Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's Waste Management Phoenix Open Tips 2022

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Congratulations if you were on Tom Hoge last week at Monday prices up to 66/1 (bet365). One of those who was slowly developing and making real strides in contending experience, it was good to see him get across the line for the first time.

From the majesty of the classical Pebble Beach, we travel back to the desert for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Expect dome-like playing conditions and over 600,000 fans at TPC Scottsdale with the return of the fully scaled up par-3 16th hole. One thing you always get at the Waste Management Phoenix Open though is a close finish and of late a high-class, elite winner at altitude on Super Bowl weekend.

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Before we go into the detail surrounding the Waste Management Phoenix Open, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System as the season progresses. Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, +6,000 strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

Course Guide: Since 2015, the PGA Tour professionals in the main have welcomed the Tom Weiskopf-inspired changes to the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale. 2014 had seen the course closed to undergo a major re-design which included new irrigation, re-surfacing of greens including new green locations at No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 14, bunker construction and tee construction. In all, 114 yards was added to the course across 11 holes, extending the layout to a 7,266 yard, Par 71 test.

Set at approximately 1,250 feet above sea level, players face a different challenge this week as the golf ball will travel slightly further than they’ve experienced across Hawaii and California to date. Talking of challenges, players also need to embrace the atmosphere on the Stadium Course with over 600,000 spectators in 2020 making this the most attended golf tournament on the planet.

Stadium Course, TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona: Designer: Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish 1995, with Weiskopf re-design 2014; Course Type: Desert, Mid-Score; Par: 71; Length: 7,261 yards; Holes with Water Hazards In-Play: 6; Fairways: Bermudagrass with Perennial Rye and fine fescue; Rough: Bermudagrass with Perennial Rye and fine fescue 2.5″; Greens: 7,069 sq.ft average featuring TifEagle Bermudagrass overseeded with Poa Trivialis and Ryegrass; Tournament Stimp: 12ft; Course Scoring Average 2012: 70.76 (-0.24), Difficulty Rank 29 of 49 courses. 2013: 68.95 (-2.05), Difficulty Rank 40 of 43 courses. 2014: 70.64 (-0.36), Rank 33 of 48 courses. 2015: 70.75 (-0.25), Rank 22 of 52 courses. 2016: 71.03 (+0.03), Rank 20 of 50 courses. 2017: 70.19 (-0.81), Rank 33 of 50 courses. 2018: 70.32 (-0.64), Rank 32 of 51 courses. 2019: 70.51 (-0.49), Rank of 24 of 49 courses. 2020: 70.32 (-0.64), Rank 18 of 41 courses. 2021: 69.46 (-1.54), Rank of 42 of 51 courses.

Course Designer Links: For research purposes other Tom Weiskopf designs include (including re-designs):

  • North Course, Torrey Pines 2017-2021 Farmers Insurance Open

Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for TPC Scottsdale and how they compare to recent courses that we’ve seen on Tour:

  • TPC Scottsdale: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:30; 300:28; 325:27; 350:27.
  • Pebble Beach: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:33; 300:29; 325:30 350:26.
  • Torrey Pines South: 250 yards from the tee: 26 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • TPC Stadium: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26; 350:24.
  • Waialae: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:34; 325:37; 350:34.
  • Plantation Course: 250 yards from the tee: 59 yards wide; 275:61; 300:65; 325:60; 350:62.
  • Seaside Course: 250 yards from the tee: 42 yards wide; 275:40; 300:34; 325:31; 350:23.
  • TPC Summerlin: 250 yards from the tee: 35 yards wide; 275:37; 300:33; 325:30; 350:31.
  • CC of Jackson: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:28; 300:29; 325:28; 350:25.
  • Silverado: 250 yards from the tee: 27 yards wide; 275:26; 300:24; 325:25; 350:24.

Course Overview: Scoring at the Stadium Course tends to be around the -15/269 to -18/266 mark, unless course conditions are soft like they were in 2013 when Phil Mickelson won at an eye-watering -28/256. The freshly renovated course features an additional 114 yards of length, with fresh green surfaces featuring TifEagle Bermudagrass overseeded with Poa Trivialis. These green complexes have now been in place for just over 7 years so shouldn’t offer up too many surprises. They run pretty quick, unless rain comes and softens the course.

Undoubtedly the new Weiskopf-inspired Stadium Course is a tougher proposition than the previous set-up. Whilst greens aren’t that difficult to hit for the very best ball-strikers, interestingly getting the ball close to the hole is the real difficulty of the course. Proximity to Hole rankings of 2nd to 10th in terms of difficulty rank on the PGA Tour since the Weiskopf work highlight the fact that putters find it very difficult to be able to make the difference with their short game.

The course is scoreable, but when it’s played as it was intended in terms of fairway/green speeds, this tournament never features scoring like we see at PGA West for the reasons listed above. Throw in the fact that scrambling is relatively easy here and it’s clear that big hitting ball-strikers, who can consistently hit greens, have a real advantage here in the thinner air, especially when they can attack a set of par-5s which read 558, 558 and 553 yards on the scorecard, at altitude.

waste management phoenix open tips

Winners: 2021: Brooks Koepka (-19); 2020: Webb Simpson (-17); 2019: Rickie Fowler (-17); 2018: Gary Woodland (-18); 2017: Hideki Matsuyama (-17); 2016: Hideki Matsuyama (-14); 2015: Brooks Koepka (-15); 2014: Kevin Stadler (-16); 2013: Phil Mickelson (-23); 2012: Kyle Stanley (-15); 2011: Mark Wilson (-18); 2010: Hunter Mahan (-16).

Cut Line: 2021: -3; 2020: -1; 2019: -1; 2018: -1; 2017: -1.

Lead Score Progression:

  • 2021: Round 1 -8; Round 2 -12; Round 3 -18; Round 4 -19.
  • 2020: Round 1 -10; Round 2 -13; Round 3 -16; Round 4 -17.
  • 2019: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -13; Round 3 -20; Round 4 -17.
  • 2018: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -10; Round 3 -14; Round 4 -18.
  • 2017: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -10; Round 3 -16; Round 4 -17.

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats.

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here.

You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Viktor Hovland, Russell Henley, Luke List, Russell Knox, Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler and Hideki Matsuyama.

Tournament Winners & Prices: 2021: Koepka 50/1; 2020: Simpson 14/1; 2019: Fowler 22/1; 2018: Woodland 50/1; 2017: Matsuyama 11/1; 2016: Matsuyama 28/1; 2015: Koepka 40/1; 2014: Stadler 125/1; 2013: Mickelson 25/1; 2012: Stanley 66/1; 2011: Wilson 80/1; 2010: Mahan 66/1. Past 8 Renewals Average: 43/1; Overall Average: 48/1.

For a full summary of winner’s odds on the PGA Tour since 2010 click here.

Historical Weather:

  • 2021: Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 70. Wind W 6-12 mph. Friday: Sunny with a high of 70. Wind W 6-12 mph. Saturday: Sunny with a high of 72. Wind W 4-8 mph. Sunday: Sunny with a high of 73. Wind SW 4-8 mph.
  • 2020: Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 73. Wind S 5-10 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 72. Wind W 3-6 mph. Saturday: Sunny, with a high of 76. Wind S 4-8 mph. Sunday: Sunny, with a high of 76. Wind S 6-12 mph.
  • 2019: Thursday: Mostly sunny. High of 73. Wind S 5-10 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 71. Wind S 5-10 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy. High of 67. Wind S 6-12 mph. Sunday: Cloudy with light rain. High of 63. Wind SW 5-10 mph.
  • 2018: Thursday: Sunny, with a high of 80. Wind NW 5-10 mph. Friday: Sunny, with a high of 80. Wind SW 4-8 mph. Saturday: Sunny, with a high of 80. Wind SW 5-10 mph. Sunday: Sunny, with a high of 80. Wind SW 4-8 mph.
  • 2017: Thursday: Sunny, with a high of 67. Wind NW 7-12 mph. Friday: Round one resumed at 8 a.m. and concluded at 8:28 a.m. Sunny, with a high in the low-70s. Wind NW 8-12 mph. Saturday: Sunny, with a high of 74. Wind light and variable 5-7 mph. Sunday: Sunny, with a high of 76. Wind SW 4-8 mph.
  • 2016: Thursday: Sunny, with a high of 67 degrees. Wind NE 5-10 mph. Friday: Sunny, with a high of 64 degrees. Wind NE 5-10 mph Saturday: Sunny, with a high of 77 degrees. Wind SW 4-8 mph. Sunday: Sunny, with a high of 78 degrees. Wind SW 4-8 mph.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Scottsdale, Arizona is here.

I’m expecting warmer conditions than 2021, with the whole tournament week set to be rain-free. Temperatures of 24 and 21 degrees Celsius look set for the opening 2 days, with gusts up to 15 mph for the later starters helping the morning wave.

Saturday looks fascinating – as a front passes through. Temperatures fall to 17 degrees Celsius, with north-easterly winds gusting 20-25 mph throughout. Lighter breeze and the associated rise in temperature will see better scoring on Sunday.

With little rain in the area in 2022, I would expect tournament organisers to have the course exactly where they want it, so we may well see firm fairways with plenty of roll and potentially releasing greens by on Sunday.

Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Portugal Masters which includes both PGA Tour and DP World Tour events. Players’ rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Jon Rahm; 2) Viktor Hovland; 3) Patrick Cantlay; 4) Luke List; 5) Austin Eckroat; 6) Hideki Matsuyama / Adam Scott; 8) Xander Schauffele; 9) Keith Mitchell; 10) Joel Dahmen; 11) Daniel Berger; 12) Troy Merritt; 13) Si Woo Kim; 14) Abraham Ancer; 15) Sam Burns; 16) Tony Finau; 17) Russell Henley; 18) Chris Kirk; 19) Billy Horschel / Charles Howell III; 21) Keegan Bradley; 22) Garrick Higgo / Brendan Steele; 24) Kevin Kisner / Jordan Spieth.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Viktor Hovland; 2) K.H. Lee; 3) Hideki Matsuyama / Justin Thomas; 5) Jon Rahm; 6) Daniel Berger; 7) Keegan Bradley / Luke List; 9) Matthew Fitzpatrick / Martin Laird; 11) Russell Henley; 12) Lucas Herbert; 13) Corey Conners; 14) Tony Finau / Talor Gooch / Russell Knox / Hudson Swafford; 18) Abraham Ancer; 19) Nick Taylor; 20) Tom Hoge; 21) Chez Reavie; 22) Jordan Spieth; 23) Troy Merritt / Scottie Scheffler; 25) James Hahn / Pat Perez.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Kevin Streelman; 2) Lucas Herbert; 3) Hideki Matsuyama; 4) Billy Horschel / Luke List; 6) Matt Fitzpatrick; 7) Daniel Berger / Matt Jones / Xander Schauffele; 10) Doug Ghim / Charles Howell III / K.H. Lee; 13) Sam Burns; 14) Patrick Cantlay / Si Woo Kim / Chris Kirk / Taylor Moore / Pat Perez; 19) Brendon Todd; 20) C.T. Pan; 21) Luke Donald / Sebastian Munoz; 23) Cam Davis / Denny McCarthy / Scottie Scheffler.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Luke List / Hideki Matsuyama; 3) Viktor Hovland; 4) Daniel Berger; 5) Charles Howell III / Jon Rahm; 7) Keegan Bradley; 8) Russell Henley; 9) Matt Fitzpatrick; 10) Lucas Herbert; 11) K.H. Lee; 12) Abraham Ancer / Tom Hoge / Xander Schauffele / Scottie Scheffler; 16) Russell Knox / Adam Scott; 18) Keith Mitchell / Nick Taylor; 20) Si Woo Kim / Chris Kirk; 22) James Hahn; 23) Corey Conners / Tony Finau; 25) Troy Merritt.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Wesley Bryan; 2) Matt Fitzpatrick / Mito Pereira 4) Billy Horschel / Xander Schauffele; 6) Lucas Herbert / Jon Rahm; 8) Harris English; 9) Denny McCarthy; 10) Daniel Berger; 11) Viktor Hovland / Brooks Koepka; 13) Jason Dufner; 14) Garrick Higgo / Kevin Tway; 16) Matt Kuchar / Justin Thomas; 18) Patrick Cantlay / Brian Gay / Andrew Putnam; 21) Kelly Kraft; 22) Sam Burns; 23) Louis Oosthuizen / Rory Sabbatini / J.J. Spaun.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Matt Fitzpatrick; 2) Daniel Berger; 3) Viktor Hovland / Jon Rahm; 5) Luke List / Hideki Matsuyama; 7) Russell Henley; 8) Xander Schauffele; 9) Lucas Herbert; 10) Wesley Bryan; 11) Denny McCarthy; 12) Patrick Cantlay / Billy Horschel; 14) Charles Howell III / Scottie Scheffler; 16) Justin Thomas; 17) Keith Mitchell; 18) Si Woo Kim / Nick Taylor; 20) Mito Pereira / J.J. Spaun; 22) K.H. Lee; 23) Tom Hoge / Adam Scott; 25) Andrew Putnam.

For a summary of the Strokes Gained Performances from this week’s field here at TPC Scottsdale since 2016 click here.

Strokes Gained Tournament Trends: Analysing the Strokes Gained final stats of the WM Phoenix Open winners since 2016 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:

  • 2021, Brooks Koepka (-19). SG Off the Tee: 11th, SG Approach: 2nd, SG Around the Green: 32nd, SG Tee to Green: 2nd, SG Putting: 18th.
  • 2020, Webb Simpson (-17). SG Off the Tee: 19th, SG Approach: 1st, SG Around the Green: 11th, SG Tee to Green: 2nd, SG Putting: 12th.
  • 2019, Rickie Fowler (-17). SG Off the Tee: 3rd, SG Approach: 17th, SG Around the Green: 68th, SG Tee to Green: 19th, SG Putting: 1st.
  • 2018, Gary Woodland (-18). SG Off the Tee: 12th, SG Approach: 2nd, SG Around the Green: 32nd, SG Tee to Green: 2nd, SG Putting: 16th.
  • 2017, Hideki Matsuyama (-17). SG Off the Tee: 9th, SG Approach: 1st, SG Around the Green: 29th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 47th.
  • 2016, Hideki Matsuyama (-14). SG Off the Tee: 10th, SG Approach: 4th, SG Around the Green: 9th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 29th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Skill Averages:

  • SG Off the Tee: 11th, SG Approach: 5th, SG Around the Green: 30th, SG Tee to Green: 5th, SG Putting: 21st.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of the 7 winners of the WM Phoenix Open since the course re-design in 2014 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:

  • 2021, Brooks Koepka (-19). 321 yards (6th), 62.5% fairways (27th), 86.1% greens in regulation (1st), 33’2″ proximity to hole (5th), 50.0 % scrambling (50th), 1.69 putts per GIR (10th).
  • 2020, Webb Simpson (-17). 307 yards (44th), 71.4% fairways (3rd), 77.8% greens in regulation (6th), 35’4″ proximity to hole (7th), 68.8 % scrambling (14th), 1.66 putts per GIR (5th).
  • 2019,  Rickie Fowler (-17). 310 yards (11th), 69.6% fairways (3rd), 72.2% greens in regulation (13th), 39’11” proximity to hole (42nd), 75.0 % scrambling (6th), 1.59 putts per GIR (11th).
  • 2018, Gary Woodland (-18). 318 yards (8th), 60.7% fairways (19th), 77.8% greens in regulation (4th), 34’11” proximity to hole (6th), 68.8 % scrambling (25th), 1.71 putts per GIR (10th).
  • 2017, Hideki Matsuyama (-17). 311 yards (20th), 66.1% fairways (6th), 80.6% greens in regulation (2nd), 32’11” proximity to hole (3rd), 71.4 % scrambling (12th), 1.74 putts per GIR (26th).
  • 2016, Hideki Matsuyama (-14). 296 yards (36th), 55.4% fairways (44th), 77.8% greens in regulation (1st), 35’10” proximity to hole (7th), 68.6 % scrambling (16th), 1.75 putts per GIR (32nd).
  • 2015, Brooks Koepka (-15). 310 yards (3rd), 58.9% fairways (47th), 75.0% greens in regulation (4th), 35’2″ proximity to hole (10th), 83.3 % scrambling (2nd), 1.69 putts per GIR (11th).

Traditional Skill Set Averages:

  • Driving Distance: 18th, Driving Accuracy: 21st, Greens in Regulation: 4th, Proximity to Hole: 11th, Scrambling: 18th, Putting Average 15th.

Let’s take a view from players as to how the TPC Scottsdale sets up and what skill sets the course favours:

Brooks Koepka (2021): “I need the mojo. I need the energy. You make a birdie, all right, there is a little bit of excitement. You know, bogey, there is a little bit of embarrassment. All right, let’s correct it real quick. It hasn’t been that way. It’s been very flat and ho-hum.”

“I always thought I had a chance. I felt like the front nine I was just hanging in there. I think 2 kind of woke me up a little bit on 3 three, helped me there. I think on 12, Ricky said something to me about, We’re right there. We just need a little bit of momentum or a putt to go or way. Never know what’s going to happen. I thought if I got a good tee shot away on 13 I thought I was going to have a chance. Hit a great shot in there and just left the putt short. I think that tee box got me going. I saw where everybody was. There was a leaderboard. I didn’t really pay attention from when I left 9 until I got to the green on 12. I thought the lead was just going to keep going. I didn’t realize, James (Hahn) had I think a two-shot lead at that point over everybody else. I just figured if I could get somewhat close to James I might have a chance, you know, being par-5s, being able to hit it far. 17 was a good chance. I mean, I don’t know, I thrive on 16. Just the atmosphere. I love that, so I like my chances even though I was well back. I never felt out of it.”

Webb Simpson (2020): “The golf course has gotten more firm every day, so it’s going to be challenging tomorrow, but guys I think are still looking at it as plenty of birdie opportunities. This course is playing shorter so we’re having shorter clubs in, even though the greens are more firm. But, yeah, I mean I didn’t think today teeing it up that I was going to go try to shoot 6- or 7-under. As boring as it sounds, all I really focus on is the first shot and you try to attack when you can attack and then the tougher holes you try to make par. And then you get hot for two days like I have and shoot 15-under and give myself a chance and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

I compartmentalize everything. So if I got a sand wedge in my hand I’m going to be going right at it. If I got an 8-iron or 7-iron a little more conservative. If I need to adjust on the last few holes, I will, but the last two days I let the birdies come to me and it’s hard in this game when you try to force it. But there’s plenty of birdie holes, like I said, so if I keep playing solid there’s great opportunities for tomorrow.”

Rickie Fowler (2019): “I enjoyed it. I think the start getting off 10 and 11, hitting two good 3-woods in play, just nice solid ball flights, started where I wanted to, fell a little right. So it was great to get off to kind of a positive start. Obviously then was able to birdie 12, eagle 13. But I think 10 and 11’s tough to start on early in the morning, so it was nice to get that out of the way, you kind of get off heading the right direction and really just tried to play within myself, not try to do anything special, still working on some stuff on the swing and the last few weeks and trying not to focus too much of that on the golf course, just go play and still getting used to the golf ball as well. So I’m happy with where we’re at and where we’re heading.”

On 18 today I was trying to stay, I was actually trying to stay right of it, just with where the pin was and I toed it really bad. Yeah, I would say the, you know, last year it was out of play, but maybe not by much. Now it’s, I mean the water is completely out of play, I don’t have to think about that, but — I can’t go on Cameron Champ’s line, but I can get kind of the right half of the bunker. Yesterday was a good one; I think it maybe flew around 325 or 330. And the ball does go further here, but I’m happy about that with — I’m not very big, so, yeah, I would say right now not necessarily here because like I said the ball goes further, it used to be where the bunker at 290 if I hit one good I didn’t have to worry about, now I don’t have to worry about carrying it at 300.”

Gary Woodland (2018): “I put a lot of work in this off season. I mean obviously I knew what has been going on in the last couple years, short game, needed some adjustment; I spent some time with Pete Cowen. Pete really got me to where I have confidence in my short game and that allowed me to be more aggressive and let Butch and I do what we do. And play aggressive off the tee, play aggressive with the irons and attack from there. It’s been a big difference

Jordan Spieth: “Yeah, I’ll play the 17th aggressively. I’ll try and knock it on the green. If I get out of position, you can always make par unless you hit it obviously in the water. You can still make par from there. They get that pin way in the back in that little sliver, and I’ll probably still try and hit driver up the green. If it goes offline and I can’t get next to the hole, then you hit it to about 20 feet and two-putt and don’t do anything more. I saw quite a few shots in my experience last time, including my own, and I think I made par to that hole by playing conservatively, and that’s fine. I think if you play the hole 2-under for the week, you’ve done a good job. So it will be a good test this week. These greens are very pure. If you’re putting well, you can really putt well out here. It’s not Poa annua.

Hideki Matsuyama: “Before the re-design or the changes, I thought it was an easier course than it is now. I mean, the 2nd hole and the 14th hole have really put some bite into this course, and those are two difficult holes right now where before they weren’t that difficult.

Brooks Koepka: “15, 16, 17 is just I think an unbelievable finish. There is so much risk reward, like you said. And if you hit a couple of quality golf shots, you can really make a move, whereas, you know, the opposite, you hit one bad one, and you can run up a number pretty quick. Luckily I was able to pull some shots off.

Phil Mickelson: “I think, for the most part, they’re very well done. The first year you always have to cut some slack because the greens are firm and unreceptive because the roots haven’t had a chance to grow in. You want to cut it some slack the first year. But I think it looks really good. Surprisingly, the greens are putting very true and in wonderful shape. I was pleasantly surprised. In terms of new bunkering, I thought it was strategic and well-placed in a lot of holes. I have always liked Weiskopf’s stuff. He has great strategy from a player’s standpoint. Really not too much was done differently other than three or four holes; otherwise, very similar throughout.

Bubba Watson: “It’s just a different mindset, I mean, when you’re adding length to a golf course you still have to hit driver. But it’s funny to me how they add length and then shorten the landing zone. They make it skinnier. They don’t want you to hit it any farther but they want to stretch the course out. It’s funny to me. It makes this golf course a lot different and tougher. Today I hit my driver nicely. I think I missed two fairways, which is pretty good for me. G30 worked out today. But, yeah, for me today it was about the driver. Around this golf course my driver stays in play. My irons are pretty decent. So now it’s a driving golf course. There are a couple things they could tweak here and there. It’s about 85 to 80% perfect the way they changed it, but there are a couple of little things. Nothing major, though. It doesn’t change the outcome of the score if you changed them, but just the way it looks.

Ryan Palmer: “In the past it’s been better for me, I think, because there is a lot of shots that, a lot of draw ball tee shots. A lot of greens set up for me, as well, depending on where the pin is obviously. I was able to kind of attack the golf course with the length I have. From what it is now to what it used to be, it’s definitely longer, for sure. I used to hit a lot of wedges, sand wedges, and we are not doing that anymore. But I like what they did from tee to green. They did a lot of good things. There are a few greens that I’m sure if you ask a lot of players they weren’t very pleased about, but overall I think they did a really good job with it. It’s in perfect shape, for sure. Greens are rolling pretty pure, of course with the bounces they are getting. Overall I think they did a good job.”

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the last 12 WM Phoenix Open winners:

  • 2021 – Brooks Koepka: Round 1: 21st, Round 2: 8th, Round 3: 7th.
  • 2020 – Webb Simpson: Round 1: 66th, Round 2: 8th, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2019 – Rickie Fowler: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2018 – Gary Woodland: Round 1: 7th, Round 2: 8th, Round 3: 8th.
  • 2017 – Hideki Matsuyama: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2: 3rd, Round 3: 3rd.
  • 2016 – Hideki Matsuyama: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 4th.
  • 2015 – Brooks Koepka: Round 1: 64th, Round 2: 20th, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2014 – Kevin Stadler: Round 1: 3rd, Round 2: 5th, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2013 – Phil Mickelson: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2012 – Kyle Stanley: Round 1: 33rd, Round 2: 5th, Round 3: 5th.
  • 2011 – Mark Wilson: Round 1: 3rd, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2010 – Hunter Mahan: Round 1: 29th, Round 2 54th, Round 3: 6th.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the last 12 WM Phoenix Open winners and where they were positioned in terms of shots from the lead during the tournament:

  • 2021 – Brooks Koepka: Round 1: 5 back, Round 2: 4 back, Round 3: 5 back.
  • 2020 – Webb Simpson: Round 1: 10 back, Round 2: 5 back, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2019 – Rickie Fowler: Round 1: Level, Round 2: 1 ahead, Round 3: 4 ahead.
  • 2018 – Gary Woodland: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2017 – Hideki Matsuyama: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2016 – Hideki Matsuyama: Round 1: Level, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2015 – Brooks Koepka: Round 1: 7 back, Round 2: 7 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2014 – Kevin Stadler: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2013 – Phil Mickelson: Round 1: 4 ahead, Round 2: 4 ahead, Round 3: 6 ahead.
  • 2012 – Kyle Stanley: Round 1: 5 back, Round 2: 7 back, Round 3: 8 back.
  • 2011 – Mark Wilson: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2010 – Hunter Mahan: Round 1: 6 back, Round 2: 7 back, Round 3: 4 back.

Form of WM Phoenix winners since 2010:

  • Brooks Koepka: MC Torrey/MC PGA West/MC Mayakoba/7th Augusta.
  • Webb Simpson: 3rd Waialae/10th World Challenge/2nd RSM Classic/7th Shriners.
  • Rickie Fowler: 66th Torrey/5th World Challenge/16th Mayakoba/4th Shriners.
  • Gary Woodland: 12th Torrey/7th Waialae/3rd Shark Shootout/34th OHL Classic.
  • Hideki Matsuyama: 33rd Torrey/27th Waialae/2nd Kapalua/1st World Challenge.
  • Hideki Matsuyama: MC Torrey/17th World Challenge/2nd Dunlop Phoenix/WD HSBC.
  • Brooks Koepka: 19th Nedbank/42nd DP World Tour/1st Turkey/48th BMW Masters.
  • Kevin Stadler: 78th PGA West/12th OHL Classic/10th McGladrey/19th CIMB.
  • Phil Mickelson: 51st Torrey/37th PGA West/13th Singapore/2nd Mission Hills.
  • Kyle Stanley: 2nd Torrey/MC PGA West/23rd Waialae/11th Aus Open.
  • Mark Wilson: MC PGA West/1st Waialae/6th Disney/22nd Shriners.

First Round Leader Analysis: First round leader(s), their group and winning score since 2010. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

  • 2021 – Hubbard / NeSmith Both AM -8/63 – 160/1 & 150/1.
  • 2020 – Clark PM -10/61 – 150/1
  • 2019 – Fowler / Thomas / Varner III – 2AM/1PM Split  -7/64 – 35/1, 22/1 & 100/1.
  • 2018 – Haas PM -7/64 – 150/1
  • 2017 – Kuchar PM -7/64 – 70/1
  • 2016 – Fowler / Lowry / Matsuyama – 2AM/1PM Split -6/65.
  • 2015 – Palmer – PM -7/64.
  • 2014 – Watson / Yang – AM/PM Split -7/64.
  • 2013 – Mickelson – AM -11/60.
  • 2012 – Dufner / Palmer – Both PM -7/64.
  • 2011 – Gainey – PM -8/63.
  • 2010 – Villegas – AM -9/62.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of altitude golf courses on the PGA Tour since 2017, with players in the field this week. TPC Scottsdale course history is available via this Tournament Form link:

2017:

  • Chapultepec: Winner: Dustin Johnson; EW Places: Rahm, Thomas.
  • Old White: Winner: Xander Schauffele; EW Places: Streb, Munoz, Henley, Finau, Kraft.
  • Montreux: Winner: Chris Stroud; EW Places: Werenski, Hoge.
  • Nine Bridges: Winner: Justin Thomas; EW Places: List, Harman.
  • TPC Summerlin: Patrick Cantlay; EW Places: Hadley, Poston, Kizzire, Hoge.

2018:

  • Chapultepec: Winner: Phil Mickelson; EW Places: Thomas, Harman.
  • Old White: Winner: Kevin Na; EW Places: Kraft, Kokrak, Snedeker, Dahmen, Varner III.
  • Montreux: Winner: Andrew Putnam; EW Places: Spaun, McGirt.
  • Nine Bridges: Brooks Koepka; EW Places: Woodland, Piercy, Reavie.
  • TPC Summerlin: Bryson DeChambeau; EW Places: Ryder, Ancer, Fowler, Streb, Hadley, Glover.

2019:

  • Chapultepec: Winner: Dustin Johnson; EW Places: Thomas (9th).
  • Montreux: Winner: Collin Morikawa; EW Places: Merritt, Streb, Hoge, Laird, Sloan.
  • Old White: Winner: Joaquin Niemann; EW Places: Hoge, Harman, Lashley, Werenski, Munoz, Scheffler.
  • TPC Summerlin: Winner Kevin Na; EW Places: Hadwin, Stuard, Gay, Simpson.
  • Nine Bridges: Winner Justin Thomas; EW Places: Danny Lee, Matsuyama, Woodland.

2020:

  • Chapultepec: Winner: Patrick Reed; EW Places: Rahm, Matsuyama, Thomas.
  • Old Greenwood: Winner: Richy Werenski; EW Places: Merritt, Stallings, Streb, McNealy, Wise.
  • TPC Summerlin: Winner Martin Laird; EW Places: Wolff, Ancer, Hahn, Si Woo Kim, NeSmith.
  • Shadow Creek: Winner Jason Kokrak; EW Places: Schauffele, Henley, Gooch, Griffin, Watson.

2021:

  • Old Greenwood: Winner: Erik van Rooyen; EW Places: Putnam, Piercy, Schenk, Hagy, Sloan, Dahmen, Woodland.
  • TPC Summerlin: Winner Sungjae Im; EW Places: Wolff, Sabbatini, Schenk, Griffin, Hadwin, Buckley, Wise.
  • Summit Club: Winner Rory McIlroy; EW Places: Fowler, Mitchell, Burns, Gooch, Wise.

So what’s the recipe for success this week? Well key player attributes rewarded here undoubtedly include driving distance (although Webb Simpson showed that it’s not 100% essential), high-class ball-striking and an aggressive Going for the Green percentage. Players who can hit the ball consistently well thrive on Weiskopf’s design which features relatively large and flat green complexes.The re-laid greens themselves are quite tricky as they feature a TifEagle Bermudagrass base which has been overseeded with Poa Trivialis. All winners here since 2010 have featured in the top 13 for Greens in Regulation and I can’t see that changing in 2022. For course form buffs course experience is not essential here as both Kyle Stanley and Brooks Koepka won on their course debut.

Looking at the incoming form of recent winners, Brooks Koepka had missed the cut at both of his 2021 outings, namely PGA West and Torrey Pines. His play in the autumn of 2020 has been better though with 7th at Augusta National and 5th at Houston, prior to a missed cut at El Camaleon. His 50/1 price for a 4-time Major champion and previous TPC Scottsdale winner (2015), had plenty of punters backing his ceiling.

Webb Simpson was on fire and went off at 14/1. A PGA Tour form-line of 3rd at Waialae on calendar debut, 2nd at Sea Island and 7th last time he visited the desert at TPC Summerlin, saw him go off as the 3rd favourite in the betting. Rickie Fowler in 2019 had played once in the year prior to arriving in Scottsdale, finishing 66th at Torrey Pines the week before. 2018 had ended with a 5th at Tiger’s Hero World Challenge and 4th at TPC Summerlin.

Gary Woodland in 2018 had gone backwards when contending at Torrey Pines the week before. However an eventual 12th at Torrey was preceded by 7th at Waialae. Hideki Matsuyama in 2017 had finished 33rd at Torrey Pines and 27th at Waialae prior to arriving in Arizona, allowing his odds to grow to 11/1. Prior to that 4 wins and 2 runner-up positions including season-opener Kapalua had made him the hottest player on the planet. 2016 had seen him miss the cut at Torrey Pines on his 2016 debut, but 2nd at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan and 5th at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur at the latter end of 2015 had shown promise in low-scoring events.

Brooks Koepka had started the 2014/15 PGA Tour season strongly with 8th at Silverado and 4th at TPC Summerlin followed by his first main Tour career victory at the star-studded Turkish Airlines Open on the European Tour. This was his calendar debut. In 2014, ‘Baby Walrus’ Kevin Stadler had shaken the rust off at PGA West (78th) after a strong close to 2013 which included 4th at TPC Boston, 19th at Kuala Lumpur, 10th at Sea Island and 12th at El Camaleon.

My selections are as follows:

 

My Final Waste Management Phoenix Open tips are as follows:

Hideki Matsuyama 2.5pts EW 18/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfred

I remember Mark Wilson in 2011 winning the Sony Open and then winning this the following month. Webb Simpson was 3rd at the Sony Open, before arriving here in 2020 and winning at 14/1. It’s hardly a prerequisite for victory – as Brooks Koepka showed 12 months ago – but good results in the golf year prior to arriving here is a feature of a number of Phoenix Open winners including Gary Woodland, Hideki Matsuyama, Kyle Stanley and Kenny Perry.

I’ve won this with Hideki Matsuyama in the past and I love his chances again in 2022. A 2-time winner in his past 4 PGA Tour starts at the Sony Open and the ZOZO Championship, Hideki has always been the sort to follow when confident and TPC Scottsdale could have been made for the reigning Masters champion. 4th (2014), 2nd (2015), 1st (2016), 1st (2017), 15th (2019) and 16th (2020) tell you all you need to know about the World Number 10 here in Arizona.

8th (Tournament of Champions), 5th (Sony Open) and 15th (Farmers Insurance Open) for Strokes Gained Tee to Green across his last 3 recorded performances, Hideki’s driving has been back to its pomp after a long period of serious inconsistency and inaccuracy. Straight and long has always worked around the Scottsdale’s Stadium Course and the 29 year-old Japanese No.1 has ranked 8th and 1st for Total Driving across Waialae and Torrey Pines.

With a career-best putting performance just one tournament in the rear view mirror, Hideki must be looking forward to putting on these TifEagle Bermudagrass overseeded with Poa Trivialis greens that he knows so well. And he arrives here after finishing 30th last time out at Torrey Pines, where he shot a -4/68 on Sunday, which was T7 best round of the day. RESULT: T8

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Scottie Scheffler 1.5pts EW 30/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Of the Tour maidens in this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open field, Scottie Scheffler has to be close to the top of the list when it comes to most likely breakthrough winner in 2022.

I can remember Scottie arriving on the PGA Tour back in September 2019, after being the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour player of the year, at the Greenbrier Classic. Played at altitude in West Virginia, Scheffler shot 65/62 and announced himself to the general golf betting public by co-leading with Joaquin Niemann going into the weekend. The Chilean went on to win his maiden Tour victory that week, with Scottie eventually finishing 7th, but the Dallas, Texas resident undoubtedly made a statement.

4th at the 2020 PGA Championship, runner-up at the 2021 WGC Matchplay, 7th at the 2021 U.S. Open and 8th at the 2021 Open Championship, Scheffler can mix it with the very best, and has all the relevant tools needed to win at TPC Scottsdale. A long and talented ball striker who can score extremely heavily – take his 59 at TPC Boston in 2020 as an example – Scottie seems to be a great fit for the Phoenix Open. A couple of appearances here have gleaned a MC (2020) and 7th (2021), shooting -6/65 and -5/66 across Friday and Saturday here 12 months ago, playing in the final Sunday group with Schauffele and Spieth.

2 1/2 points from 3 matches including a singles win over Jon Rahm at last year’s Ryder Cup as a rookie highlights a player who has the temperament to handle boisterous crowds, and I like the fact that Scottie has been relatively quiet with 25th at PGA West and 20th at Torrey Pines so far in 2022. The 25 year old topped Greens in Regulation, was 7th for Total Accuracy and was 6th for Ball Striking around the rigours of Torrey Pines South last time out. RESULT: Winner

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Daniel Berger 1.5pts EW 30/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Paddy Power

Daniel Berger is in the field for the WM Phoenix Open this week, and having struggled with a bad back at Torrey Pines, he withdrew from defending at Pebble Beach on the Wednesday morning. Interestingly his name was quickly added to this field and I’m expecting him to be fully fit, with a digit or two added to his odds.

10th (2015), 7th (2017), 11th (2018) and 9th (2020) from 7 TPC Scottsdale visits highlights that the 28 year-old Floridian gets on well here. That makes sense to me as Daniel has always been the sort who excels on short and medium length courses, rather than long tracks. Indeed his 4 wins at TPC Southwind (2016, 2017), Colonial (2020) and Pebble Beach (2021), have all come on courses measuring 7250 yards or less. So the 7,261 yard set-up here at altitude is right in his wheelhouse.

7th at the Hero World Challenge, 5th at the Tournament of Champions and 20th last time out at the Farmers Insurance Open highlights a player who’s confident and it was fascinating to note his Strokes Gained Putting performance on the South Course as +2.759 was his strongest putting metric going back to last year’s Sony Open at Waialae Country Club. He went on to lift the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am trophy 2 appearances later.

In the top 20 for Greens in Regulation, the top 7 for Par Breakers, the top 4 for Strokes Gained on Approach and the top 3 for Strokes Gained Tee to Green so far this season, Berger is a great fit for the Stadium Course set-up this week and the mid-score scoring target likely required will be perfect for him. RESULT: MC

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Russell Henley 1pt EW 50/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Golf Betting System podcast regulars will know I have a strained relationship with Russell Henley. But in this early 2022 day and age when Hideki Matsuyama can top Strokes Gained Putting on Bermudagrass greens on his way to victory and when Luke List can win a maiden PGA Tour title on his 206th attempt, I’m more than happy to chance my arm on the 32 year-old Henley.

All shapes and sizes can be competitive around here and Russell is undoubtedly playing some mega stuff right now. Inbound form of 7(Houston)-22(Sea  Island)-2(Waialae)-14(PGA West) is impressive and you had to feel sorry for Henley at the Sony Open, as he was pipped to the post by Hideki Matsuyama in a play-off. That was the closest Russell has come to winning since the 2017 Houston Open.

Fact is though that the Columbus, Georgia resident is at his career peak from a World Rankings perspective and the short confines of the Stadium Course, will again play to his strengths. 3rd (PGA West) and 8th (Waialae) for Greens in Regulation across his past 2 outings, he also ranked 3rd for Strokes Gained Putting at Waialae and his driving has been impressively longer and straighter in 2022. That will come in handy this week at TPC Scottsdale where he’s had 2 top-16 and 3 top-30 finishes in his last 5 visits. .

Season to date ranks of 2nd for Scoring Average, 15th for Par Breakers, 2nd for Strokes Gained on Approach and 4th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green are reminiscent of Webb Simpson prior to his win here in 2019. It’s also apparent that Henley is playing better than he ever has arriving in Arizona this week.

All 3 of Russell’s PGA Tour victories have come on Bermudagrass-base putting surfaces, with his last coming on very similar Bermuda overseeded with Poa Trivialis greens at the GC of Houston (Redstone as many will remember). A great shout at this price. RESULT: T33

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Keith Mitchell 1pt EW at 90/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Paddy Power

Keith Mitchell is the sort who should theoretically go really well at TPC Scottsdale. He was 16th here in 2020, hitting 3 sub-70 rounds, when arriving with form of MC-MC-32. He was also 12th going into the weekend, so for me he showed an aptitude for the course then. He undoubtedly arrives in better form 2 years later: 7th at the Sony Open when we were on-board at 66/1, last week saw ‘Killer Keith’ finish a career-best 12th at Pebble Beach.

I have had Keith in mind for this since he finished 3rd at the CJ Cup at The Summit Club, Las Vegas, in October. Now The Summit was a desert-located, resort, Par 72 course, which played closer to 7,100 yards due to altitude. The Summit had Bentgrass greens, and yes Keith can undoubtedly perform on all putting surfaces, but factually to this point he’s a bomber who performs best on Bermudagrass greens.

The 2019 Honda Classic winner at PGA National, Keith the week after went on to finish 6th at Bay Hill, a feat he bettered by one position in 2020 when finishing 5th. Both those courses feature TifEagle Bermudagrass. Keith has also played well at the long, classical, Major-hosting Par 71 at Quail Hollow finishing 8th (2019) and 3rd in 2021. That course features Champion Bermudagrass greens. Additional top 10s at TPC Louisiana (4th 2021 teamed with Brandt Snedeker) and Trinity Forest (4th 2018), highlight that the 30 year-old University of Georgia graduate can undoubtedly roll the rock on Bermudagrass no questions asked.

Across my 8-week Strokes Gained tracker in this field, he ranks 9th for Off the Tee, 19th for Tee to Green and 18th for Stokes Gained Total, plus he also ranks 11th in this field for Strokes Gained Total on Short Courses so far in season 2021/22. 3rd for Total Driving and 13th for Greens in Regulation around the AT&T Pebble Pro-Am Beach rota last week, I think Scottsdale and its Bermudagrass base greens will feel much more like home for the St Simons Island resident. RESULT: T10

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:30GMT 7.2.22 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.