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BlogWM Phoenix Open Preview and Picks

Waste Management Phoenix Open

February 1st – 4th, 2018

TPC Scottsdale

Scottsdale, AZ

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,266

Purse: $6.9 million

with $1,242,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Hideki Matsuyama

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 50 of the top-100 players and 21 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with five players in the top-ten, #2 Jon Rahm, #3 Jordan Spieth, #4 Justin Thomas, #5 Hideki Matsuyama and #7 Rickie Fowler. The other top 50 players are #14 Marc Leishman, #16 Alex Noren, #19 Matt Kuchar, #22 Francesco Molinari, #23 Charley Hoffman, #24 Patrick Reed, #25 Xander Schauffele, #31 Daniel Berger, #33 Kevin Chappell, #37 Tony Finau, #40 Webb Simpson, #42 Siwoo Kim, #46 Kyle Stanley, #48 Zach Johnson, #49 Phil Mickelson and #50 Russell Henley.

Last year there was 21 top-50 players in the field

The field includes 18 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2018.  Those players are #1 Patton Kizzire, #2 Jon Rahm, #5 Austin Cook, #6 Brendan Steele, #7 Justin Thomas, #12 Tony Finau, #13 Chesson Hadley, #14 Andrew Landry, #15 Marc Leishman, #16 J.J. Spaun, #17 Keegan Bradley, #18 Cameron Smith, #19 Rickie Fowler, #20 Ryan Armour, #21 Whee Kim, #22 Tom Hoge, #24 James Hahn and #25 Alex Cejka.

Six of this season’s winners on the PGA Tour: Patton Kizzire (OHL Classic at Mayakoba, Sony Open in Hawaii), Brendan Steele (Safeway Open), Justin Thomas (The CJ Cup), Ryan Armour (Sanderson Farms), Austin Cook (The RSM Classic), Jon Rahm (CareerBuilder Challenge).

The field includes 6 past champions: Hideki Matsuyama (2017 & ’16), Phil Mickelson (2013, ’05 & ’96), Kyle Stanley (2012), Hunter Mahan (2010), J.B. Holmes (2008 & ’06) and Aaron Baddeley (2007).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the 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 Phoenix Open in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the 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.

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 Dubai CareerBuilder Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry T of C Hong Kong Australian PGA DP World Dubai RSM Classic Nedbank Challenge Mayakoba
Jon Rahm
(285.67 pts)
T29
(21)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP Win
(66)
DNP DNP DNP
Patton Kizzire
(209 pts)
DNP DNP T42
(8)
DNP Win
(132)
T15
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP Win
(44)
Tom Hoge
(136.33 pts)
T12
(38)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP T61
(0)
Austin Cook
(131 pts)
DNP DNP T14
(36)
DNP T18
(32)
T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP T50
(0.33)
Ryan Palmer
(130 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Cameron Smith
(128 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(32)
T17
(22)
DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brandon Harkins
(121.67 pts)
T12
(38)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP T25
(8.33)
James Hahn
(119 pts)
T45
(5)
DNP T36
(14)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Adam Hadwin
(117 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP 32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(116.33 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(3)
T7
(36.67)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Alex Noren
(115.17 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T45
(2.5)
DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP
Andrew Landry
(105 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
Russell Knox
(101.33 pts)
T29
(21)
DNP T29
(21)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP T9
(15)
Gary Woodland
(98.33 pts)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
John Huh
(97.67 pts)
T45
(5)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP T25
(8.33)
Brian Stuard
(94.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
DNP T9
(15)
Webb Simpson
(92.33 pts)
DNP DNP T36
(14)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP
Zach Johnson
(91.67 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP T23
(9)
Hideki Matsuyama
(91.33 pts)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scott Piercy
(85 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Harris English
(82.33 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP T11
(39)
DNP 64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Keegan Bradley
(81 pts)
5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T39
(11)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
J.B. Holmes
(80 pts)
4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tony Finau
(78 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T32
(18)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Rickie Fowler
(76.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Farmers Insurance Dubai CareerBuilder Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry T of C Hong Kong Australian PGA DP World Dubai RSM Classic Nedbank Challenge Mayakoba
Mac Hughes
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Peter Malnati
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Sangmoon Bae
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Chad Campbell
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Whee Kim
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T45
(1.67)
Smylie Kaufman
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Morgan Hoffmann
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Aaron Baddeley
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 74
(0)
Bill Haas
(-23.33 pts)
T54
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Jamie Lovemark
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Can Matsuyama get hot again?

For Hideki Matsuyama, the W.M. Phoenix Open has become his little annuity.  In four starts he has two wins, a runner-up and a T-4th and has won $3.1 million.  In his 12 rounds he hasn’t shot over par as he has 11 under par rounds and in his 288 holes is 59 under par.  In his 288 holes, he has made 2 eagles and 78 birdies.  So does that mean that he will win for a third straight year?  Probably not, in the history of the PGA Tour just 17 different players won a PGA Tour event three consecutive years the last time coming in 2011 when Steve Stricker won the John Deere for the third straight year.  It just too hard, yes Tiger Woods accomplished the feat six times, but he was Tiger Woods.  Now to be realistic, the odds are against a Matsuyama win, but there isn’t much standing in his way.  Last week he finished T-12th at the Farmers, but when Hideki won in 2016, he missed the cut the week before at the Farmers and last year he was T-33rd which at the time was his worst finish in 11 straight starts.  So anything is possible, last week Matsuyama finished T-12th in San Diego, and that means that Hideki could win again for a third straight time.

Sub-60 watch

Even though to the average player that knows the TPC Scottsdale is a tight layout, for those on the PGA Tour with great weather and no wind the course could be nothing but a birdie and eagle feast.  With great weather predicted for all four days and hardly a breath of wind, the chances are high that a 59 or even a 58 can be shot.  Over the course of 72 holes, the PGA Tour low has come close to be broken with Mark Calcavecchia shooting 256 in 2001 and Phil Mickelson shooting the same in 2013.  In both cases, Calcavecchia and Mickelson shot 60 (There has been four 60s shot) with Mickelson coming the nearest as a birdie putt lipped out for 59 on his final hole.  So I would say this, don’t be surprised to see the sub-60 barrier broken again, matter of fact I can think of about a dozen other courses during the year in which this will pop up.  In a way, people love to see it happen, but if it becomes the norm, the PGA Tour may have to do something or ask the courses to do something to prevent this from being more the norm.

Back to Phoenix

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 with the big game being played in Minneapolis, but they still will pack them in to watch golf.  Last year 655,434 went through the turnstiles setting the record for the biggest attendance in the tournament history.  All told four attendance records were broken in 2017 — the weekly attendance mark, plus record crowds on Wednesday (77,906), Friday (169,004) and Saturday (204,906).

So it’s reputation as the biggest party of the year for the PGA Tour continues.  It seems that they just pack it in either finding their way to the big pavilion which has become the mainstay of this event 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 genuine 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 surrounded by bleachers and hospitality tents, giving it that gladiator feel to it.

Injury report:

Maybe it’s the jinx of the Phoenix Open.  In 2014 Kevin Stadler won the Phoenix Open and later in the year endured a stress fracture in his right hand.  He wasn’t able to defend his title in Phoenix and since 2015 has only played in three PGA Tour events and one Web.Com Tour event, never making it past Friday.  The following year (2015) Brooks Koepka won in Phoenix, beating Matsuyama, Bubba Watson and Ryan Palmer by a shot.  In 2017 he went on to win the U.S. Open, but in November after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan, Koepka Koepka experienced a partially torn tendon in his left wrist.  As of right now he is resting the wrist and having therapy on it, with the hope that my the Masters he will be fully recovered.  But the same with Stadler, he thought that his stress fracture would get better and three years later he can’t play golf.  Just have to hope for the best for Koepka it would be a sad saga if such a great talent weren’t able to play at the level that he has shown us in his young career.

Another recent major winner that is injured is Danny Willett who damaged his rotator cuff in his left shoulder in Spain last October and shut things down for the rest of 2017.  The 2016 Masters champion went to Abu Dhabi, and after hitting, balls deemed the shoulder not being 100% and withdrew.  He did tee it up the following week in Dubai, shooting 77-71 to miss the cut and felt that the shoulder held up well and will try to play at the Maybank this week.

What we learned from last week:

  • Are they back?  For Jason Day, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy there starts in San Diego, and Dubai showed that things might look up for all three.  For Tiger, he finished T-23rd, but he showed that despite his driving being off, his around the green and putting was near flawless.  In driving accuracy, Tiger only beat one player that missed the cut as he hit only 30% of the fairways.  As for greens hit, he was T-53rd only hitting 42 of 72 greens.  Of the greens, he missed Tiger got it up and down 63.33% to rank T-21st.  In putting Tiger didn’t have a single three-putt and was 16th in Strokes Gained-Putting.  In putts inside ten feet, Tiger was 48 of 54 which ranked 23rd but the critical thing for the week was that he shot four rounds of par or better.  He also showed that his back is fine for now and that he can play 72 tough holes and hit it out of rough with no pain. Tiger’s next start is in two weeks at the Genesis so we will see if he can improve upon his week in San Diego.
  • As for McIlroy, he finished a disappointed second, a shot back of winner Li Haotong.  When Rory birdied the 10th hole on Sunday, he was two up on Haotong, but with bogeys at 11 and 16 and a combination of birdies for Haotong on 13 and 15, Rory was a shot back.  He made birdies at 17 and 18 but so did Haotong to win by a shot.  For McIlroy it was the second week in a row, he shot 36 on the back nine to lose, but the good news is that he was healthy and his game is looking sharp again.  For McIlroy he is taking the week off and will play three in a row starting at Pebble Beach, then the Genesis and Honda.  For McIlroy, it will be the first time he has played at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am.  One other piece of news for McIlroy in looking at his schedule he is also playing the Valspar, Arnold Palmer and the WGC-Matchplay before playing the Masters.  Right now he has left off playing the WGC-Mexico.  He finished T-7th but also was struck with a case of food poisoning, maybe a reason he has left for his return next month.  Kind of a bummer for people like me who took him at Mexico in pick your pro.
  • Now for Jason Day San Diego was an excellent week for him as he beat Alex Noren in a six-hole playoff.  Despite the good news of his victory, Day still isn’t 100%.  The week before San Diego he was practicing in Palm Springs and had some back pain, forcing him to have an MRI.  Results were negative, but the back was still a bit of a bother, and he withdrew from the Pro-am.  Things didn’t look that great for Day on Thursday when he shot 73, as Jim Nantz said he didn’t look that great when he finished up but a second round 64 over the easier North Course perked him up.  After he won on Monday, he talked about how he needed to redo his swing to take some of the strain away, a bit like Tiger Woods said when he was 30.  As for Day, he says that the back has been a problem since he was 14 and now through wear and tear of hitting balls the facet joints have gotten bigger and hit the nerve that shoots pain down both legs.  In a way, it sounds scary, a bit like it did with Tiger and we all saw what Tiger has been through the last ten years with back pain.  Still, the win is decisive, and the last time he won in a playoff in San Diego had a career year with five wins including winning the PGA Championship.
  • We got a good introduction to Alex Noren. He’s played well on the PGA Tour before, he was T-6th at the British Open, 10th at the Players Championship and made it to the weekend at the WGC-Match Play.  If there is something that we know for a fact, he is going to play a lot on the PGA Tour through the Masters, and this probably won’t be the first time he contends.  His goal is to play well on excellent golf courses and with him playing at Riviera in a couple of weeks and this week at TPC Scottsdale, look for him to be in contention more and more.  Another thing, for anyone after the big victory by the American team at the President’s Cup to think the Ryder Cup will be easy, they have another thing coming.  We are seeing more players like Noren making a mark in golf, for the Europeans think about guys like Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Francesco Molinari, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.  These are ten that will make the team next September, and I would say that these guys will not roll over and play dead in Paris.  The Ryder Cup could be one of the most competitive matches in years, and we should all be looking forward to it.  We also should keep in mind these ten guys when they play on the PGA Tour.  Any of them in any week could win, and we shouldn’t be surprised to see them contend just like Noren did this week.
  • That Rickie Fowler should think twice before playing next year in the Farmers.  One of the most consistent players on tour went to Torrey Pines on a row, finishing 2nd at the Mayakoba, winning the Hero and finishing T-4th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.  But for some odd reason, he shot 84-78 to miss the cut for the third straight year and fourth time in his last five starts.  Over the course of the five starts, he has broken par just twice in 12 rounds and is showing that maybe the best thing for him to do is not play at the Farmers.  Is there need to worry about Fowler this week?  No, after missing the cut in 2016 he was 2nd the next week in Phoenix.  Last year after missing the cut he was T-4th in Phoenix, so playing poorly in San Diego doesn’t mean he will play bad this week

Couple that hit the skids at the Farmers

  • For those think of taking Jon Rahm at the Phoenix, you may want to think twice.  After winning the DP World in November, then taking time off in Spain, he came back fresh and ready to play.  He was runner-up at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and then won the CareerBuilder.  After the win, he raised himself to 2nd in the Official world golf rankings, and after shooting 68-66 to find himself in second just one back going into the weekend, everyone was talking about him winning and taking over the number one ranking.  On Saturday he birdied his first hole to tie for the lead, but then his came utterly unraveled.  He made bogey on his next three holes and made double bogey on 18 to shot 75.  Things didn’t get any better for him on Sunday, he made bogey on four straight holes on the front and shot 77 to drop into a T-29th, his worst finish since the PGA Championship.  The big question is if Rahm could be too tired and needs a break.  He is playing this week and as of now is playing the AT&T, will take a few weeks off after Pebble and return to play in Mexico.  But the question for you all, will he snap back in Phoenix.
  • Another player who fell flat on his face in San Diego was Brian Harman.  After a run of five top-ten finishes, things went wrong over the weekend in Palm Springs.  After rounds of 65-68, he shot 70-71 and looked very tired on Sunday falling from tenth place on Friday night to finishing T-20th.  Frankly, we should have seen the sign, but not many saw it.  At Torrey, Harman shot 77-74 his worst rounds since he shot 76-76 to miss the cut at the Memorial last year.  How bad was the Farmers?  Harman only made 4 birdies compared to 11 bogeys as he hit only 11 of 28 fairways and 18 of 36 greens.  When this happens, it means that Harman has played too much golf and needs some R&R something he is doing this week and next.  Hopefully, his batteries will be recharged by the time the Genesis rolls around.
  • One last player to be careful for at Phoenix is Phil Mickelson.  After rounds of 70-68, we thought that Phil was going to make a weekend run.  Little did we know that his game would fall apart with rounds of 76-74 as he finished T-45th  We have to wonder if Phil may not be able to get it back, in the course of his last six months he has only played good twice, finishing T-3rd at the Safeway and T-6th at Dell Technologies.  Phil is just not consistent anymore; he has trouble stringing 72 holes of excellent golf together and we just have to wonder as he gets closure to 50 (he will be 48 in June) if maybe it’s just not there anymore for Phil.

WM Phoenix Open history: 

It began in 1932 as the Arizona Open and has been played at the TPC of Scottsdale, since 1987.  After the first two years, the event took the name, Phoenix Open in 1935. The only older tournaments on the PGA Tour are; the British Open (1860), U.S. Open (1895), Western Open (1899), Canadian Open (1904), PGA Championship (1916), Texas Open (1922) and the Nissan Open (1926).

Due to lack of local support, the tournament was discontinued after 1935. The competition was revived thanks to the energy and vision of one man, Bob Goldwater, Sr. who was an avid golfer.  So in 1939, Goldwater’s new fledgling golf tournament was the official rebirth of the Phoenix Open. Goldwater was left with most of the work, he printed the tickets, sold sponsorships and obtained the use of Phoenix Country Club. He even invited a few of his friends to tee it up at the tournament. Those friends just happened to be Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and a golfer by the name of Ben Hogan. “I loved those early years,” said Goldwater. “I look back on those days with a sense of pride mixed with wonderment.” And, yes, after a few more persuasive talks and the success of the 1939 Phoenix Open, The Thunderbirds came around and lent their full support. During that 1939 tournament, a 27-year-old up-and-comer named Byron Nelson won the $700 first prize. Hogan finished second, 12 strokes back, and collected $450. Since then, The Thunderbirds had been a part of the event every year except 1943, when wartime travel restrictions forced a one-year hiatus. The list of professional golfers who have won in Phoenix reads like the golf Hall of Fame: Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Jimmy Demaret, Billy Casper, Gene Littler, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Miller Barber, Johnny Miller, Ben Crenshaw, and more recently Lee Janzen, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Tom Lehman, Mark Calcavecchia and Kenny Perry just to name a few. Over the tournament’s 83 year history, the Open has been known by many names, including the Western Open, the Arizona Open, the Ben Hogan Invitational, the Phoenix Open, the FBR Open and now the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The tournament has been played at Phoenix Country Club, Arizona Country Club and the TPC Scottsdale, which has been the home course of the competition since 1987.  2018 will mark the 32nd consecutive year the tournament has been played at the Stadium Course at the TPC Scottsdale, and it has had a renovation to spruce it up and make it more challenging for the players. Thanks to the most fan-friendly tournament venue on Tour, it attracts the largest galleries of any golf tournament in the world. In fact, compared to the days when the tournament was held at Phoenix Country Club, and the top attendance mark was 186,000 (1986), the event has grown by leaps and bounds. At the 2008 FBR Open, a PGA Tour record 538,356 fans attended the tournament, including 170,802 during Saturday’s third round alone. 2008′s Saturday attendance used to be a single-day PGA Tour record until 2013 when 179,022 fans came out for the third round. The 2016 event set a new attendance record when 618,365 fans came out.  So who knows what is in store for this week, with perfect weather we can see a new attendance record set.  Also in 2015 Waste Management committed to sponsoring the event to at least 2025, so there are a lot of years to break the attendance record.

Course information:

  • Played at TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Az.
  • Par:  71 / Yardage: 7,261
  • In 2017, the course was 33rd hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 70.192 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 had some exciting 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 comfortably accommodate over 100,000 spectators, last year 159,906 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 look to all of 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 recognized 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.

Major renovations were done before the 2016 event with four greens completely rebuilt while the other 14 resurfaced and reshaped.  45 yards was added, but three holes will play slightly shorter.  Every bunker was redone, in most cases bringing them more into play.  Also, 250 trees were added, so the combination of trees and bunkers coming into play off the tee will make the course slightly tighter.  Despite the change, average scores may be a bit higher but look for the winning score, which has averaged 17 under par for the last 20 years to stay the same.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing on the TPC Scottdale:

This is based on the most important stats for TPC Scottsdale, based on data from last years Waste Management Phoenix Open, and using data from all the players in the field for with stats from 2017 and 2018, then taking the average rank for each player for the two years.

The scoring average of the field on TPC Scottsdale in 2017 was 70.19, so with par being 71, that means the average score was a bit more than three-quarters of a stroke under par, making TPC Scottsdale the 33rd hardest course to score on in 2017.

In looking at the stats for TPC Scottsdale last year, driving and greens hit are essential. With fast fairways, the course ranked 41st in driving distance and 12th in driving accuracy. Now, this ranks second to hitting greens, which is the most important stat for TPC Scottsdale. Last year the course ranked 35th in greens in regulation, but over the course of the last eight years, all of the winners have been in the top-ten in greens hit Last year’s winner Hideki Matsuyama was 18th in driving distance, T-6th in Driving accuracy and 2nd in Greens in Regulation. Now add this all together, and he was 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. The year before 2016, Matsuyama also won and was 35th in driving distance, T-44th in driving accuracy and 1st in greens hit. This added up to 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green so you can see the importance in this stat.
So our first category is proximity to the hole, which Matsuyama was 2nd in last year and the course ranked T-6th in as the average shot ended up 38 feet, 11 inches away. Our second category is Strokes Gained tee-to-green which is vital for keeping the ball in the fairways.
After that are third important category is Par Breakers because making eagles and birdies is important. Last year Matsuyama was 12th in this stat as he had 19 birdies and an eagle. Our final category is scrambling, and you can see why. Since the course is a shot-makers delight, you can see that if you miss a lot of greens, you better get it up and down to play well. Last year TPC Scottsdale ranked T-12th in scrambling and Matsuyama was 17th.

So here are our four choices for the most critical stats from players to do well at TPC Scottsdale:

*Proximity to hole: Hitting greens is important, last year TPC Scottsdale ranked 35th, but in proximity to hole, which tells how close players get to the hole, TPC Scottsdale ranked T-6th as the players averaged getting it 38 feet and 11 inches.

*Strokes gained tee-to-Greens: Important because it shows how TPC Scottsdale ranked T-11th in this stat, meaning that a combination of driving distance, driving accuracy and greens hit is important

*Par Breakers: Desert courses always seem to give up a lot of birdies and eagles, last year TPC Scottsdale ranked 33rd in that stat

*Scrambling: Of the 50 courses on tour in 2017, TPC Scottsdale got it up and down 57.14 of the time, meaning that it ranked 17th. So it’s important for players to make sure to get it up and down on those holes that they miss the greens.

124 of the 132 Players from this year’s field with stats from this year and last:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

 Here is the link to the other 114 of 132 players with stats at TPC Scottsdale

DraftKings tips

Of the 132 in the field, 109 have played at least once in the Farmers.  

*Here are the players with the most under par totals at the Farmers since 2010:

  • Bubba Watson is 79 under in 30 rounds playing 8 years
  • Phil Mickelson is 71 under in 30 rounds playing 8 years
  • Brendan Steel is 70 under in 28 rounds playing 7 years
  • Rickie Fowler is 68 under par in 28 rounds playing 8 years
  • Webb Simpson is 61 under in 22 rounds playing 6 years
  • Brandt Snedeker is 60 under in 28 rounds playing 7 years
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 59 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Kevin Na is 57 under in 30 rounds playing 8 years
  • Hunter Mahan is 57 under in 26 rounds playing 7 years
  • Martin Laird is 50 under in 28 rounds playing 8 years
  • Ryan Moore is 49 under in 32 rounds playing 8 years
  • William McGirt is 49 under in 24 rounds playing 6 years
  • J.B. Holmes is 46 under in 30 rounds playing 8 years
  • Harris English is 46 under in 24 rounds playing 6 years
  • Ryan Palmer is 41 under in 28 rounds playing 8 years

*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)

  • Hideki Matsuyama is 59 under playing 4 years (-3.69)
  • Jordan Spieth is 23 under playing 2 years (-2.88)
  • Webb Simpson is 61 under playing 6 years (-2.77)
  • Jon Rahm is 22 under playing 2 years (-2.75)
  • Bubba Watson is 79 under playing 8 years (-2.63)
  • Brendan Steele is 70 under playing 7 years (-2.50)
  • Rickie Fowler is 68 under playing 8 years (-2.43)
  • Shane Lowry is 19 under playing 2 years (-2.38)
  • Phil Mickelson is 71 under playing 8 years (-2.37)
  • Zach Johnson is 37 under playing 4 years (-2.31)

Historical ParBreakers

Here is a look at those playing this week and who has made the most eagles and birdies:

 

So it makes sense that the top players on this list are guys that will make lot’s of points this week

 

*Here are the guys that are very costly:

  • Hideki Matsuyama – $11,500
  • Jordan Spieth – $11,400
  • John Rahm – $11,000
  • Rickie Fowler – $10,400
  • Justin Thomas – $10,300
  • Marc Leishman – $9,700
  • Daniel Berger – $9,500
  • Alex Noren – $9,200
  • Tony Finau – $9,100
  • Webb Simpson – $8,900

Lot’s of good players in the field this week and DraftKings has given the top players big prices.  Of the top-five the prices are fair, and if you’re going to pick one of the five, it’s probably best not to pick Matsuyama or Rahm.  We talked about Rahm playing bad over the weekend in San Diego, yes Matsuyama is playing good, but $11,500 is a lot.  As for Jordan Spieth, he has given a lot of production in the two years he played with 38 birdies over 8 rounds.  As for Rickie Fowler, he has proven to play well and make lot’s of eagles and birdies, in 8 years he has 7 eagles and 120 birdies.  As for Justin Thomas, I would say take a pass on him just because he has missed the cut in his last two starts and was T-17th in his first go-around.  As for Alex Noren, he showed a lot last week in San Diego, and I say he is a good buy at $9,200.  As for Marc Leishman, I would take a pass on him, hasn’t played well enough to warrant the $9,700 price tag.  Daniel Berger has had ok results and would be great at $8,000, but I am taking a pass on him at $9,200.  Also taking a big pass on Tony Finau, I wonder if the person making this list is related to Tony since he is always above $9,000 each week and isn’t worth the price.  Of all of the players at the top of the money list, your best bet is probably Webb Simpson.  He has been great each year he plays this event and is production value is high with 3 eagles and 105 birdies, he is a winner.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,700 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

I am not a big J.B. Holmes fan, mostly because he is hard to watch when he is in contention. But at $8,700 he may be right this week on a course he has won on and makes a lot of birdies on. Ryan Moore is also not a bad pick at $8,200, he has played good here and has made 2 eagles and 138 birdies since 2010.  This is his first start since Mayakoba so he should be ready to go after a two-month break.  Harris English is also not a bad pick at $8,100, but I would go for Ryan Palmer at $7,900.  He is playing well now that his family problems are over and in his last 8 starts, he has made 3 eagles and 120 birdies.  He hasn’t played good the last two years, but before that was good so I would take him. Also, take a look at Shane Lowry at $7,900, he has played great in his two starts and has made 40 birdies in just 8 rounds. The same with Brendan Steele, at $7,800 he is undervalued when you consider he has made 5 eagles and 115 birdies.  Zach Johnson at $7,700 is also a great value, he has three top-14 finish in his last three starts and has made 78 birdies in 16 rounds since 2010.  Looking at the $7,500 price, you got to like Charley Hoffman, Adam Hadwin, Bubba Watson and J.J. Spaun.  Hadwin is probably the best bet.  Watson has the most significant history, his production numbers are through the roof, and he has always been a top pick in Phoenix, but last year he missed the cut and frankly he hasn’t shown us much this year.  If you want to take a gamble, he is a good pick at that price, but if you’re going to make sure all your guys make the cut the odds are good he won’t make the cut this year. A person at $7,500 with a good shot is J.J. Spaun, he played great last year and has been good this year.   One $7,400 player worth it is Cameron Smith, he has been very steady since winning the Australian PGA and is worth the price

What are the “Bargains” out there?

Has surprise as I am with Tony Finau priced over $9,000 each week and am very surprise that Francesco Molinari is priced every week under $7,500.  This week he is $7,300, and I would say he is a great pick.  I also like Brandt Snedeker at $7,300, he has a lot of potential and a history of excellent production making 4 eagles and 124 birdies.  Sang Kang at $7,100 is also a good buy; he played well last year finishing T-12th.  Now for bargains, you won’t find any this week under $7,000, so you are going to have to structure your picks from those in the $7,000s.

 

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

Key stat for the winner:

  • It used to be the player with the hot putter dominated this tournament as between 1997 and 2007 all the champions except for one (2003 Vijay Singh) were in the top-nine in putting.  On the reverse, between 1997 and 2008 of the 12 champions only three were in the top-ten of greens hit.  Since 2008 of the ten winners, two were 10th in putting as the winners ranked between 10th and 71st in putting.  But in that same period, all the champions were in the top-4 of greens hit (the worst was Kevin Stadler, who ranked 10th) while five of the winners in those eight years led the stat (Matsuyama led in 2016 and was T-2nd last year).  A major change came about to the course in 2004 and then in 2005, so it just took a bit before hitting lot’s of greens took over.  Overall the TPC Scottsdale ranked 35th of all the courses in 2017 in greens in regulation, so it’s essential to hit all of the greens.
  • Another key is to follow each one of our vital stats.  Each week brings on a different course with different conditions and different ways for players to embrace the course.  Probably because the WM Phoenix Open always gets excellent weather, you will see each of our key stats materialize over the course of week’s play at this course and event is becoming easier to judge who will play good and who will not.

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

  • One useless stat:  The course is in the desert and in past years had the longest driving average.  In 2014 the average drive was 301.4, but in 2015 it went down to 288.5 probably because of the changes made to the course before the 2015 tournament.  Last year the course averaged 303.2 as it ranked 41st on the PGA Tour (only 7 other courses had higher driving average)  So common sense would be that the winners are big hitters, that isn’t the case.  Since 1997, only five of the last 21 champions have been in the top-ten of the weekly driving distance stat with eight of them out of the top-25.  Last year Matsuyama was 18th in driving distance  So hitting it long really doesn’t help in winning this tournament.
  • 11 of the last 21 champions had 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, and in 2012 Kyle Stanley lost a playoff the week before winning at Phoenix.  Unfortunately, that trend ended as the last three winners didn’t play well before winning.  In 2015 Brooks Koepka was playing his first event in six weeks, taking some time off, so the time off was perfect for him.  In 2016 Hideki Matsuyama finished 2nd in the SBS Tournament of Champions along with his four wins in the last three months.  Last year Matsuyama finished T-4th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions so look for a player that has done well
  • Players can’t be afraid of a lot of people watching, considering as many as 100,000 will be in attendance over the weekend.
  • Players must hit lots of greens and make lots of birdies. In the last 21 years, the winners have averaged hitting 75.4% of the greens and averaged 22 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, 13  of the 21 champions have done better, in 2015 Brooks Koepka played the par 5s in just 2 under par while he was 11 under on the par 4s.  Last year Matsuyama played the par 5s in 11 under while he was 5 under on the par 4s.
  • After a great two weeks weather-wise in San Diego and La Quinta, the great weather will continue as conditions couldn’t be any better in Scottsdale with every day being in the mid-70s, no rain and very little wind.

Who to watch for at the Waste Management Phoenix Open

Best Bets:

Hideki Matsuyama

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
Win Win T2 T4

Yes he can pull off the hat-trick. He is playing well and comes to a course that he has done well on. The WM Phoenix Open is Hideki’s annuity.

Jordan Spieth

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T9 T7

Guy has played great on this course and his putting is something that could carry him over the top.

Webb Simpson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
2 T14 10 T8 T8 CUT 65

Great record in Phoenix, he is ready to win again.

Best of the rest:

Rickie Fowler

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T4 2 T46 CUT CUT T26 T13 2 T58

Forget what happened in San Diego, he seems to always do well in Phoenix no matter what happens the week before.

Alex Noren

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Playing for the first time in Scottsdale, showed a lot last week and can win at any time.

Ryan Palmer

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T24 T2 T48 5 T55 CUT T14 T60 T2

Showed a lot in San Diego, think he will continue the role this week.

J.B. Holmes

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T24 T6 T66 T58 CUT T45 T5 T43 CUT Win CUT Win

Comes to a course he has had good success on, look for him to content over the weekend.

Zach Johnson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T12 T14 T10 T24 T12 WD CUT

Been great on this course the last three years, give this guy a careful look.

Kyle Stanley

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T36 T45 CUT CUT 74 Win

Watch him, he has played well on this course and could content.

Solid contenders

Daniel Berger

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T7 T58 T10

A course that is right up his alley, think he will have a great week.

Charley Hoffman

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T24 T51 T53 T61 CUT 76 T29 CUT 2 CUT CUT

A guy that you can’t go wrong always seems to play well, making lot’s of cuts and finding a way into contention.

Brendan Steele

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T16 T17 T26 T6 T6 T5 T53

Makes lot’s of birdies and has been playing well.

Austin Cook

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Another of these young guns that will find a way to do well this week.

Cameron Smith

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T42 CUT

Has had a great year.

Long shots that could come through:

Ryan Moore

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T61 T11 T17 T6 4 78 T73 T14 T6 CUT CUT T40

Good track record at TPC Scottsdale, look for him to have a good week.

Bud Cauley

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T47 T24 T50

Has turned into a very consistent player

J.J. Spaun

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T4

Played good last year.

Not this week:

Jon Rahm

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T16 T5

Played terrible and looked tired over the weekend in San Diego. Be careful about him this week.

Justin Thomas

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT CUT T17

Has a terrible record in this event.

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