PGA Expert Picks: Waste Management Phoenix Open
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The 16th hole at the Waste Management Open is known as the "Most Exciting Hole in Golf." By the end of the day on Saturdays it usually looks like one of the most elaborate fratrnity parties ever hosted. You will hear eruptions of applause from fans as golfers take dead aim on this Par 3 to garner the loudest cheer as possible. TPC Scottsdale plays host again to the Waste Management Open in the Arizona desert. The greens are firm and will play fast this weekend. Longer drivers wll have an advantage this week but distance off the tee is not required here like other courses such as Torrey Pines. I would look closer at the better ball strikers that find the fairway and set themselves up for plenty of birdie opportunities. Missing the fairways here could be penal if the ball finds the numerous water hazards or cactus lurking off some of the fairways. You also want to take a look at the leaders in Eagle Opportunities since all three of the Par 5s here are reachable in two and allow opportunities to go low. I will be targeting golfers that have had good recent form, close proximity, can score on Par 4s (some of the most difficult holes on the course are Par 4s that play at 450+ yards), and that can capitalize on opportunities. If you want to look at course correlations then look no further than Quail Hollow and Augusta National.
Course: TPC Scottsdale-- Scottsdale, Arizona
Length: 7,260 yards
Defending Champion: Brooks Koepka
Purse: $8.2 Million
FedEx Cup Points: 500 Points to the Winner
Key Stats: SG OTT, Opportunities Gained, SG Par 4: 450-500, BoB Percentage
Webb Simpson | Outright +3500 (1 Unit)
Webb is a course horse here. He won this tournament in 2020, runner up in 2017, and has three Top 10 finishes here. Webb's irons can get just as hot as his putter and I expect that this week from him. Sure, Webb may not be the same player that he was a couple of years ago but he comes to play at some of these bigger events. I like his odds here with a lot of other big names headlining this event--Webb gets a little lost in the mix here but he has the game to win here at any time despite a sub-par season last year.
Russell Knox | Top 20 +450 (1 Unit)
He let me down last week after making the cut and having plenty of chances to move up the leaderboard. However, I do like his current form and I do like how his game sets up here. His length off the tee won't hurt him this week and his opportunities should translate to plenty of birdies. If he can improve his putting this week then that is just about all he needs to easily post a Top 20 in Scottsdale. He has three Top 20 finishes here already in six attempts.
Keith Mitchell | Outright +12000 (1 Unit), Top 20 +260 (1 Unit)
Keith Mitchell is my dart play this week. He has been playing well this season with a Top 10 finish and a 12th place finish last weekend at Pebble Beach. He ranks 7th in Strokes Gained Off the Tee and he has plenty of distance to capitalize on Par 5s and shorten the longer Par 4s. He has good recent form, long off the tee, good off the tee, and he is going to have a little extra motivation this week since he is not currently not invited to Augusta for The Masters in a couple of months. He is going to need a few good finishes, maybe even a win, in order to make the trp up Magnolia Lane in April.