The Saturday spectacular at the 2024 Waste Management Phoenix Open is a little different than some years at TPC Scottsdale, site of golf's biggest party.
With a long weather delay on Thursday afternoon and another brief one on Friday and Saturday, the second round was not completed by the end of the day Friday. In fact, second-round play wasn't completed for the 132-player starting field until approximately 3:45 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday afternoon. That meant that the PGA Tour had to get all the scoring done and then make their 36-hole cut to the top 65 players and ties for the final two rounds.
Since the players were not grouped based on prior score for the first two rounds, players finished at different times relative to their position in the tournament. Once the second round was completed, the 73 players who made the weekend had to be regrouped based on their leaderboard position. They will be grouped into threesomes (and a couple of twosomes) for the final two rounds, with the third round starting at 4:10 p.m. Eastern time, or 2:10 p.m. local time.
The players who make the weekend typically go off in order of the highest scores first. However, in this case, it's different. Since the PGA Tour will send groups off both the first and 10th tees, they employ a different strategy.
For the third round, and perhaps the final round, the PGA Tour tee times begin in the middle of the field, with the groups that are in the middle of the leaderboard going off first off of both tees. The highest-scoring players to make the cut, then, go off last off the 10th tee. The lowest-scoring players go off last off the first tee. This will likely be repeated for the final round given that third-round play will spill over into Sunday.
The advantage that the lowest scorers have in going last is also a disadvantage in that they will have to come back tomorrow to play the most holes. However, the course is typically softer in the morning, and players will be able to rest when the round is done for the final round start. The highest scorers will have that same disadvantage that can be an advantage as well.