When you have The Superbowl to contend with, you might be excused a slight inferiority complex, but the Waste Management Phoenix Open is having none of it. Scottsdale, Arizona welcomes the crème de la crème of the golfing world as the foremost golfers go head-to-head for the right to be crowned ‘champ’.
Last year’s winner Hideki Matsuyama (9/1) vies for favourtism with Jordan Spieth, but a truly stellar field will all be hoping to shine. Can the Japanese star, hoping for a three-peat rise to the occasion, or will we see an outsider claim the title? Our man runs the rule and tries to unearth a couple of diamonds who may just prove their worth come Sunday.
Don't forget, we're offering Six Places for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Favourite: Jordan Spieth / Hideki Matsuyama | 5/1
TOURNAMENT & COURSE OVERVIEW
In world sports, there are some venues that stand head and shoulders above their contemporaries; not always because of facilities, but simply because they have held some of the most iconic sporting moments of all time. Variously described as the 'Greatest Show on Grass', The Waste Management Phoenix Open (now known as 'The Phoenix' as it's hurting my fingers typing so much) is such a tournament. Get ready to be enthralled as we head over to the TPC Scottsdale.
This 71-par, 7,266-yarder was designed by Tom Weiskopf, and Jay Morrish in 1986, the second course, the Champions Course given a revamp when overhauled by Randy Heckenkemper in 2007. The par-three 16th hole "The Coliseum”, is the only fully enclosed hole on the PGA Tour and 20,000 enthusiastic (read rowdy) fans welcome the players as they attack the greens. Hit the sweet spot and you'll be roared home (the cheer that greeted Tiger Woods when he dropped an ace here back in 1997 can still be heard reverberating), but woe betide anyone who misses. It's not known as one of the most daunting holes in world golf for nothing!
Weather: Clouds are being predicted for Thursday and Friday, with Saturday the only clear day of the four. Winds are east, south easterly and around 2-5 mph. Around 60-70c, with humidity between 35-33%, the conditions seem ideal for playing some top-quality golf.
Prize Pool: $6,700,000 - with $1,170,000 up top!
HAVING A NIBBLE WITH BERGER
Any player looking to win their third title on the bounce at an event deserves a special mention, and Waste Management Phoenix Open favourite Hideki Matsuyama is that man. The 25-year-old finished T4 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, and T12 last week at the Farmers. That he knows (and likes) this course is obviously without question, and we’ll dissuade you from taking the 9/1 on offer if that’s your choice. However, we’ll skip the favourite and look a little deeper for our value this time round.*
Over 200,000 fans converge a Scottsdale to watch the Waste Management Phoenix Open, a real achievement when you consider it is on Superbowl weekend. In 2016 201,003 people arrived on a single day, a record for the PGA tour, but not that surprising when you consider the quality of golf Scottsdale demands. There’s the stats ‘n’ facts, but we know you’re only reading for the odds, those figures that mater. So, without further ado, here are our picks:
Firstly, there’s some play in the 29-year-old Rickie Fowler (pictured, left). The Californian lost in a playoff to Matsuyama in 2015 and seems to prefer desert golf. He missed the cut last week, but that extra rest and practice could play in his favour here. A short-priced longshot, but at 16/1 we’ll have a dabble.*
A player who is edging back into contention with us is the 32-year-old Webb Simpson. He was fourth in the Sony Open and 36th at the CareerBuilder. However, he posted a 69 and 66 before falling away with a 72. He recovered slightly with a final round 69, and looks ready for the battle again. He likes this tournament, having been beaten in a play-off by Matsuyama last time out, and has posted T8, T8, T10th, and T14th in his previous starts here. He won’t be everyone’s choice, but at 35/1 there’s a little each-way value there.*
We’re going to tuck into our last pick with relish. The 24-year-old Daniel Berger gets our last nod. True he’s still looking for his first tour win but he’s been close on a couple of occasions, and finished 10th here last time out, ranking seventh for length and 10th for greens. The length here demands accuracy, it’s no point in just being a bomber, and Berger ticks those boxes. He missed the cut at Torrey Pines, but that may not be all that bad. The rest will have done him the world of good and he’ll want to remind people that he’s better than that! 40/1*
Whomever you decide to back, don't forget to follow us on Twitter (@stanjames) as we mark your card with all the latest updates: it's just like being on the fairway yourself!
Please do bet responsibly, and the best of luck!
- 2017 - Hideki Matsuyama
- 2016 - Hideki Matsuyama
- 2015 - Brooks Koepka
- 2014 - Kevin Stadler
- 2013 - Phil Mickelson
- 2012 - Kyle Stanley
Whoever you're backing, don't forget StanJames are offering our famous ACCA Insurance on the Sentry Tournament of Champions
*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.
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