a missed green or a poor putt.  

Former Dubai Desert Champions Highlight the Field

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    Former Omega Dubai Desert Classic champions Fred Couples and Mark O'Meara are in the field.
    Former Omega Dubai Desert Classic champions Fred Couples and Mark O'Meara are in the field.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The sponsors for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic have spared no expense, and an illustrious list of former champions will be in the field this week in Dubai.

    Ernie Els won this event in 1994 and again in 2002. Fred Couples won the 1995 Dubai Desert Classic, Colin Montgomerie won in 1996, and Mark O'Meara collected the first-place check in 2004.

    Couples, O'Meara and Montgomerie all are over 50 years old and play full time on the Champions Tour, but they venture out occasionally to mix it up with the young guys.

Young Players That Have a Chance to Win in Phoenix

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    Rookie Hideki Matsuyama is looking for his first win on the PGA Tour.
    Rookie Hideki Matsuyama is looking for his first win on the PGA Tour.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Four young players in the field this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Kevin Tway and John Peterson, have the game to win here.

    Matsuyama won five tournaments in Japan in 2013 and was a member of the International team in the Presidents Cup last fall.

    Reed just joined Harris English and Rory McIlroy as the only players to have multiple wins under the age of 25 with his second career win at the Humana Challenge.

    John Peterson won the 2013 Web.com Tour Finals and posted two top-25 finishes thus far in the 2013-14 PGA Tour season.

    Son of former PGA Champion Bob Tway, Kevin Tway, had one win on the Web.com Tour last season and is in his rookie season on the PGA Tour. 

Can Thomas Bjorn Continue His Stellar Play in Dubai?

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    Thomas Bjorn leads in the Race to Dubai.
    Thomas Bjorn leads in the Race to Dubai.Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    With the Ryder Cup looming later this year, veteran Thomas Bjorn has made it a goal to be a member of the European Team.

    Bjorn will turn 43 years old next month, has three top-10 finishes in his last four starts and has a commanding lead in the Race to Dubai and the Ryder Cup points standings.

    He has 15 career European Tour wins and has been a member of winning Ryder Cup teams in 1997 and 2002.

Plethora of Marquee Names in the Waste Management Phoenix Open Field

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    Lee Westwood is in the field this week in Phoenix.
    Lee Westwood is in the field this week in Phoenix.Warren Little/Getty Images

    Even though Tiger Woods is in Dubai, the Waste Management Phoenix Open field is overflowing with quality names.

    Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood are three Europeans that are playing in the United States rather than the Middle East this week.

    Harris English and Webb Simpson have already won this year.

    "Golf Boys," Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Ben Crane will be trying to win the golf tournament while entertaining the large crowds at TPC Scottsdale.

    Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas and Keegan Bradley are also in the field this week and eager to get a win. 

Will Rory McIlroy Continue to Improve?

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    Rory McIlroy finished tied for runner-up in Abu Dhabi.
    Rory McIlroy finished tied for runner-up in Abu Dhabi.Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Rory McIlroy won the 2009 Omega Dubai Desert Classic and is looking for his first victory of 2014. 

    He won the money titles on both the PGA and the European Tours in 2012, but he has not won on either tour since.

    McIlroy had a dreadful 2013, but he began to show signs of improvement at the end of the season. He bested Tiger Woods in an exhibition in China and beat Adam Scott to win the Australian Masters.

    Even though he was assessed a two-stroke penalty in the third round Saturday, he finished tied with Phil Mickelson for runner-up in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago.

Phil Mickelson Will Defend at the Waste Management Phoenix Open

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    Phil Mickelson was forced to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open.
    Phil Mickelson was forced to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open.Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

    Phil Mickelson will try to defend his title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week, but he was forced to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open with a sore back last week.

    After his first start of the year in Abu Dhabi, Mickelson flew back around the world to play at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open.

    He battles arthritis, and now at 43 years old, his body does not handle long airplane rides and time changes like it once did.

Tiger Woods Heads the Field in Dubai

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    Tiger Woods will be looking to rebound after a disappointing 54-hole missed cut at Torrey Pines.
    Tiger Woods will be looking to rebound after a disappointing 54-hole missed cut at Torrey Pines.Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Tiger Woods posted one of the poorest scores of his career during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open last week.

    His seven-over-par 79 included a string of two double-bogeys and five consecutive bogeys. The long, difficult rough at Torrey Pines got the better of him last week.

    Although he has won the Farmers Insurance Open seven times in his career and added the 2008 U.S. Open on the same course, Torrey Pines was not kind to him last week.

    He will be looking to rebound this week in Dubai. 

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