PGA Tour: Waste Management Phoenix Open Preview

Golfer lines up shot

We preview the Waste Management Phoenix Open set to take place at TPC Scottsdale from 1 - 4 February. 

The charmingly titled Waste Management Phoenix Open plays host to a star-studded event this week, with five of the world’s top eight players teeing it up. Originally known as the Arizona Open, it was long known as the Phoenix Open prior to being changed to the FBR Open.

While it is now known by the charming moniker of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, it is more commonly referred to as ‘The Greatest Show on Grass’- with some of the largest galleries on the PGA Tour expected at a raucous event.

Waste Management Phoenix Open | 1 February - 4 February | TPC Scottsdale

The Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale has hosted this event since 1987. Co-designed by Tom Weisikopf and Jay Morrison, this course had a 12million dollar makeover in 2014. The course isn’t exactly massive at 7,260 yards, though it has favoured premium ball strikers over the years. It also happens to possess the only fully enclosed par 3 on the entire PGA Tour: the par 3 16th. 20,000 fans manage to create a pressure cooker atmosphere unlike any other on the PGA Tour. The course is generally receptive to low scoring- especially when you look at Mickelson’s -28 victory in 2013.

Jon Rahm returns to the state where he went to university this week: he actually finished fifth here as an amateur in a breakthrough performance. Jordan Spieth is never out of form while Ricky Fowler also has had success on this course. Justin Thomas has been somewhat subdued in the start of the season while all eyes will invariably fall upon Hideki Matsuyama this week. The Japanese superstar is aiming to make it three titles in a row at TPC Scottsdale and he leads the markets this week, despite the fact that his last victory was at Firestone last season.

 YESWENA

Past Winners
2017: Hideki Matsuyama (-17)*playoff
2016: Hideki Matsuyama (-14)*playoff
2015: Brooks Koepka (-15)
2014: Kevin Stadler (-16)
2013: Phil Mickelson (-28)

To Win Outright: 
Hideki Matsuyama 9/1 | Jordan Spieth 9/1 | Jon Rahm 10/1 | Ricky Fowler 14/1 | Justin Thomas 16/1

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Value Bets

Daniel Berger- To Win 40/1, To Place 17/2
A good friend of Jordan Spieth, Berger has been metronomic over the last few years, with both of his victories coming at the St Jude Classic. The Florida boy has an affinity for Bermuda greens and has been in encouraging form at the start of the season. He finished T11th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T14th at the Sony Open. Furthermore, he has two top 10 finishes here in three appearances, with a tie for seventh as recently as last year’s edition.

Zach Johnson- To Win 50/1, To Place 11/1
Zach Johnson has been just on the periphery of my radar for the last few weeks. The two-time major champion has indeed been in the mix on a few occasions this season. He was second halfway through the Sony Open and also sat in fourth place halfway through the CareerBuilder. More importantly for me, however, is his form at the Phoenix Open. He has six top 25 finishes in eight appearances at this course. While the course isn’t hugely demanding in length, his relative lack of distance may out some off. But 11/1 to place doesn’t look bad for a man perennially strong at this time of year.

Ryan Palmer 70/1, To Place 15/1
I can’t really believe that Palmer currently sits at 70/1, even an extremely strong field assembled this year. Palmer was in inspirational form at the Farmers Insurance Open, eventually losing in a playoff to Jon Rahm and Alex Noren. That was also on the back of a steady T20 finish at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Perhaps more important in my estimation is the fact that he has two recent top 10 finishes here, including a runner-up finish in 2015.

The Man to Beat- Justin Thomas 16/1, To Place 7/2
In the upper echelons of the betting markets, Thomas almost lurks as something of a dark horse this week. His season hasn’t quite got into swing yet, therefore resulting in that 16/1 price relative to the other favourites. Additionally, he has missed the last two cuts here. But for my money, that is more an anomaly. He drives brilliantly and has deadly iron-play. He contended all the way in his 2015 debut and also showed signs of improvement at the CareerBuilder. His putting let him down at the Sony Open and I fully expect his game to click sooner rather than later.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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