The Waste Management Phoenix Open typically has some of the largest and noisiest crowds on the PGA Tour, so this week’s edition will seem oddly subdued, with only 5,000 fans allowed on the grounds per day.
The course will be familiar, though. TPC Scottsdale is a par 71 measuring just over 7,200 yards, putting an emphasis on short irons, putting, and par-5 scoring. All three par 5s will be reachable for most of the field, and all should have a birdie rate north of 40%. If you don’t take advantage of the par 5s, you will not have a chance to win this week. Only one par 4 at TPC Scottsdale measures less than 420 yards, so we will see a lot of approach shots from the 150-yard range. Once players get to the green, they will find overseeded Bermuda that rolls very purely and at above-average speeds.
Here are a few players who should be comfortable at the Waste Management Phoenix Open:
Daniel Berger $9,600
Berger is the No. 1 overall player in my model this week. He checks all of the boxes, ranking sixth in putting, sixth in birdies, 13th off the tee, 13th in par-5 scoring, and 14th on approach. At TPC Scottsdale, he has finished 11th or better in four of his six starts. His general form has been outstanding recently; he has finished in the top 40 in 19 of his past 20 events.
J.B. Holmes $6,400
Yes, it’s been a while since Holmes has had a great tournament, but he did win the Phoenix Open twice (2006 and 2008), and he has made nine of his past 11 cuts here, including 26th or better in four of the past five years. Granted, he did miss the cut last week, in his first start of 2021. Overall, he has played only four events since the restart in 2020. So his current form is a bit of an unknown. But at this price, the upside is there, and taking Holmes allows you to surround him with top players like Berger.
Rahm has finished 16th or better in all five of his starts at the Phoenix Open, and he has placed seventh or better in seven of his past nine events. He ranks second off the tee, second in birdies, and second in par-5 scoring. There’s a reason he’s the betting favorite this week.
Defending champion Simpson has finished in the top 20 in seven of his past eight appearances at TPC Scottsdale. He arrives in Arizona hitting it well, having finished in the top 20 in nine of his past ten events. This course fits Webb perfectly: he doesn’t need to bomb it, and he can rely on his above-average short-iron play and his elite putting.