Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2021 US PGA Tour: Waste Management Phoenix Open

2021 US PGA Tour: Waste Management Phoenix Open

This event traditionally serves as the de facto frat boy Major, with fans encouraged to snub decorum and send the decibel metre through the roof (the iconic 16th hole- known as the Coliseum- is officially ground-zero for these high-jinks).  This year’s Phoenix Open is going to be a somewhat more subdued affair, with the Covid outbreak forcing organizers to limit the crowd capacity to 5000 people. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2021 US PGA Tour | Waste Management Phoenix Open
The Stadium Course, TPC Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona
February 4th-February 7th

Despite the concession to allow 5000 spectators, the Phoenix Open- which channels the raucous machismo of Super Bowl weekend- will probably feel more surreal than any of the events thus far.  Formerly known as the Phoenix Open and FBR Open, this event has been hosted by the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course since 1987.  Jon Rahm leads the markets in a characteristically stellar field.

Measuring 7,266 yards, this par 71 is not really that difficult for these PGA professionals: you can expect a winning score of around -17.  In 2014, the City of Scottsdale carried out a significant renovation of the Stadium Course under the supervision of architect Tom Weiskopf.  The result made it more aesthetically pleasing and- at least theoretically-more strategic.  It is a typical desert layout and ball-striking is essential.  Webb Simpson’s victory last week illustrates the importance of solid iron-play.  Those with high ball flights will be able to stick their approach shots with surgical precision.  The big-hitters will clearly have an advantage over various holes.  The gettable Par 5 15th and drivable Par 4 17th will make for some frantic upheaval over the last four holes.  This course also tends to reward familiarity.

Jon Rahm has emerged as the favourite in a hugely competitive field.  The Arizona State native has an impressive record here and will be looking to ignite his season.  Strangely enough, he is on a run of three straight T7 finishes dating back to the Masters.  Justin Thomas returns to the US Tour following his Abu Dhabi hiatus.  Let’s hope that he can put the controversy behind him at a course he clearly loves: he has finished 3rd in back-to-back years. Rory McIlroy will be making his debut at this course (which I find pretty remarkable considering how perfectly this course should suit his eye).  This is an excellent field, with the likes of defending champ Webb Simpson and Xander Schauffele likely contenders.

Past Winners
2020: Webb Simpson (-17) *playoff
2019: Rickie Fowler (-17)
2018: Gary Woodland (-18) *playoff
2017: Hideki Matsuyama (-17) * playoff 
2016: Hideki Matsuyama (-14) *playoff 

Outright Betting (To Win)
Jon Rahm (13/2)
Justin Thomas (8/1)
Xander Schauffele (10/1)
Rory McIlroy (11/1)
Webb Simpson (14/1)

Value Bets

Hideki Matsuyama
To Win (22/1), To Place (48/10)
This is really a no-brainer.  Matsuyama won this event in 2016 and 2017.  Matsuyama leads the field (with a minimum of five rounds played) with 2.87 strokes gained on the field per round.  Matsuyama is coming off a poor performance at the Farmers Insurance Open.  But just prior to that he had a T19 at the Sony Open.  But let’s not forget that the Japanese player finished T2 in November’s Houston Open.  He also had a decent T13 at Augusta.  So, there are signs that the Japanese star is reclaiming his best form.

Brendan Steele
To Win (80/1), To Place (17/1)
Brendan Steele looks like an excellent choice further down the betting market.  He’s had success at TPC Scottsdale is the past.  He has gained an average of +1.67 strokes on the field per round, 10th among all golfers in the field.  He had a T3 finish here in 2018.  Steele also ranks 17th on tour in ball striking.  He also enters this event in decent current form, making his 80/1 even more incongruous.  He enters the event coming off a T4 at the Sony Open and a T21 at the American Express.  

The Man to Beat

Daniel Berger
To Win (20/1), To Place (44/10)
Berger is just Mr Consistency.  He has four top 25 finishes in his last six outings.  That includes a T7 in his last outing at the Sony Open.  This is a guy with few weaknesses in his game.  He currently sits 6th on tour in birdie average, which should prove applicable in what is essentially a shootout at TPC Scottsdale.  He also happens to have extremely encouraging course form.  He had a T7 here in 2017 and a T11 in 2018- and that was before his recent rejuvenation.  He finished T9 here last year and looks a wonderful sleeper option this week.  

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