January 13, 2023

Experience AZ

Michael Phelps, Albert Pujols and Emmitt Smith will play in Phoenix Open Pro-Am

The most decorated Olympian of all time Michael Phelps, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith, and one of only four members of MLB’s exclusive 700-home run club Albert Pujols are among the early list of celebrities set to appear in the popular Annexus Pro-Am at the WM Phoenix Open on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course.


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“The Annexus Pro-Am is a highly-anticipated event for our fans every year, and we have high expectations of world-class celebrities and athletes making a special appearance with the Super Bowl in town,” said 2023 Tournament Chairman Pat Williams. “We are thrilled to announce the start of what will be an amazing Pro-Am field of star-studded athletes and celebrities heading into tournament week.”

Albert “The Machine” Pujols is making his debut at the Annexus Pro-Am, just months after eclipsing 700 home runs (703) and retiring from baseball in 2022 after 22 seasons. Pujols was the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2005, 2008, and 2009, and is an 11-time All-Star (2001, 2003–2010, 2015, 2022). He also is a six-time Silver Slugger who has twice led the NL in home runs, and he has led the NL once each in batting average, doubles, and runs batted in (RBIs). In 2018, Pujols collected his 3,000th career hit, becoming the 32nd MLB player to reach that milestone. During his farewell tour with the St. Louis Cardinals last year, Pujols moved into second place on MLB's all-time list of most career RBIs and total bases and became the fourth player ever with 700 career home runs.

A regular at the Annexus Pro-Am, Phelps is considered the greatest Olympic athlete of all time thanks to his record 28 overall medals, including a record 23 gold medals. His most recent competitive appearance was at the Rio Summer Games in 2016 Summer Olympics, where he added six more medals, including five gold medals, to his record medal count. He has won 82 medals in major international long course competitions, of which 65 were gold, 14 silver, and three bronze, spanning the Olympics, the World Championships, and the Pan Pacific Championships. Phelps's international titles and record-breaking performances have earned him the World Swimmer of the Year Award eight times and American Swimmer of the Year Award eleven times, as well as the FINA Swimmer of the Year Award in 2012 and 2016. Phelps earned Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year award due to his unprecedented Olympic success in the 2008 Games. The Scottsdale local will be making his seventh appearance in the Annexus Pro-Am (2013, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022).

Smith, retired as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher with 18,355 yards during his 15-year career with the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. During that time, Smith won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys (1992, 1993, 1995), was named first-team All-Pro four times (1992-1995) and was named the NFL Most Valuable Player in 1993. This marks Smith’s fifth appearance at the Annexus Pro-Am (2016, 2018, 2019, 2022) and won what is now the WHOOP Shot at Glory back in 2016.

Tee times for the Annexus Pro-Am will range from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Exact tee times for participants will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 7 on WMPhoenixOpen.com, along with a complete list of celebrities and PGA TOUR players in the field.

The 2023 WM Phoenix Open will take place Feb. 6-12 at TPC Scottsdale. “The People’s Open” has been named the Tournament of the Year by the PGA TOUR four times to acknowledge the tournament’s legendary status as one the most unique events in golf. The 2023 edition will mark the 88th playing of the event (one of the five oldest events on the PGA TOUR) and the 14th with WM as title sponsor. For more information visit www.wmphoenixopen.com.

The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. The Thunderbirds consist of 55 “active” members and more than 280 “life” members who have helped the tournament eclipse $176 million in charitable giving since its inception in 1932 ($10.5 million in 2022).  For more information on The Thunderbirds or the 2023 WM Phoenix Open, visit www.wmphoenixopen.com.