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BlogWM Phoenix Open Preview and Picks

Waste Management Phoenix Open

January 30th – February 2nd, 2020

TPC Scottsdale

Scottsdale, AZ

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,261

Purse: $7.3 million

with $1,314,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Rickie Fowler

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 41 of the top-100 players and 18 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with three players in the top-ten, #3 Jon Rahm, #4 Justin Thomas and #9 Xander Schauffele. The other top 50 players are #11 Webb Simpson, #13 Tony Finau, #16 Gary Woodland, #17 Bryson DeChambeau, #21 Matt Kuchar, #24 Hideki Matsuyama, #26 Rickie Fowler, #28 Kevin Na, #34 Cameron Smith, #35 Sungjae Im, #39 Chez Reavie, #40 Billy Horschel, #43 Brandt Snedeker, #48 Andrew Putnam a20 #49 Byeong Hun An.

Last year there were 23 top-50 players in the field

The field includes 16 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2020.  Those players are #1 Justin Thomas, #3 Sebastian Munoz, #4 Lanto Griffin, #6 Cameron Smith, #9 Sungjae Im, #11 Kevin Na, #12 Xander Schauffele, #13 Hideki Matsuyama, #14 Tyler Duncan, #15 Webb Simpson, #16 Scottie Scheffler, #18 Tom Hoge, #20 Andrew Landry, #21 Carlos Ortiz, #23 Harris English and #25 Adam Hadwin

Seven of this season’s winners on the PGA Tour: Sebastian Munoz (Sanderson Farms), Kevin Na (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), Lanto Griffin (Houston Open), Justin Thomas (CJ Cup & Sentry Tournament of Champions) Tyler Duncan (RSM Classic), Cameron Smith (Sony Open in Hawaii) and Andrew Landry (The American Express).

The field includes 7 past champions: Rickie Fowler (2019), Gary Woodland (2018), Hideki Matsuyama (2017 & ’16), Kevin Stadler (2015), Kyle Stanley (2012), 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 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.

 

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 Desert Classic American Express Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry TofC Australian PGA DP World Dubai RSM Classic Mayakoba Classic WGC HSBC Champions Bermuda Champ. Zozo Champ.
Jon Rahm
(192.67 pts)
2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 10
(26.67)
DNP Win
(66)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tom Hoge
(161.33 pts)
5
(70)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Cameron Smith
(158.67 pts)
T64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP
Ryan Palmer
(144.33 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
Scottie Scheffler
(144 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
T18
(10.67)
DNP T3
(30)
DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(128 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Sungjae Im
(126 pts)
T36
(14)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(13)
DNP T3
(30)
Webb Simpson
(123.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Andrew Landry
(115.33 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Collin Morikawa
(104 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(29)
T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
Xander Schauffele
(103.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T10
(13.33)
Brendan Steele
(96.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T43
(7)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T41
(3)
DNP DNP DNP
Vaughn Taylor
(94.67 pts)
DNP DNP T43
(7)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
Tony Finau
(92.67 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T53
(0)
DNP T59
(0)
Sebastian Cappelen
(90.67 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T66
(0)
DNP T35
(5)
DNP
Keegan Bradley
(89.67 pts)
T16
(34)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T24
(8.67)
DNP T13
(12.33)
Hideki Matsuyama
(89.33 pts)
T45
(5)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(13)
DNP 2
(33.33)
Justin Thomas
(89 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
Corey Conners
(88.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(10)
DNP T6
(20)
Russell Knox
(88.67 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP T37
(13)
DNP T32
(18)
DNP DNP DNP T20
(10)
T33
(5.67)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP
Harry Higgs
(79 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(5)
T33
(5.67)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP
Lanto Griffin
(77 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(55)
13
(24.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T76
(0)
DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP
Rickie Fowler
(76.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Matthew Wolff
(67.33 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
Bubba Watson
(67.33 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T28
(7.33)
DNP T51
(0)
Tyler Duncan
(66 pts)
DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
T48
(0.67)
DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP
Max Homa
(65 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP T48
(2)
DNP DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
J.T. Poston
(60.33 pts)
DNP DNP T37
(13)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T11
(26)
DNP DNP T14
(12)
T41
(3)
T24
(8.67)
DNP T27
(7.67)
Ryan Moore
(60 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
Sepp Straka
(60 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Bud Cauley
(60 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brian Harman
(59 pts)
DNP DNP T21
(29)
DNP T32
(18)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
T72
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Sebastian Munoz
(57.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T21
(29)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T17
(22)
DNP DNP 3
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Talor Gooch
(56 pts)
T36
(14)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(9)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Ted Potter, Jr.
(54.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T37
(13)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Farmers Insurance Dubai Desert Classic American Express Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry TofC Australian PGA DP World Dubai RSM Classic Mayakoba Classic WGC HSBC Champions Bermuda Champ. Zozo Champ.
Mackenzie Hughes
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T65
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Roger Sloan
(-30.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T41
(3)
DNP
Patton Kizzire
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T68
(0)
T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Russell Henley
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Stadler
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Kyle Stanley
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Bo Van Pelt
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
James Hahn
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Austin Cook
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T61
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Wyndham Clark
(-22 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T46
(1.33)

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 Miami Gardens, Florida, but they still will pack them in to watch golf.  In 2018 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 2018 — the weekly attendance mark, plus record crowds on Wednesday (84,034), Friday (191,400) and Saturday (216,818).  Unfortunately, poor weather created poor numbers and the Phoenix Thunderbirds, the organization that runs the tournament decided not to report the number of people attending but we know this, it’s a boatload.  Each year things get bigger and bigger, 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 close to 50 new suites.  So there are a lot of ways to pack in even more people.

It’s reputation as the biggest party of the year for the PGA Tour.  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 goes to 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.

Is this the week for Jon Rahm?

Hard to believe that he has won just three times on the PGA Tour and one of them was a team event.  For many, they will shake their heads and say it feels like a lot more.  It probably seems that way since he has won six times on the European Tour, three of them in 2019.  But on the PGA Tour, it’s only twice and both of them are on the west coast swing.  He has played in only 77 PGA Tour events and in those events he has 34 top-ten finishes so he has been in the top ten 44% of the time.  Last week he was runner-up at the Farmers, his fifth runner-up finish so you have to wonder, could this week be a great week for him?  Rahm made his second PGA Tour start at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2015 while he was a junior at Arizona State and he finished T-5th, just three shots back of another youngster making his first mark on the PGA Tour Brooks Koepka.  Rahm has played in the last three events at TPC Scottsdale and despite playing ok, has just not gone low enough and finished T-16th in 2017, T-11th in 2018 and T-10th last year.  The big question will be, is he playing hot enough now to seal the deal?  We will find out, I say he is playing that good.

Can Matsuyama get hot again?

Have to say that for Hideki Matsuyama, the W.M. Phoenix Open has become his little annuity.  In six starts he has two wins, a runner-up and a T-4th and has won $3.2 million.  Last year he finished T-15th with rounds of 68-69-69-69 showing that he was good but just not good enough.  The year before he shot a first-round 69 and was forced to withdraw with his wrist giving him problems.  In his 21 rounds he hasn’t shot over par as he has 20 under par rounds and one at par round (2nd round in 2015) and in his 306 holes is 61 under par.  In his 378 holes, he has made 2 eagles and 100 birdies.  So does that mean that he will win for a third time this year?  Who knows, he would rather forget about 2018 as he only had four top-tens with two of them in the FedExCup playoffs and no top-three.  Last year he had seven top-tens with two top-3s as his game showed signs of getting some of his forms back.  He has played well since the summer, yes he stumbled in San Diego last week over the weekend but coming into Phoenix Matsuyama will be one of the favorites.

How about Phil?

After playing 29 straight times in the WM Phoenix Open Phil decided to take the big dollars and play in Saudi Arabia instead.  It’s a shame to see things like this happening with a guy that frankly really doesn’t need the money.  The story is bigger than this, Phil who was born in San Diego and has lived in Rancho Santa Fe since after college has decided to leave and move to Florida in the summer of 2021 when he youngest child graduates from high school.  Now a lot of people move and we know that Phil will have one hell of a house on Jupiter Island but it just seems a bit extreme this move.  He hasn’t given a reason, but a few years ago he complained about the tax structure in California which I know is not very kind to those that have a lot of money.  I know that I lived most of my life in California and now live in Virginia due to my wife working for the government and I am stuck, but if I had a chance to move back even with the high cost of living and taxes I would probably move back.  But high that’s me.  As for Phil and his golf game it’s not doing very well, we had hope for some good results but he missed the cut at both the American Express and the Farmers.

Sub-60 watch

Even though 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 a 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 81 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. But in 2018 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 2018 — the weekly attendance mark, plus record crowds on Wednesday (84,034), Friday (191,400) and Saturday (216,818).  In 2019 poor weather made it impossible for these records to be broken and the Thunderbirds decided to stop reporting attendance figures, at least for 2019 we will see if they keep things quiet in 2020.

Course information:
  • Played at TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Az.
  • Par:  71 / Yardage: 7,261
  • In 2019, the course was T-32nd hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 70.51 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 a 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, in 2018, 216,818 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 year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, and using data from all the players in the field for with stats from 2020.

The scoring average of the field on TPC Scottsdale last year was 70.51, so with par being 71, that means the average score was a bit more than a half of a stroke under par, making TPC Scottsdale T-25th hardest course to score on in 2019.

In looking at the stats for TPC Scottsdale last year, driving and greens hit are essential. With fast fairways, the course ranked 40th in driving distance and 10th in driving accuracy. Going a step further of the ten TPC courses that were used on the PGA Tour in 2019, the only TPC course harder to get it into the fairway was TPC San Antonio. In our ranking we consider hitting greens our most important stat, last year the course ranked 22nd in greens in regulation, but over the course of the last eleven years, all of the winners have been in the top-13 in greens hit, taking it a step further of those same champions nine of them finished in the top-four so you can see the importance of hitting greens in winning this championship. Last year’s winner Rickie Fowler was the exception to the rule, he ranked T-3rd in driving distance, 11th in Driving accuracy and T-13th in Greens in Regulation. Now we can give Fowler a pass when you consider the poor weather in the final round with heavy rain during most of his round which drove the final-round scoring average to 71.58 and led Fowler to shot 74, the highest final round by a winner on the PGA Tour since Steven Bowditch’s 74 in winning the 2014 Valero Texas Open. In the final round in Phoenix, Fowler hit 11 greens which were the reason for his high ranking. With the bad weather and all, Fowler ranked 19th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, the highest of the last couple of winners. Going back a year to Gary Woodland in 2018 he was 2nd in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. In 2017 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 of the four winners have been either 1st or 2nd.
So our first 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. Again we have to forget about last year’s stats because of the poor playing conditions during the final round, but all the rest of the years makes the case.
Our second category is proximity to the hole, which is the distance it the hole from shots hit from the fairway. Again forget the fact that Rickie Fowler won and was 46th in this stat last year. In 2018 the champion Gary Woodland was 13th. In 2017 the winner Matsuyama was 2nd his average shot finishing 31 feet, 1 inch away. When he won in 2016 he was 8th his average shot finishing 35 feet, 10 inches away.
After that our third important category is Par Breakers because making eagles and birdies are important. Last year Rickie Fowler was the best in the field making an eagle and 23 birdies, in 2018 Gary Woodland was the best in the field 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 25th, while last year’s winner Rickie Fowler was T-8th, 2018 winner Gary 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 creates delays. But last year Sunday was terrible which is a rarity for the Scottsdale area. But this year things will be different, the forecast is as close to perfect as you can get. Temperatures in the mid to high 70s with very little winds each day which will create very good scoring for the week.

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

*Strokes gained tee-to-Greens: Important because it shows how TPC Scottsdale ranked T-21st in this stat, meaning that a combination of driving distance, driving accuracy and greens hit is important

*Proximity to hole: Hitting greens is important, last year TPC Scottsdale ranked 22nd, but in proximity to hole, which tells how close players get to the hole, TPC Scottsdale ranked 5th as the players averaged getting it 39 feet and 6 inches.

*Par Breakers: Desert courses always seem to give up a lot of birdies and eagles, last year TPC Scottsdale ranked 18th in that stat. Of all of the courses the hold a PGA Tour event, TPC Scottsdale is the hardest one to make eagles and birdies on.

*Scrambling: Of the 49 courses on tour in 2019, TPC Scottsdale got it up and down 59.35 of the time, meaning that it ranked 25th. 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:

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

Here is a link to the other 108 player stats for the WM Phoenix Open

Of the 132 in the field, 109 have played at least once in the W.M. Phoenix Open.  Here are the players with the most under par totals in Phoenix since 2015:
  • Rickie Fowler is -61 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Hideki Matsuyama is -56 under in 17 rounds playing 5 years
  • Martin Laird is -47 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Jon Rahm is -44 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Matt Kuchar is -43 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Bubba Watson is -37 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Brendan Steele is -36 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Zach Johnson is -34 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Daniel Berger is -33 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Byeong Hun An is -31 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Webb Simpson is -31 under in 14 rounds playing 4 years
  • Justin Thomas is -31 under in 16 rounds playing 5 years
  • Gary Woodland is -29 under in 16 rounds playing 5 years
  • Billy Horschel is -28 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Charley Hoffman is -27 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Chez Reavie is -27 under in 14 rounds playing 5 years
  • Chris Kirk is -26 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Brandt Snedeker is -25 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Kevin Na is -24 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Jordan Spieth is -23 under in 10 rounds playing 3 years
  • J.B. Holmes is -23 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Xander Schauffele is -21 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)
  • Rickie Fowler is 61 under, playing 5 years (-12.2)
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 56 under, playing 5 years (-11.2)
  • Jon Rahm is 44 under, playing 4 years (-11.0)
  • Matt Kuchar is 43 under, playing 4 years (-10.8)
  • Xander Schauffele is 21 under, playing 2 years (-10.5)
  • Byeong Hun An is 31 under, playing 3 years (-10.3)
  • Martin Laird is 47 under, playing 5 years (-9.4)
  • Beau Hossler is 16 under, playing 2 years (-8.0)
  • Webb Simpson is 31 under, playing 4 years (-7.8)
  • Jordan Spieth is 23 under, playing 3 years (-7.7)
  • Bubba Watson is 37 under, playing 5 years (-7.4)
  • Brendan Steele is 36 under, playing 5 years (-7.2)
  • Zach Johnson is 34 under, playing 5 years (-6.8)
  • Daniel Berger is 33 under, playing 5 years (-6.6)
  • Chris Kirk is 26 under, playing 4 years (-6.5)
  • Brandt Snedeker is 25 under, playing 4 years (-6.3)
  • Justin Thomas is 31 under, playing 5 years (-6.2)
  • J.J. Spaun is 18 under, playing 3 years (-6.0)
  • Gary Woodland is 29 under, playing 5 years (-5.8)
  • Billy Horschel is 28 under, playing 5 years (-5.6)

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 Tips

*Here are the guys that are very costly:
  • Jon Rahm – $11,400
  • Justin Thomas – $11,200
  • Rickie Fowler – $10,500
  • Webb Simpson – $10,300
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $10,100
  • Xander Schauffele – $9,900
  • Tony Finau – $9,600
  • Matt Kuchar – $9,400
  • Gary Woodland – $9,300
  • Collin Morikawa – $9,200
  • Bryce DeChambeau – $9,100
  • Bubba Watson – $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 $11,500 is 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.  You have to think Rahm is a shoo-in since he has been under par in his last 20 rounds and in his last three starts was 2nd at the Hero, 10th at the Sentry TofC and 2nd last week at the Farmers.  Justin Thomas at $11,200 was a mystery until his good finish last year, have to say he is priced right and yes it’s a lot but worth the cost.  Rickie Fowler is $10,500 and many will be afraid since he missed the cut last week at the Farmers.  Don’t worry about it, Fowler never plays well at Torrey and always plays well at TPC Scottsdale so he is worth the price.  Webb Simpson at $10,300 is good, he knows how to go low at TPC Scottsdale and he has played well in his last three starts.  Hideki Matsuyama at $10,100 is another good buy, yes it’s hard to believe that I am five for five (will be six for six in a minute) in suggesting picks.  Matsuyama seems to always play well at TPC Scottsdale, he has been under par in 20 of his 21 rounds and his worst score was 71.  He has two wins and could add a third this week.  Xander Schauffele is $9,900 also comes off a poor start at the Farmers but he hasn’t played well at Torrey and does play well at TPC Scottsdale.  Has played well this year in his two starts in Phoenix is 21 under.  Now we end the streak big time with Tony Finau at $9,400.  Despite how he is playing, he was T-6th at the Farmers, he always struggles at TPC Scottsdale’s missing the cut in his last four visits so avoid him.  Matt Kuchar at $9,400 is an interesting choice, won his last start two weeks ago in Singapore and has played well in his last three starts in Phoenix but his 2020 stats have been terrible so its hard to decide what to do about him since there are so many good choices its best to forget about Matt.  Gary Woodland at $9,300 has been good until he missed the cut last week at the Farmers.  I have to disregard that since he is playing really well.  Collin Morikawa at $9,200 is another head-scratcher just because he has had a good season, but it’s not going to be good enough to make you a lot of money.  If he was priced under $8,000 I would say yes, but not at $9,200.  The same with Bryce DeChambeau at $9,100, he is priced too high.  Last is a good price with Bubba Watson at $9,000.  He has played well at Phoenix and was T-6th last week at the Farmers.  Like the direction his game is pointing, he may win in the next month.

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

Brandt Snedeker is at $8,900 and could be a good pick.  Was runner-up in 2013 and always plays well at Phoenix, has a career 69.04 scoring average on the course.  Was T-3rd last week in San Diego, T-12th at the Sony, going into the time of year he does well in.  Branden Grace at $8,700 was great in his first TPC Scottsdale to start in 2019 finishing 2nd with four rounds in the 60s.  Has played good in his last three starts, was T-17th at Abu Dhabi, Won South African Open, T-3rd Alfred Dunhill.  The only problem he did play in Abu Dhabi last week so he could be a bit jet lag this week. Chez Reavie is $8,300 and you have to like that he is 30 under in his last 8 rounds at TPC Scottsdale as he was 2nd in 2018 and T-4th last year, the only problem he has struggled of late missing the cut at the Sony and American Express.  Daniel Berger is only $7,800 and cheap enough to take a gamble.  Yes, he missed the cut in Phoenix last year but he was T-11th in 2018, T-7th in 2017 and T-10th in 2015.  Also, like the fact that he has been under par in his last 12 rounds on the PGA Tour, his results aren’t great T-29th, T-38th, and T-17th but he will get you some points for a cheap price.

What are the “Bargains” out there?

Our first bargain is J.B. Holmes at $7,400.  He has won in Phoenix twice and his game was sharp in San Diego.  Charley Hoffman is also $7,400 and seems to make cuts at Phoenix and he played well in San Diego finishing T-9th with a final round 65.  Billy Horschel is also $7,400 and the same story, nothing special in his Phoenix play but he can make you some points. Also can’t miss out on Tom Hoge who is just $7,400 and despite finishing T-44th in Phoenix last year had problems in the poor weather, but of interest is the fact that he was 5th at the Farmers and T-6th at the American Express. One last “bargain” goes to Trey Mullinax at $6,500, he was T-15th last year at Phoenix, he played last week in San Diego made the cut and finished 78th.

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

The 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 12 winners, Rickie Fowler broke the poor streak last year when he ranked T-5th in putting last year, before that the best was two players ranked 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 and Fowler who ranked T-13th) 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 lots of greens took over.  Overall the TPC Scottsdale ranked 22nd of all the courses in 2019 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 303.6 as it ranked 40th on the PGA Tour (only 6 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 23 champions have been in the top-ten of the weekly driving distance stat with eight of them out of the top-25.  Last year Rickie Fowler was 11th in driving distance  Still hitting it long really doesn’t help in winning this tournament.
  • 12 of the last 23 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.  In 2018 Gary Woodland was T-7th at the Sony Open in Hawaii and T-12th at the Farmers the week before Phoenix.  Last year Fowler didn’t play that much, but five weeks before he did finish T-5th at the Hero Challenge
  • 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 23 years, the winners have averaged hitting 74.8% of the greens and averaged 22.35 birdies for the week.  Last year Fowler hit 52 of 72 greens and made one eagle and 23 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, 14  of the 23 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 2016 Hideki Matsuyama played the par 5s in 6 under while he was 9 under on the par 4s.  In 2018 Woodland was 8 under on the par 4s and 10 under on the par 5s.  Last year Rickie Fowler was 7 under on the par 5s but 9 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:

Justin Thomas

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
3 T17 CUT CUT T17

Looking to redeem himself from losing in the final round last year has had a great year coming to a course that is good for his game. Two wins in 2020, won last month at the Sentry TofC.

Jon Rahm

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T10 T11 T16 T5

Is the hottest player in golf right now, been under par in his last 20 rounds and in his last three starts was 2nd at the Hero, 10th at the Sentry Tof and 2nd last week at the Farmers. He will be hard to beat.

Hideki Matsuyama

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T15 WD Win Win T2 T4

TPC Scottsdale is tailor-made for his game, has two wins, a runner-up and fourth-place finish, He is under par in 20 of his 21 rounds, his worst round is 71. He is 70 under in his five starts.

Best of the rest:

Bubba Watson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T4 T40 CUT T14 T2 T2 15 T5 T29 T36 T25 CUT

He will be a big surprise, hasn’t played well in a couple of years but his game has been coming around. Has a great record at TPC Scottsdale, was runner-up in 2015 & ’14, T-4th last year.

Webb Simpson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T20 CUT 2 T14 10 T8 T8 CUT 65

Played great in his last three starts, 3rd at Sony, 2nd at RSM and T-7th at Shriners. Shot 64 on his way to a runner-up finish in 2017.

Rickie Fowler

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
Win T11 T4 2 T46 CUT CUT T26 T13 2 T58

Forgot what happen to him last week, he is always great at TPC Scottsdale. Won last year, was runner-up in 2016 and ’10.

Xander Schauffele

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T10 T17

Look for him to snap back after missing the cut last week, in his two starts in Phoenix is 21 under par

Gary Woodland

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T7 Win CUT T33 CUT T37 T16 T26 T5 T60

Forget last week’s missed cut at the Farmers, has played well in 2020 including T-7th at Sentry Toffy, th at Zozo and T-3rd at CJ Cup. Won WM Phoenix in 2018, T-7th last year in both was 29 under.

Solid contenders

Brandt Snedeker

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T55 T23 T33 T10 T61 2 T50 T8 T43 CUT T9

Was runner-up in 2013 but has never really contended since, does have four top-tens in 12 starts with a 69.04 scoring average at TPC Scottsdale. Was T-3rd last week at Farmers, T-12th at Sony.

Branden Grace

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
2

Great in his first TPC Scottsdale start in 2019 finishing 2nd with four rounds in the 60s. Won three weeks ago at the South African Open.

Matt Kuchar

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T4 T5 T9 T30 T33 T43 T6

Won in his last start two weeks ago in Singapore. Thirty-eight under in his last 12 rounds at TPC Scottsdale, was T-4th last year, T-5th in ’18 and T-9th in ’17

Bryson DeChambeau

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T5

Was T-5th in his only WM Phoenix start in 2018. T-8th last week in Dubai despite a final round 76, was T-4th at Shiners Hospitals.

Long shots that could come through:

Jordan Spieth

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT T9 T7

Stats may not have been very impressive and his T-55th last week at the Farmers wasn’t the greatest but he did get it around 72 holes and putted ok. Also like the fact that he comes to a course he finished T-9th in 2017 and T-7th in 2015.

Matthew Wolff

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T50

After opening with 76 at Farmers shot 66-71-69 to finish T-21st, has been consistent on tour in 2020. Shot 67-70-72-72 last year finishing T-50th at WM Phoenix Open.

Scottie Scheffler

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
First time playing in this event

Yes he missed the cut at the Farmers but comes back to the desert, he was T-3rd at the American Express two weeks ago.

Avoid him at all cost this week:

Tony Finau

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT CUT CUT CUT T22

He may of finished T-6th at the Farmers and been having a good year but he struggles big time at TPC Scottsdale, has missed the cut in his last four visits as he is six over par, in 12 rounds he has broken par three times and that came in 2015 when he finished T-22nd.

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
First time playing in this event

Comments

  1. uestion.
    I’m trying to find some sort of strategy going into a tournament.

    T-10 on Wednesday night. Then current form at the cut.

    Is there a stat page showing the previous few weeks?

    Sorry I’m a week into buying the premium package. Look for some guidance

    Mark

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