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BlogWaste Management Phoenix Open Preview and Picks

Waste Management Phoenix Open

January 30 – February 2, 2014

TPC of Scottsdale

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,216

Purse: $6.2 Million

with $1,116,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Phil Mickelson

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 23 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with only one players #4 Phil Mickelson from the top-ten. The other top 50 players are #12 Ian Poulter, #15 Brandt Snedeker, #19 Webb Simpson, #22 Keegan Bradley, #23 Hideki Matsuyama, #26 Lee Westwood, #29 Bill Haas, #30 Bubba Watson, #33 Ryan Moore, #34 Graham Delaet, #35 Nick Watney, #36 Hunter Mahan, #37 Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, #39 Kevin Streelman, #40 Billy Horschel, #42 Patrick Reed #44 Martin Kaymer, #46 Harris English, #48 Chris Kirk, #49 Jonas Blixt and #50 David Lynn.

The field includes 18 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2014.  Those players are #2 Chris Kirk, #3 Harris English, #5 Webb Simpson, #6 Ryan Moore, #8 Brian Stuard,  #9 Patrick Reed, #10 Scott Stallings, #11 Jason Bohn,  #T12 Charles Howell III, #T12 Gary Woodland, #16 Charley Hoffman, #17 Ryan Palmer, #19 Chris Stroud, #20 Graham DeLaet, #22 Vijay Singh, #23 Jeff Overton, #24 Ian Poulter and #25 Justin Leonard.

The field includes 18 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list.  Those players are #2 Harris English, #3 Chris Kirk, #5 Webb Simpson, #6 Ryan Moore, #8 Brian Stuard, #9 Patrick Reed, #10 Scott Stallings, #11 Gary Woodland, #12 Jason Bohn, #13 Ian Poulter, #15 Charles Howell III, #17 Graham DeLaet, #18 Chris Stround, #19 Ryan Palmer, #20 Charley Hoffman, #23 Justin Leonard, #24 Marc Leishman and #25 Jeff Overton.

The field includes 8 past champions: Kyle Stanley (2012), Mark Wilson (2011), Hunter Mahan (2010),  J.B. Holmes (2008 & ’06), Aaron Baddeley (2007),  Phil Mickelson (2005 & ’96), Vijay Singh (2003 & 1995) and Jesper Parnevik (1998).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the WM Phoenix Open field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the WM Phoenix Open  in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the WM Phoenix Open.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

 

Here is our video preview of the Phoenix Open, perfect way to learn how to use Golfstats better:

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Waste Management Phoenix Open

Player Farmers Insurance Open Qatar Masters Humana Challenge Abu Dhabi Championship Sony Open in Hawaii Volvo Golf Champions Hyundai Tournament of Champions Nedbank Golf Challenge OHL Classic at Mayakoba McGladrey Classic WGC-HSBC Champions
Brian Stuard
(182 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP 5
(70)
DNP 6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Harris English
(174.67 pts)
DNP DNP T33
(17)
DNP 4
(80)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP Win
(44)
T27
(7.67)
DNP
Marc Leishman
(170 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP 5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Chris Kirk
(166.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP
Pat Perez
(162 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
T48
(0.67)
DNP
Patrick Reed
(154.67 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ryan Palmer
(150 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP
Justin Leonard
(150 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP T32
(18)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(20)
T65
(0)
DNP
K.J. Choi
(130 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scott Stallings
(125.33 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Graham Delaet
(120 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(20)
Charley Hoffman
(115.67 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
T22
(9.33)
DNP
Matt Every
(110 pts)
DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
T7
(18.33)
DNP
Phil Mickelson
(107 pts)
WD
(-5)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 14
(12)
Webb Simpson
(105.33 pts)
DNP DNP T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP
Billy Horschel
(97.33 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
Bill Haas
(94 pts)
T43
(7)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
Charles Howell III
(90.67 pts)
T37
(13)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(20)
T27
(7.67)
DNP
Gary Woodland
(86 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
T22
(9.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Keegan Bradley
(79 pts)
T16
(34)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(13)
Jeff Overton
(72.67 pts)
DNP DNP T38
(12)
DNP 7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(9)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Kevin Streelman
(72.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
28
(7.33)
DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
Brian Gay
(62.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T32
(18)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP T45
(1.67)
T4
(26.67)
T46
(1.33)
Padraig Harrington
(60 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Rory Sabbatini
(59 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP T38
(12)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(30)
T70
(0)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Waste Management Phoenix Open

Player Farmers Insurance Open Qatar Masters Humana Challenge Abu Dhabi Championship Sony Open in Hawaii Volvo Golf Champions Hyundai Tournament of Champions Nedbank Golf Challenge OHL Classic at Mayakoba McGladrey Classic WGC-HSBC Champions
Mike Weir
(-25 pts)
WD
(-5)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T75
(0)
T55
(0)
DNP
Richard H. Lee
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Vijay Singh
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Geoff Ogilvy
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Carl Pettersson
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP
Paul Goydos
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
DNP
John Rollins
(-17.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T32
(6)
DNP
Stephen Ames
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Scott Verplank
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T72
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Lucas Glover
(-16.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T65
(0)
T40
(3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

* So I bet that everyone of you picked Scott Stallings to win last week in San Diego.  Didn’t see this coming, but Stallings has the pedigree to win. Stalling’s has not made the cut in two previous Farmers start, he hasn’t had a top-20 in his last 15 starts going back to his T2nd in last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic. So he was on nobody’s list to make the top-ten, yet alone win. Even more unusual, in 88 career PGA Tour starts Stallings has missed more cuts (46) than he has made (41), but does have 10 top-ten finishes including 3 wins.  That puts him in rarefied air joining these folks with less than 100 PGA Tour starts but three or more wins (Rory McIlroy 6 wins in 71 starts, Keegan Bradley 3 wins in 82 starts).

For years the PGA Tour has had a slogan, “These guys are good” and it’s very correct when you figure that on any given week just about everyone with a PGA Tour card can win and Stallings has done it three times already.  We are seeing that happening on the PGA Tour as in 2014 Jimmy Walker, Chris Kirk, Harris English, Patrick Reed and now Stallings have surprised us with victories.  All three of them were outside the top-64 in the world rankings and now are well inside and will all play in the Accenture Match Play Championship.  The point is that I may give you a dozen or so guys I think will win that week, but on any given week just about anyone in the field could have a career week and win, you just don’t know.  That is the tricky thing on picking winners, it’s really hard.

* The Tour returns to Phoenix and one of the biggest parties of the year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  It may be SuperBowl week but they really pack them in.  Last year 525,821 specters went through the turnstiles including just over 179,000 on Saturday.  It seems that they all go over to either the big pavilion which has been a mainstay of the tournament since it started or the 16th hole, golf’s version of the Roman Coliseum.  The 16th hole could be the wackiest place on the PGA Tour, a combination of true golf fans wanting to see some great golf along with a lot of others that wear out their arms hoisting their favorite adult beverage.  The hole is completely surrounded by bleachers and hospitality tents, giving it that gladiator feel to it.  It’s become such a mainstay that organizers are thinking of just making the façade a permanent fixture next year and having it stay up year round.

Course information:

Played at TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Az.

Par:  71 / Yardage: 7,216

In 2013 the South course was the 40th hardest course on the PGA Tour (only three other courses were easier) playing to a 68.954 average.

The TPC of Scottsdale was designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, with Howard Twitty and Jim Colbert serving as player consultants.  The course opened in 1986 and has some interesting features like desert between the holes and fairways with many plants from the surrounding area. The layout also features mounding for spectators. The course can easily accommodate over 100,000 spectators, last year just over 179,000 showed up for Saturday’s third round.  The average green size is 6,770 square feet, which is a little over the average on the PGA Tour. The course has 72 bunkers and six water hazards.

Surrounded by spectacular mountain views, the course was designed specifically to host the Phoenix Open and the aforementioned mounding promises an excellent view to all of the  the 500,000+ in the galleries. Hole No. 16 will always be remembered as the site of Tiger Woods’ hole in one in 1998. Hole No. 17 will be remembered for the first and only hole in one on a par four during a PGA Tour event, which was recorded by Andrew Magee in 2001.

Golf’s DL injury report:

  • Jordan Spieth, doesn’t know how he did it but on Friday at Torrey Pines on the back nine his ankle started to bother him.  With the pain it prevented him from swinging the way he is use to and his game crumbled.  He was leading after the second round but rounds of 75-75 sent him spiraling down the leaderboard finishing T19th.  He wore tape and a modified ankle splint and after play on Sunday told reporters that he would go home to Dallas, work on his game and hopefully return to Pebble Beach next week.
  • Phil Mickelson has seen this problem before, playing well and then he tweaks something.  Coming from a good finish in Abu Dhabi, Mickelson was ready to go for his hometown Buick Invitational.  Playing with long hitters Bubba Watson and Jason Day in the first round, Mickelson noticed that he was way behind them and about 15 yards less than normal.  In a practice round he felt that he tweaked a muscle in his back, but at the time it didn’t seem bad.  But the pain returned on Thursday and by Friday, fearing that he could get into bad habits by favoring it decided to withdraw.  Now Mickelson is talking with doctors and as of Monday is undecided on if he is going to play in both the Phoenix Open, which he is defending champion and AT&T Pebble Beach.  In a release Monday Night he is seeing a back specialist and says his facet joints have locked up.  He plans to fly to Scottsdale on Wednesday for the pro-am and see what happens. Mickelson is planning on not playing the Northern Trust or Match Play so it will be interesting to see what he does, I think he will not play.  He is headstrong to point out that he has the entire year and doesn’t want to get into any bad habits that could take weeks to work himself out of.
  • Brandt Jobe, who hasn’t played since Wyndham and not able to meet his medical extension for 2014 was planning on playing in Phoenix.  He has been bothered with injuries the last ten years, the last was a herniated disc in 2012 which forced him to sit out a lot of events followed by shoulder surgery on his right shoulder in November.  No news other than he isn’t ready, look for him to possibly play at Pebble Beach next week.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Waste Management Phoenix Open:

Key stat for the winner:

Those with a hot putter seem to dominate. Other than Vijay Singh’s victory in 2003, Kenny Perry in 2009, Hunter Mahan in 2010, Mark Wilson in 2011 and Kyle Stanley in 2012, every winner since 1997 has been in the Top-10 in putting, with eight of the winners being in the top five.  Last year Phil Mickelson was T10th in putts with 110, in 2007 Aaron Baddeley led with just 104 putts and was second in putts per greens hit.  Of late there has been a change in the trend, in 2009 Kenny Perry was T3rd in greens hit and T53rd in putting while 2010 Hunter Mahan was 1st in greens hit and T71st in putting, in 2011 Mark Wilson was 1st in greens hit and T39th in putting, while Kyle Stanley was 3rd in greens hit but T63rd in putting.  Last year Phil Mickelson had the best of both worlds, 1st in greens hit and T10th in putting.  No rhyme or reason for the change, still look for a good putter this week.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

One unimportant stat:  Even though the course is in the desert and it would seem that the long hitters would dominate, that isn’t the case.  Since 1997 only two of the last 14 champions have been in the

Top-10 of the driving distance stat and four of the winners were not in the Top-25.  In 2005 Phil Mickelson averaged 307.8 per drive and was 12th in the field while in 2006  J.B. Holmes drove it 308.0 yards and was 13th. In 2007 Baddeley followed the trend as he was 15th in driving distance at 296.6 So you don’t have to hit it long to win in Phoenix while in 2008 Holmes was 13th averaging 302.5 yards and Kenny Perry was 9th in 2009 with a 311.1 avearge, in 2010 Hunter Mahan was T33rd with a 294.3 average while in 2011 Mark Wilson was T68th with a 290.3 avearge.  In 2012 Kyle Stanley ranked 70th with a 287.6 average while in 2013 Mickelson was T12th with a 298.9 average  The key here is hitting it long doesn’t really help in winning.

Seven of the last 14 champions have had a Top-10 finish within three weeks before they won the championship, so look for someone that is playing well to win.  In 2009 Kenny Perry finished T6th at Kapalua just three weeks before the Phoenix Open, but Hunter Mahan was not playing well leading up to the 2010 event.  In 2011 Mark Wilson won just two weeks before the event at the Sony Open in Hawaii amd om 2012 Kyle Stanley lost a playoff the week before winning at Phoenix.  Again no rhyme or reason but last year Mickelson finished T37th at the Humana and T51st the week before at the Farmers.

Players can’t be afraid of a lot of people watching, considering as many as 180,000 will be in attendance over the weekend.

Players must hit lots of greens and make lots of birdies. In the last 17 years the winners have averaged hitting 72% of the greens and averaged 23 birdies for the week.

One last important fact is that birdies have to be made on par 4s.  This is one of those events in which scoring is lower on the par 4s than the par 5s.  Since 1997, 10  of the 17 champions have done better, last year Phil Mickelson played the par 5s in 9 under while playing the par 4s in 10 under.

While a good portion of the United States is enduring the Polar Vortex, the cold weather won’t hit Phoenix.  Look for each day with temperatures in the mid-70s which just a slight chance of rain on Saturday.

Who to watch for at the Waste Management Phoenix Open

Best Bets:

Webb Simpson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T8 T8 CUT 65

Game is in good shape right now, has finished T8th in his last two Phoenix starts.

Justin Leonard

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T32 CUT T41 CUT CUT T43 CUT T7 CUT T9 T24 CUT

Worth watching because his game is good right now and comes to a course in which he has won.

Ryan Moore

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
4 78 T73 T14 T6 CUT CUT T40

Just starting his season, played well at Kapalua and is ready for the year. Finished 4th last year in Phoenix.

Best of the rest:

Matt Every

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T9 T8

Watch him, in his last eight rounds hasn’t shot higher than 69 and is 30 under par. He brings it to a course that he has finished in the top-ten in his two starts including a T9th last year.

Brandt Snedeker

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
2 T50 T8 T43 CUT T9 T23

Think he is ready to break out and win again.

Brian Stuard

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T70

Been playing well with a 5th place finish at Humana and 6th at Sony.

Bubba Watson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
15 T5 T29 T36 T25 CUT T8

Time to show him a bit of love, this is a good place for him and his game should shine this week.

Solid contenders

Retief Goosen

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T9 T3

Likes this course, in two starts has two top-ten’s including a T3rd in 2003.

Graham DeLaet

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T55 CUT

Just have to wonder if his runner-up last week will carry him over to this week.

Kevin Na

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T36 T5 CUT T53 3 T4 T67 T2

Watch him, has played well this year including a T8th at Sony and has played well at TPC of Scottsdale.

Vijay Singh

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
WD T3 CUT 7 T20 T11 T3 Win T8

Sorry to beat his drum, think he will be a factor in some event soon.

Long shots that could come through:

Pat Perez

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
DQ T19 T22 T24 T48 T43 CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT

Played great last week in San Diego, his only victory came in the desert when he least expected it, could happen again.

Brendan Steele

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T6 T5 T53

Comes into this week on a high after finishing T6th last year and T5th the previous year.

Scott Piercy

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
3 T50 T8 T6 T15

Did finish 3rd last year and has three top-tens in five starts. Has missed two of two cuts this year, but if Scott Stallings could win in San Diego, Scott can win here.

Worst Bets:

Phil Mickelson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
Win T26 T29 T24 CUT 2 CUT T7 Win T7 T9 T23

Sorry but I don’t think he will make it to the first tee on Thursday, but even if he does don’t see him in any shape to contend.