The PGA Tour heads out of the state of California for a week to venture to the Arizona desert for this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. No longer mixed up with a multiple course rotation or amateur playing partners, the tour’s best will take to the biggest party in golf at the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale.
While the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am lacked a bit of star power due to a certain Asian Tour event in Saudi Arabia, the PGA Tour has no competition this week. Because of this, big hitters such as Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and Justin Thomas are scheduled to play, looking to make their mark on this year’s PGA Tour season.
With a steady increase in the relative strength of the field throughout the years, it is commonplace in Scottsdale to have a winner from among golf’s elite. From Brooks Koepka to Hideki Matsuyama, major champions and the class of the PGA Tour have made headway on this Tom Weiskopf design.
As such, it may be wise to look to the top of the oddsboard this week when searching for an outright selection, perhaps going to the prop market or head-to-head matchups for some value.
It is no surprise to see the world No. 1, Jon Rahm, lead the way as the tournament favorite at Bovada at +750. A product of Arizona State and a resident of Scottsdale, Rahm is still in search of his first victory worldwide since the U.S. Open.
The Spaniard is 6-for-6 making the cut in his career at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and has done no worse than a tie for 16th place in 2017. Always a threat at TPC Scottsdale, our odds calculator gives Rahm an 11.76 percent chance to capture a long-overdue victory.
Who Is Favored To Win The 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open?
|Harold Varner III||+6000|
Odds as of February 8 courtesy of Bovada
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What Happened In Last Year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open?
Last year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open marked the beginning of Jordan Spieth’s return to prominence. By way of a third round of 10-under 61, the Texan shot out of his three-year drought and back into the limelight.
But playing in the final pairing alongside Ryder Cup teammate Xander Schauffele, both would struggle the next day in the final round, leaving the door open for a potential outsider to play spoiler. Those in the preceding groups were unable to take advantage, namely Justin Thomas, who also found his fair share of troubles in Round 4, playing with a heavy heart as he had just learned of his grandfather’s passing.
With the final few groups sputtering, it was the duo of James Hahn and Brooks Koepka who fed off each other. First, it was Hahn, who has always had a soft spot for TPC Scottsdale and arrived with three top-20 results to his name.
Turning in 5-under 30, the two-time winner on the PGA Tour possessed the solo lead as he went to the homeward half. When he immediately found trouble, Koepka pounced as he so often does. Taking a stranglehold on the tournament via a chip-in eagle-2 on the drivable par-4 17th, the four-time major winner captured his second Waste Management Phoenix Open title.
Course and Analysis
There are few venues on the PGA Tour where course history is as prevalent as it is at TPC Scottsdale. We have seen players such as Koepka, Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and many others collect quality result after quality result on this par 71, a longtime stop on the golf calendar.
With such a list of players, Augusta National and TPC Sawgrass are inevitably going to be brought up as the leaderboards experience plenty of crossover. Due to the importance of par-5 scoring and the risk-reward nature of all three venues, a deeper dive paints a clearer picture just exactly why that is.
Through a combination of elite iron play, specifically from 150 to 175 yards, and the need to take advantage of par 5s, the winning score often falls in the neighborhood of 17 under. Unlike your typical tour stop that sees scores in the mid-20-under range, a week where conditions are a bit more difficult lends itself to an elite winner.
2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open Expert Selections
Sam Burns +3300 To Win
The recent influx of first-time winners may cloud some judgment and cause some to look to Scottie Scheffler in this range. However, the progression I see more likely is a player such as Sam Burns collecting his third victory on the PGA Tour.
With his first two wins coming in less than stellar fields at the Valspar Championship and the Sanderson Farms Championship, a showcase in a field of this caliber is the rightful next step toward stardom. The LSU product, getting a discount on his price due to his poor iron play in 2022, will eventually return to the form that served him so well in the back half of 2021.
Last year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open was Burns’ best effort to date as he finished in a tie for 22nd. Gaining nearly 11 strokes on the greens, it is clear there is a comfort level with the putter in hand on these Bermuda grass greens.
Never the problem for a player such as the world No. 13, Burns has now gained north of four strokes tee-to-green in 10 of his last 17 starts dating back to the RBC Heritage. With two wins and two runners-up during this time frame, the consistency in which the 25-year-old has contended is enough to forgive his recent poor play.
Corey Conners +5000 to win
Similar to Burns, we are receiving a bit of a price discount given the Canadian’s recent poor play. The beginning of the West Coast swing saw Conners miss the cut at both the American Express and the Farmers Insurance Open. While we only have two measured rounds from a strokes-gained perspective from the two tournaments, knowing Conners, the struggles were with the putter in hand.
Striking his irons adequately, the 30-year-old lost 4.5 strokes in one round at Torrey Pines South in his most recent outing, poor even for a putter of his caliber. The return to Bermuda grass should be a welcomed sight as it has long been the surface on which he can contend. Looking back at his history at TPC Sawgrass, Bay Hill Golf and Lodge, and Waialae Country Club, the green complexes of TPC Scottsdale should fit right in, thus squashing any concerns of his recent putting woes.
Talor Gooch +5500 To Win
This is where this article may become a bit repetitive as we back a few players we fancied at the Farmers Insurance Open. The first is Gooch as the Oklahoma State product finished his week in San Diego on a high note, carding a final round of 5-under 67 to finish in a tie for 20th.
The tournament history at the Waste Management Phoenix Open has surprisingly not been there for Gooch, a winner this fall on a Bermuda-laced golf course at Sea Island. However, when looking into his statistics, he has never arrived at this tournament in such fantastic form.
Ranking inside the top 10 in this field in greens in regulation, SG: Around-the-Green, and par-5 scoring over the last 36 rounds, there is a lot to like about his chances this week. He’s prone to make the big mistake every now and again but if he’s able to avoid those, I envision Gooch contending for his second PGA Tour title in the last three months.
Max Homa +6600 To Win
While Gooch played somewhat decent at the Farmers Insurance Open, Homa did not. Missing the cut in La Jolla, his ball-striking from the Sentry Tournament of Champions was nowhere to be seen. But he is often described by his peers as a top-10 ball-striker on the tour and I am not too concerned as he has been known to bounce back.
One of the more volatile golfers, the three-time winner on the PGA Tour is just as likely to miss the cut as he is to contend. Perfect for an event like this, the Scottsdale resident has been known to raise his game to the occasion, considering his victories at the Wells Fargo Championship and the Genesis Invitational.
Getting more comfortable with the putter by the week, if Homa is able to return to his normal ball-striking prowess, he should be there come Sunday. With finishes of T-26, T-6 and T-42 on his Waste Management Phoenix Open resume, it is clear the California kid likes his new home.
Keith Mitchell +8000 To Win
We discussed our worries about Mitchell in California a couple of weeks ago, and while it did not work out at Torrey Pines, he surprisingly kept his good play rolling at Pebble Beach. The former Georgia Bulldog eventually finished in a tie for 12th by way of fantastic ball-striking, adding to his list of quality results in this 2021-22 PGA Tour season.
Mitchell’s most recent start in the desert was one to remember, finishing in third place at the CJ Cup @ Summit. Add in a T-12 at the RSM Classic and a T-7 at the Sony Open, and slowly but surely, the 30-year-old is trending to yet another victory on the PGA Tour.
Branden Grace +10000 To Win
A play solely on course history and the rate at which he contends, we are about one year removed from Branden Grace’s victory at the Puerto Rico Open. After finding the first page of the leaderboard at The Memorial, U.S. Open, Wyndham Championship and the Zozo Championship, if there was ever a place where Grace could repeat such performances, it is TPC Scottsdale.
Sneakily striking the ball adequately in his two starts in Hawaii, simply a strong showing of the short game will be required. With a runner-up finish in 2019 to Rickie Fowler and a top-10 result in 2020, Grace has shown an affinity for TPC Scottsdale in his two starts and I am hopeful for the same in his third.
Golf is unique for many reasons, but one of them is the significant number of betting props available at weekly tournaments. The Phoenix Open is no different.
Sportsbooks are offering odds on things like whether there will be a hole-in-one, OVER/UNDERs on the winning score for the eventual champion and odds on which players from specific countries will have the lowest score, to name a few.
Like other sports, betting on props is a fun and unique way to enhance your golf gambling experience.
Live Betting is arguably one of the most exciting ways to bet on golf. If the player you placed a pre-tournament bet on is out of the running at any point during the Phoenix Open, you can bet on another golfer as the days go by and have another stake in the game.
If there are only a few men in the hunt on the final day, the odds likely won’t be significantly high, but your chances of winning are. We’ve seen this happen multiple times in the PGA Tour’s Return to Golf, as multiple tournaments have gone to a playoff.
These helpful pages will assist you in handicapping your golf wagers:
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