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BlogWM Phoenix Open Preview and Picks

Waste Management Phoenix Open

January 24th – 27th, 2019

TPC Scottsdale

Scottsdale, AZ

Par: 71 / Yardage:

Purse: $7.1 million

with $1,278,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Gary Woodland

by Ed Pattermann

CEO, Webmaster, Chart Guru, Stats Nut

E-mail me at:
ed@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 50 of the top-100 players and 23 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with three players in the top-ten, #4 Justin Thomas, #6 Jon Rahm and #7 Xander Schauffele. The other top 50 players are #11 Tony Finau, #14 Rickie Fowler, #18 Bubba Watson, #19 Webb Simpson, #21 Alex Noren, #23 Matt Kuchar, #24 Gary Woodland, #26 Hideki Matsuyama, #28 Cameron Smith, #29 Phil Mickelson, #31 Tyrrell Hatton, #33 Keegan Bradley, #37 Kyle Stanley, #38 Billy Horschel, #42 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #45 Kevin Kisner, #46 Andrew Putnam, #48 Emiliano Grillo, #49 Brandt Snedeker and #50 Kevin Na.

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

The field includes 16 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2019.  Those players are #1 Xander Schauffele, #2 Matt Kuchar, #3 Gary Woodland , #8 Kevin Tway, #10 Cameron Champ , #11 Andrew Putnam , #13 Adam Long, #14 Tony Finau, #17 Danny Lee, #18 Brandt Snedeker, #19 Emiliano Grillo, #20 Patrick Rodgers, #21 Scott Piercy, #22 Justin Thomas, #24 Sam Ryder and #25 Chez Reave.

Five of this season’s winners on the PGA Tour:Kevin Tway (Safeway Open), Cameron Champ (Sanderson Farms), Xander Schauffele (WGC-HSBC Champions & Sentry Tournament of Champions), Matt Kuchar (OHL Classic at Mayakoba & Sony Open in Hawaii) and Adam Long (Desert Classic).

The field includes 7 past champions:Gary Woodland (2018), 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 Waste Management Phoenix Open field is our performance chart listed by the 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 yearsor 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.

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 Sentry Tournament of Champions Desert Classic Farmers Insurance Open Sony Open in Hawaii Mayakoba Golf Classic Sanderson Farms Championship Shriners Hospitals for Children Open The RSM Classic WGC-HSBC Champions Omega Dubai Desert Classic DP World Championship, Dubai Australian PGA Championship
Jon Rahm
(212.67 pts)
T8
(33.33)
6
(60)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
DNP T4
(40)
DNP
Matt Kuchar
(196.67 pts)
T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
Win
(44)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Xander Schauffele
(174 pts)
Win
(88)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP T16
(17)
DNP
Talor Gooch
(168.67 pts)
DNP 4
(80)
T3
(90)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T14
(12)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Andrew Putnam
(166.67 pts)
T14
(24)
T34
(16)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Gary Woodland
(128 pts)
2
(66.67)
DNP T9
(45)
80
(0)
T41
(3)
DNP T10
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Chez Reavie
(125 pts)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP T3
(90)
T26
(8)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(5)
DNP DNP DNP
Adam Hadwin
(120 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP T57
(0)
T10
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Cameron Smith
(117 pts)
DNP DNP T9
(45)
T22
(28)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
Adam Long
(105.33 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Cameron Champ
(100.67 pts)
T11
(26)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T73
(0)
T10
(13.33)
Win
(44)
T28
(7.33)
6
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(100 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
J.T. Poston
(98 pts)
DNP T7
(55)
T40
(10)
T20
(30)
T21
(9.67)
T54
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
(96.67 pts)
DNP DNP T3
(90)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Justin Thomas
(94 pts)
3
(60)
DNP DNP T16
(34)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Billy Horschel
(89.33 pts)
T25
(16.67)
DNP 8
(50)
DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(13)
DNP DNP DNP
Tony Finau
(86.33 pts)
DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Sungjae Im
(81.33 pts)
DNP T12
(38)
T52
(0)
T16
(34)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T15
(11.67)
T37
(4.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Lucas Glover
(81.33 pts)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
T7
(18.33)
T11
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Joel Dahmen
(80.33 pts)
DNP DNP T9
(45)
T22
(28)
T41
(3)
DNP T69
(0)
T37
(4.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Abraham Ancer
(79.33 pts)
DNP T18
(32)
CUT
(-10)
T29
(21)
T21
(9.67)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Webb Simpson
(75 pts)
T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
3
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Patton Kizzire
(72 pts)
T8
(33.33)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T13
(37)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
67
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Keegan Bradley
(71.33 pts)
T27
(15.33)
DNP T35
(15)
T29
(21)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 6
(20)
DNP DNP DNP
Scott Piercy
(71 pts)
T19
(20.67)
T57
(0)
DNP T33
(17)
T6
(20)
DNP T10
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Sentry Tournament of Champions Desert Classic Farmers Insurance Open Sony Open in Hawaii Mayakoba Golf Classic Sanderson Farms Championship Shriners Hospitals for Children Open The RSM Classic WGC-HSBC Champions Omega Dubai Desert Classic DP World Championship, Dubai Australian PGA Championship
Tom Hoge
(-35.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T37
(4.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Max Homa
(-33.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Seamus Power
(-29.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
19
(10.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Chris Kirk
(-28.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
T48
(0.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T41
(3)
T46
(1.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Bronson Burgoon
(-26.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brian Harman
(-24 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
T68
(0)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
72
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Ollie Schniederjans
(-23.33 pts)
DNP 72
(0)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T57
(0)
T74
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jim Herman
(-23 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
T43
(7)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Charley Hoffman
(-21 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(-20 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

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 Atlanta, but they still will pack them in to watch golf.  Last year 719,179 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 (84,034), Friday (191,400) and Saturday (216,818).  Now for those who think that they can never beat this mark, they have expanded several popular spots with new bleachers added behind the 10th green and on the hospitality side, the 17 and 18th hole have 41 new suites.  So look for more ways to pack in even more people.

Its 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.

People that love playing this event

As we have said before, there are some courses that players love and play in each year.  One of the things about TPC Scottsdale, it never seems to change from year to year.  Played in the desert, the weather is always the same and the course always plays the same way.  Example of that, you never know from year to year who will play well at the Farmers.  That’s because Torrey Pines is never the same.  Of course, the Poa Annua greens makes for some of the excitement, but the weather also has a lot to do with things.  Perfect example, wet conditions weeks before the tournament caused the rough to be heavier than usual  So, with different conditions, this makes the course different.  You would have thought that Tiger Woods would continue his dominance of this event, but since winning in 2013 he has struggled including this year when as the poa annua greens played havoc on Tiger’s week.  But at Phoenix you see more players playing consistently year in and year out.  Look at how Phil Mickelson has 11 top-tens in 29 events played, while you see guys like Hideki Matsuyama playing well every year.  So along with Matsuyama playing well, you can bet that players like Matt Kuchar, Martin Laird, Rickie Fowler, Daniel Berger, Jon Rahm, Webb Simpson, and Brendan Steele will play well.

Can Matsuyama get hot again?

For Hideki Matsuyama, the W.M. Phoenix Open has become his little annuity.  In five starts he has two wins, a runner-up and a T-4th and has won $3.1 million.  Last year he shot a first round 69 and was forced to withdraw with his wrist giving him problems.  In his 13 rounds he hasn’t shot over par as he has 12 under par rounds and in his 306 holes is 61 under par.  In his 306 holes, he has made 2 eagles and 83 birdies.  So does that mean that he will win for the third time this year?  Who knows, he would rather forget about 2018 as he only had three top-tens with two of them in the FedExCup playoffs.  But he has worked hard on his game and was T-3rd last week in San Diego, so you have to put him on top of the list for guys that could win this week.

How about Phil?

He is a guy that has to be chopping hard and looking forward to this week.  For the first time in 28 years, he took the week of the Farmers off so he comes into Phoenix well rested.  He played great in Palm Springs two weeks ago and last year after a slow, opening round 70 was 13 under in his final 54 holes to finish T-5th.  Phil has won three times at TPC Scottsdale and has gone low, shooting 60 in the first round when he last won in 2013.  So put Phil on your list of guys to watch this week.

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, a 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.

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 2018, the course was 32nd hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 70.32 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 2019.

The scoring average of the field on TPC Scottsdale last year was 70.32, so with par being 71, that means the average score was a bit less than three-quarters of a stroke under par, making TPC Scottsdale the 32nd hardest course to score on in 2018.

In looking at the stats for TPC Scottsdale last year, driving and greens hit are essential. With fast fairways, the course ranked 39th in driving distance and 9th in driving accuracy. Going a step further of the ten TPC courses that were used on the PGA Tour in 2018, the only TPC course harder to get it into the fairway was TPC Summerlin. In our ranking we consider hitting greens our most important stat, last year the course ranked 32nd in greens in regulation, but over the course of the last ten years all of the winners have been in the top-ten in greens hit Last year’s winner Gary Woodland was 8th in driving distance, T-19th in Driving accuracy and 8th in Greens in Regulation. Now add this all together, and he was 2nd in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. Going a year back, winner Hideki was 18th in driving distance, T-6th in driving accuracy and T-2nd in greens in regulation, finishing 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 since the last three winners have been either 1st or 2nd.
So our first category is proximity to the hole, which Woodland was 13th last year. In 2017 the winner Matsuyama was his average shot finished 31 feet, 1 inch away.
Our second category is Strokes Gained tee-to-green which is crucial for not only keeping the ball in the fairways but hitting greens and getting it close to the hole. Last year’s winner Woodland was 8th in driving distance, 19th in driving average and 4th in green in regulation, so for the total Strokes Gained tee-to-green Woodland was 13th. In 2017 Matsuyama was 1st in Strokes Gained tee-to-Greens as we said in this story.
After that our third important category is Par Breakers because making eagles and birdies is important. Last year Woodland was the best in the field in this stat as he made 1 eagle and his 26 birdies were the best of the week. The previous year Matsuyama was 12th in this stat as he had 19 birdies and an eagle.
Our last 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 32nd, while last year in winner Woodland was 25th. The previous year Matsuyama was 17th in scrambling.
So you can see that this isn’t a bombers course since accuracy is such a key. Another important thing, most of the time the weather is good, and the only problems stem from freezing mornings in which frost create delays. But in looking at this year’s forecast, frost won’t play a part but look for showers on Saturdayand temperatures low for the week just getting into the 70s on Thursday and Sunday, while it will be in the mid-60s for the weekend. Wind won’t be a factor this year.
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 32nd, but in proximity to hole, which tells how close players get to the hole, TPC Scottsdale ranked 10th as the players averaged getting it 38 feet and 10 inches.

*Strokes gained tee-to-Greens: Important because it shows how TPC Scottsdale ranked T-23rd 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 29th in that stat

*Scrambling: Of the 51 courses on tour in 2018, TPC Scottsdale got it up and down 58.89 of the time, meaning that it ranked 32nd. So it’s important for players to make sure to get it up and down on those holes that they miss the greens.

118 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 a link to the other 108 players with stats from 2019

DraftKings Picks

Of the 132 in the field, 104 have played at least once in the W.M. Phoenix Open.  

*Here are the players with the most under par totals in Phoenix since 2010:

  • Brendan Steele is -85 under in 32 rounds playing 8 years
  • Phil Mickelson is -85 under in 34 rounds playing 9 years
  • Bubba Watson is -84 under in 34 rounds playing 9 years
  • Rickie Fowler is -80 under in 32 rounds playing 9 years
  • Brandt Snedeker is -69 under in 32 rounds playing 8 years
  • Martin Laird is -63 under in 32 rounds playing 9 years
  • Hideki Matsuyama is -61 under in 17 rounds playing 5 years
  • Kevin Na is -60 under in 34 rounds playing 9 years
  • Webb Simpson is -60 under in 24 rounds playing 7 years
  • Gary Woodland is -57 under in 28 rounds playing 8 years
  • Hunter Mahan is -54 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)

  • J.J. Spaun is -15 under playing 2 years (-3.75)
  • Hideki Matsuyama is -61 under playing 5 years (-3.59)
  • Ollie Schniederjans is -24 under playing 2 years (-3.00)
  • Byeong Hun An is -23 under playing 2 years (-2.88)
  • Jon Rahm is -34 under playing 3 years (-2.83)
  • Brendan Steele is -85 under playing 8 years (-2.66)
  • Phil Mickelson is -85 under playing 9 years (-2.50)
  • Rickie Fowler is -80 under playing 9 years (-2.50)
  • Webb Simpson is -60 under playing 7 years (-2.50)
  • Bubba Watson is -84 under playing 9 years (-2.47)
  • Vaughn Taylor is -35 under playing 4 years (-2.19)
  • Brandt Snedeker is -69 under playing 8 years (-2.16)
  • Matt Kuchar is -43 under playing 5 years (-2.15)
  • Daniel Berger is -33 under playing 4 years (-2.06)
  • Nick Watney is -45 under playing 6 years (-2.05)
  • Gary Woodland is -57 under playing 8 years (-2.04)
  • Martin Laird is -63 under playing 9 years (-1.97)
  • Hunter Mahan is -54 under playing 8 years (-1.93)

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

DraftKings Picks

*Here are the guys that are very costly:

  • John Rahm – $11,500
  • Justin Thomas – $11,000
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $10,700
  • Xander Schauffele – $10,100
  • Gary Woodland – $9,900
  • Webb Simpson – $9,700
  • Tony Finau – $9,500
  • Rickie Fowler – $9,400
  • Phil Mickelson – $9,300
  • Matt Kuchar – $9,200
  • Cameron Smith – $9,100
  • Adam Hadwin – $9,000

Lot’s of good players in the field this week and DraftKings has given the top players big prices.  One thing that is important is since the weather rarely changes in Scottsdale, the course plays the same year in and year out.  So this is a course for horses, that is the reason we see so many multiple winners like Matsuyama, Mickelson and J.B. Holmes.  If you look at the performance chart, there are about a dozen players that seem to play well every year they play the course, so look at them as favorites for the week.

Jon Rahm at $11,500is one of those players.  As an amateur in 2015 he made his debut and almost won, finishing T-5th.  He hasn’t been in the top-ten, but always plays well and I think that will continue.  Justin Thomas at $11,000is a big mystery, can say that I feel DraftKings has it wrong, he hasn’t been very impressive in his four starts and he hasn’t played that great in 2019 to warrant not only the high price, but a pick of him, avoid taking him.  As for Hideki Matsuyama at $10,700he is the best of anyone, he has shown it with two wins, a runner-up and a T-4th in five starts, making it easier to pick him was his great finish last week in San Diego.  He is as close to a ‘bet your house’ pick as anyone this year.  Xander Schauffele at $10,100is not a good pick, mostly since he hasn’t really proven much and the fact that there are too many other better picks.  Gary Woodland at $9,900is another of those toss him picks, he has played great in January and someone that you can pick.  Webb Simpson at $9,700is another player to pick, he does well at TPC Scottsdale and has played well this year. Tony Finau is normally a guy that I like but at $9,500you want to pass on him.  Reason he struggles on this course, he has missed three cuts in a row and his only made cut in 2015 wasn’t that impressive at a T-22nd.  So take a pass on him.  Rickie Fowler at $9,400is one of those guys that does well at TPC Scottsdale, he has two runner-up finishes and was T-4th last year so you can take him.  The same with Phil Mickelson at $9,300.  Matter of fact he is a bargain at that price, so low that you can take both Mickelson and Matsuyama.  Mickelson has always played well at TPC Scottsdale and after his good start in the Desert Classic two weeks ago and resting last week I think he will have a great week.  Matt Kuchar at $9,200is another great pick, played well on the course and has done well this year.  Coming off a family vacation in Hawaii after winning, he should be in tip-top shape to contend.  Cameron Smith at $9,100is one of those I would pass on, too many other great picks.  The same with Adam Hadwin at $9,000, too many other better picks but he has been ok on this course and coming off a great finish at the Desert Classic.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Bubba Watson is at $8,900and could be a good pick.  Hasn’t played well on the course since 2015 but he was runner-up two years in a row in 2014 and ’15, think he is hungry and will play well this week.  Byeong Hun An at $8,600is a person to watch, he finishing 6th in 2017 and T-23rd last year, he finished T-12th in Dubai last week so he could be a good pick.  Andrew Putnam at $8,500could also be a good pick.  Has never played at TPC Scottsdale, but his year has been good and he is 19th on the ParBreaker list so he could be a dark horse pick.  One rookie, I would not pick, even though I have been in love with him the last couple of months is Cameron Champ.  He is $8,300but I think his streak of good play has ended, he missed the cut last week in San Diego and don’t give him much of a chance this week.  But Daniel Berger at $8,200is a great pick, played well at TPC Scottsdale and yes he missed the cut at San Diego but he will bounce back this week.  Brandt Snedeker at $8,100is also a good pick.  Has done well in Scottsdale and played ok this year. I am very surprised to see Ryan Palmer at $7,700, he has had some good finishes at TPC Scottsdale along with some stinkers, but he has played well this year and after struggling in the third round last week has shown that he could be ready to win.

What are the “Bargains” out there?

Our first bargain is Talor Gooch at $7,500.  He is playing for the first time in Scottsdale but comes into the event with a 4th at the Desert Classic and a T-3rd at the Farmers.  Brendan Steele at $7,400is a very special buy, he always plays well at TPC Scottsdale, he has been in the top-ten, four of his eight starts and I think that despite missing the cut last week will bounce back and have a good week.  J.J. Spaun is only $7,100and he played well in this event in 2017 and has shown a liking for courses in the desert with his T-15th in Las Vegas.  Adam Long is at $6,400, now he missed the cut at San Diego, I am just saying that he took a liking to desert golf winning in Palm Springs so maybe the desert will spark his game.

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 11 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 in 2017).  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 32nd of all the courses in 2018 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 301.3 as it ranked 35th on the PGA Tour (only 3 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 six of the last 22 champions have been in the top-ten of the weekly driving distance stat with eight of them out of the top-25.  Last year Gary Woodland was 8th in driving distance  Still hitting it long really doesn’t help in winning this tournament.
  • 12 of the last 22 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.  In 2017 Matsuyama finished T-4th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions so look for a player that has done well.  Last year Gary Woodland was T-7th at the Sony Open in Hawaii and T-12th at the Farmers the week before Phoenix.
  • 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 22 years, the winners have averaged hitting 75.4% of the greens and averaged 22 birdies for the week.  Last year Woodland hit 56 of 72 greens and made one eagle and 26 birdies.
  • 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 22 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.  in 2017 Matsuyama played the par 5s in 11 under while he was 5 under on the par 4s.  Last year Woodland was 8 under on the par 4s and 10 under on the par 5s.
  • 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 Scottsdalewith 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

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
WD Win Win T2 T4

He is a very easy pick, he plays great on the course and is doing great right now. So with a degree of luck, he should win this week.

Phil Mickelson

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T5 T16 T11 CUT T42 Win T26 T29 T24 CUT 2 CUT

Has everything going his way, playing well on a course that he has won three times on and plays well on it.

Jon Rahm

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T11 T16 T5

Guy has done well at TPC Scottsdale and goes into the week playing well.

Best of the rest:

Matt Kuchar

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T5 T9 T30 T33 T43 T6

A good combination of playing well at TPC Scottsdale and his game being very sharp right now.

Webb Simpson

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT 2 T14 10 T8 T8 CUT 65

Guy does very well on this course and should have a good week.

Rickie Fowler

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T11 T4 2 T46 CUT CUT T26 T13 2 T58

Has a good track record at TPC Scottsdale.

Justin Thomas

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T17 CUT CUT T17

Many will like him, I just don’t think this will be the week for him.

Solid contenders

Brendan Steele

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T3 T16 T17 T26 T6 T6 T5 T53

Has always played well at TPC Scottsdale.

Xander Schauffele

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T17

Comes into this event on a high may need it since he doesn’t do very well at TPC Scottsdale.

Gary Woodland

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
Win CUT T33 CUT T37 T16 T26 T5 T60

Its hard to defend, comes into the week playing great.

Bubba Watson

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T40 CUT T14 T2 T2 15 T5 T29 T36 T25 CUT T8

Bubba plays well on this course, we just don’t know how hard he has worked on his game during the winter.

Byeong Hun An

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T23 6

Was 6th in 2017, played well last week in Dubai

Long shots that could come through:

Talor Gooch

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

Playing for the first time, he comes into this event playing great finsihing 4th in the Desert and T-3rd last week at Torrey Pines.

J.J. Spaun

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
WD T4

Played well in 2017.

Ollie Schniederjans

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T3 T24

Is 24 under in just 8 rounds in this event.

Chez Reavie

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
2 CUT CUT CUT T45 T41 CUT CUT T58

Some say he is playing very well coming into this week.

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