Waste Management Phoenix Open: Preview

 TPC Scottsdale has hosted this event since 1987.

Hideki Matsuyama has owned it the last two years.

Waste Management Phoenix Open

The Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale

Scottsdale, Arizona

The Stadium Course

Yards: 7,266 per the official scorecard

Par: 71 (35-36)

Greens: TifEagle Bermuda

Rough: Rye, fine fescue and Bermuda at 2.5″

Bunkers: 64

Water Hazards: 3

Course Architect(s): Tom Weiskopf & Jay Morrish (1988); Tom Weiskopf redesign (2014)

Purse: $6.9 million

Winner’s Share: $1.242 million; 500 FedExCup Points

Defending Champion:  Hideki Matsuyama won for the second year in a row in a four-hole playoff. Webb Simpson joined Rickie Fowler on the list of runner-up finishers to Matsuyama.

 

Notes:

  • 132 players; Stroke play; 72 holes; top 70 and ties play the weekend.
  • 83rd edition of the WMPO.
  • Held on this track since 1987.
  • The only hole-in-one on a par four in Tour history happened here (Andrew Magee, Hole No. 17, 2001).

 

History Lessons

2017-18 Winners

Event Winner
Safeway Open Brendan Steele
CIMB Classic Pat Perez
CJ CUP @ 9 BRIDGES Justin Thomas
WGC-HSBC Champions Justin Rose
Sanderson Farms Ryan Armour*
Shriners Patrick Cantlay*
OHL Classic Patton Kizzire*
The RSM Classic Austin Cook*
Sentry TOC Dustin Johnson
Sony Open Patton Kizzire (2)
CB Challenge Jon Rahm
Farmers Insurance Jason Day
   
Total Events: 12 *- First-time winner

 

Previous Champions

Year Golfer Score (Par 71)
2017 Hideki Matsuyama -17*
2016 Hideki Matsuyama -14*
2015 Brooks Koepka -15
Before Weiskopf Renovation
2014 Kevin Stadler -16
2013 Phil Mickelson -28
2012 Kyle Stanley -15
2011 Mark Wilson -18*
2010 Hunter Mahan -16
*Playoff

 

Facts and Figures:

  • Old Tournament Record: 256, Mickelson (2013) and Mark Calcavecchia (2001).
  • Old Course Record: 60, Mickelson (2005, 2013), Calcavecchia (2001) and Grant Waite (1996).
  • New Tournament Record: 267, Matsuyama last year.
  • New Course Record: 63, Matsuyama (2015) and John Peterson (last year)
  • First-time TOUR winners: Stanley, Stadler and Koepka are the most recent.
  • First-time EVENT winners: J.B. Holmes (2006), Stanley and Koepka didn’t need a previous start.
  • Matsuyama, Aaron Baddeley (2007) and Vijay Singh (2003) are the only foreign winners this century.
  • Repeat champions: Ben Hogan, Jimmy Demaret, Lloyd Mangrum, Johnny Miller and now Matsuyama. Some list there!
  • The King, Arnold Palmer went one better and won three in a row, the only player to do so.
  • Last three-time winner on TOUR: Steve Stricker (JDC).
  • Since 1989 only Mark Calcavecchia (3), Mickelson (3), Holmes (2) and Matsuyama (2) have multiple wins here. #BombsAway.
  • Oldest winner: Kenny Perry, 48.
  • Youngest winner: Holmes, 23.

Course Ratings

This is year No. 4 on the redesign. TPC Scottsdale’s greens should be settled in and the yardage books should be full of notes from three previous events. Weiskopf suggested before the first round on the new track that the pros will quickly figure out the “newness”. He wasn’t wrong.

2017:

70.192; -0.808 strokes below par; 33rd most difficult out of 50 played.

2016:

71.030; +0.030 strokes above par; 20th most difficult out of 50 played.

2015:

70.752; -0.248 strokes below par; 22nd most difficult of out 52 played.

Please take time to read The Confidence Factor, linked here, as I get into deeper detail into the course.

There are also plenty of morsels on who has and who hasn’t performed here.

Enjoy!

 

Favorites

in order of preference for this week and this tournament

Hideki Matsuyama: He’s 59-under-par in the four events he’s played here. He’s won twice, finished T2 and T4. His final round last Sunday at Torrey Pines saw him post the lowest score, the best strokes-gained: putting number and the best strokes-gained: total number in the closing round. Take a look at The Confidence Factor for more details on how he’s dominated TPC Scottsdale.

Jordan Spieth: His ball-striking doesn’t get the attention that his mid-range putting does but both will be on display this week. He’s 23-under in two visits, both resulting in top-10 finishes.

Rickie Fowler: I left myself a note after last year that said: FORGET FOWLER AT FIO; LOAD UP AT WMPO. Two of his three top-four finishes have come in the last two years, including a P2 to Matsuyama in 2016. He’s 29-under in those two events.

Jon Rahm: The two rounds he posted on the weekend at Farmers cannot overshadow the handful of really good ones he posted prior. With two wins in his last four plus a second, I’m not sure now is the right time to abandon ship. He makes no secret that he’s VERY comfortable playing desert golf and four years at Arizona State should have him ready to go this week. Yes, he was T5 here as a Sun Devil junior in 2015.

Justin Thomas: He rates in too many categories to get hung up on his past results. The fire should be burning a bit after less-than-stellar title defenses in the Hawaiian Islands. He’s playing with his buddy, Spieth, again so that won’t hurt his mood.

Webb Simpson: After MC at the Masters last spring, Simpson has turned up the heat with 11 top-25 finishes in his last 20 events. He lands this week at a track where he’s finished inside the top 15 in his last five trips dating back to 2011. He closed 65-64 last year to post the clubhouse lead before Matsuyama knocked him off in a playoff.

Daniel Berger: A pair of top-10 finishes in three starts the last three seasons. He ended the season last year 19th in strokes-gained: total and has the full bag at his disposal. He has two wins at TPC Southwind requires a bit of target golf as well.

Ryan Palmer: Thanks to my dude Mal for pointing out I left him out of the original draft. I’m adding him here because he absolutely deserves it with two top-five finishes in the last five tries. He added Torrey Pines to his schedule so that shows you how confident he feels about his life and game. Check my Emergency 9 post from Monday for more details.

Zach Johnson: He must not have enjoyed the previous Morrish-Weiskopf design as he quit playing after the 2010 edition. Since returning to play the new design in 2015, he’s cashed checks for T10, T14 and T12 last year, he is 28-under-par. His worst finish in five starts to the new season is T23 so there’s nothing to worry about here.

Alex Noren: He was a foot away on Monday morning of putting some real pressure on Jason Day at Torrey Pines. P2 isn’t a bad result for never playing that course as a professional! All he did was lead the field in GIR and sat in the top five (South Course only) in strokes-gained: tee-to-green and approach-the-green. That travels folks!

Tony Finau: The test for two schools of thought this week, form vs. course history. My belief is that one does NOT trump the other and both need to be looked at. Some tracks just don’t fit the eye or the game, I get it. My tiebreaker usually leans to course form and why the event is being played. If Finau doesn’t care for this course, he shouldn’t put it on the schedule! He has the ability to pick and choose so I’m sticking with the guy who’s cashed checks for top-10 finishes in four of his last eight worldwide events.

Marc Leishman: He began Sunday last year one shot out of third (-11) but his ice-cold putter saw him fade out of the top 10 after 73. After a win and four other top-10 finishes in his last eight worldwide, I’m not sure if that’s going to happen again.

Matt Kuchar: He began his year in the desert of Abu Dhabi and claimed T32. He’s not going to run into jet lag so he should be raring to go. Last year he graced the top 10 for the first time and didn’t have a warm-up event prior. I’m not any good at math but I have his last MC 21 events ago.

Next Tier

form plays, eye-catchers who make great support staff, not in order

Byeong Hun An: You say Ben An, I say Byeong Hun An…It’s all the same, folks. I have to write his full name out at my other job so I’m trying to form a bad habit. He was one clear after 54 holes last year but perhaps the thought of his first TOUR win got in his head. He finished T6 in Dubai last week so desert golf isn’t the problem.

Ryan Moore: Gamers were bummed out when the Las Vegas resident skipped the Shriners because his record is excellent on that track. Last year was the first year in five he didn’t finish in the top 17 at TPC Scottsdale. Be careful as this is his first start back in 2018!

Cameron Smith: He cashed for his worst finish in eight, worldwide events last week with T20 at Torrey Pines. This streak stretches back to T12 at the Dell Technologies Championship Labor Day weekend.

Brendan Steele: The West Coast is his stomping grounds and the only thing to slow him down at TPC Scottsdale was adding Bermuda on the greens. The Californian rattled off T5, T6 and T6 before the reno and T26, T17 and T16 after. He’s never missed a weekend in seven tries and only has one finish outside the top 26 in that streak. Speaking of streaks, he’s played five events in the new season and his worst finish is T29.

Kyle Stanley: For the second event in a row he didn’t fire in the final round. His 71 at Sony saw him barely hang on to T10 and his 78 last week knocked him well and good out of any big bucks. Those other six rounds interest me just as much as the two poor ones. The 2012 champ also had a tough Sunday in San Diego before winning his first TOUR event here.

Harris English: He also plays well in Memphis at TPC Southwind like Berger and Mickelson, for that matter. He’s posted a pair of top 10’s in his last four tries and has finished T11 and T8 the last two weeks on TOUR.

Russell Knox: He’s flourished when ball-striking is required and this week isn’t much different. He’s reeled off seven paydays in a row and all three in 2018 have been inside the top 30.

Kevin Chappell: It took him five rounds to knock the off-season rust off his game but his last three at CareerBuilder were excellent. He posted 64-67 on the Dye Stadium Course to highlight his 18-under-par closing 54 holes. He’s down here because he’s had just as many bad ones as good ones on THIS track over the last three years.

Francesco Molinari: This is the form vs. class argument. I like that he knocked the rust off during his four rounds last week at Torrey Pines. He hits way too many fairways and GIR to just omit.

Keegan Bradley: Another top five at Torrey Pines and a pair of top 25’s here in the last three years. His strength is tee-to-green and that will work again this week.

Russell Henley: Every time I hear “Bermuda” and “Henley” in the same sentence I tend to get excited. He’d be higher up the list but he’s just MC for the first time in 14 events last time out at Sony, a course he blitzed for his first TOUR win.

Adam Hadwin: If anything, he’s shown that when he enjoys a course, he flourishes. Check his last three finishes at CareerBuilder if you need a reference. This will be his fourth season in a row at TPC Scottsdale and he’s improved each season (MC, T17 and T12). He closed 66-70-66 last year.

Ian Poulter: He checks inside the top 22 in three of the four stat categories in focus this week (see: The Confidence Factor) and is coming off a T6 in Abu Dhabi. Sometimes it just smacks you in the face.

Patton Kizzire: With four of his eight starts going for two wins and two additional top-10 paychecks, I’m wondering what I’m doing sticking him down here. It’s not that I don’t believe that he can keep this up but I don’t think he’s boss in a field as deep as this. He didn’t fire the last time in the desert (T42) and that was after his second win at Sony.

Austin Cook: Each week I try and hide him somewhere in here like Where’s Waldo? His worst finish since winning at The RSM Classic last November is T22. This is a recording. Ctrl-C. Ctrl-V.

Course Horses

You can find all of those in The Confidence Factor.

One gets special mention here, Martin Laird. He led after 36 and 54 holes last year before he went swimming twice on the final holes. His form entering this week is dire, though.

Off the Beaten Path

long shots, cheeky picks, DFS last call, red herrings

Shane Lowry: Went big on him last week and he didn’t see the weekend. If he’s “normal” this week, he shoot shot 10-under-par and be in the top 20 after his rust buster at Torrey Pines.

Peter Uihlein: If it’s top-25-or-bust, he’ll reside down here until he doesn’t. He’s not ranked No. 59 in the OWGR based on reputation but the wild swings of inconsistency push him down here. I love him in every deep format weekly and he’s even better for season-long keeper games.

Ollie Schniederjans: I think of him and Uihlein like G-League or Triple A guys. There are going to be some good days and there are going to be some learning days. I’m going to take my chances weekly WITH THEM but knowing fully that I’m guaranteed nothing. Ahhhhh, youth!

Beau Hossler: He’s in as first alternate. He’s in all of my lineups as he’s been knocking the last two weeks.

Brandon Harkins: With six top-25 checks in his first eight, I’m not sure what the downside is for this 31-year old rookie. The cat is out of the bag, though.

James Hahn: He’s collected cash in his last nine starts. He has four rounds of 67 or better over the last three years here. He also has six rounds of 72 or worse over the last three years here.

Robert Garrigus: Another Memphis dot connected and T8 last week. His ball-striking should go a long way again this week. Now, about that putter…

Michael Kim: Knocked at CareerBuilder. Knocked at Farmers. Knocked here last year as he began the final round in T3. I’m going to be there when he finally breaks par on Sunday!!!

John Oda: Another chance this week via Monday qualification! The former UNLV star should have no problem in another desert.

Tom Hoge: Will he fall victim to the PGATOUR.COM profile jinx? I’m not sure there is one to be fair, but he was third at Sony and T12 last week so there’s something to pay attention to here!

J.J. Spaun: We don’t have much history on the second-year player but we do know that he’s played well at Torrey the last two years and was T9 here last year.

Fades

injured, rusty or not the track this week

Patrick Reed: I’m saving him for Florida and courses where his scrambling skills will come in handy. He’s faded in the sense that I’m not expecting a top 15 finish. He’s made the cut here three times from three chances but T19 is his best finish. #Perspective.

Xander Schauffele: I’m not picking on him but I’m doing it to illustrate a point to newer gamers. Just because he has a high OWGR doesn’t mean he’s an automatic weekly in fantasy golf. I’m also still scratching my head as to why he left Taylor Made for Callaway after his two-win season last year.

Si Woo Kim: He’s never posted a round in the 60’s in six tries here so it’s probably time for him to win. He’s about as maddening to tame as Mickelson so I just get out of the way!

Bill Haas: Woof. This is not going well in the new season after the first week. Time to be officially concerned.

 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter (@MikeGlasscott) or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s