Waste Management Phoenix Open Betting Tips
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers.
The Stadium Course, TPC Scottsdale - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - 7,260 Yards, Par 71
The PGA Tour arrives at one of its more raucous annual stops this week as the players pitch up at TPC Scottsdale, 10 miles drive south from the town of Scottsdale in the Sonoran Desert. Designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf back in 1986 before an upgrade in 2014, the Stadium course is one of the best on the Tour, and the fantastic back nine holes is often the backdrop to some of the most enthralling and dramatic golf of the year. Scottsdale is a medium length venue, and at 1500 feet in altitude the ball typically flies some 2-3% further than it would at sea level.
The players drive into undulating bermuda fairways, and there is generally little punishment for missing them by a small margin with the ryegrass rough just two to three inches thick in most places. There are large waste areas littered with bushes which can quickly swallow up the golf ball, so shots that are particularly errant are often suitably punished. The greens are huge in Phoenix. The whole complexes are over 7,000 square feet, and at over 12 on the stimpmeter they are some of the fastest on Tour outside of the Majors. Water is realistically in play on six holes, both from the tee and for the approach shots. The final four holes are particularly dramatic. The 15th is a reachable par 4 with water all down the left hand side and a bail out "safe zone" to the right. The 16th is the signature hole and offers up one of the most intense and dramatic experiences in golf with some 50,000 spectators typically gathered around. The 17th is another driveable par 4 with water around the green, and the 18th has water all up the left side making the drive under pressure particularly difficult. Over the years there have been some huge late swings in the event.
Players that typically succeed at TPC Scottsdale are those that drive the ball well with good par 4 scoring averages. The ability to putt on bermuda greens is also a big help. The form of recent winners coming into the event has typically been quite poor. Course form and high rankings in the above stats is far more important.
Last Five Winners:
The Market Leaders
Jon Rahm (6/1) so nearly claimed his second Farmers Insurance Open last week, but his near perfect back nine was not enough to catch the flawless Marc Leishman. What the tournament was, was another affirmation, if one were needed, that Rahm is on current form the best golfer in the World. Jon's swing is compact to the point of almost being faultless. There is very little margin for error, and that is showing itself in the excellent results that he now achieves week after week. In his four visits to Phoenix, Rahm has never been outside of the top 15 without ever really contending for the title, and at 6/1 he isn't easy to support given his relative lack of worldwide wins. He would need four victories a year in this type of event to justify the price, which is probably exactly what Rahm will achieve in 2020. Jon is a classy player who has the ability to turn up any week at any venue and win, but there will be better opportunities and prices to back him at this year, so for me it is one to leave alone.
Justin Thomas (17/2) takes his own place next in the market having followed a season opening win at Kapalua with a missed cut at the Sony Open. Thomas on paper is a reasonable fit here. His fantastic long iron and fairway wood games are without doubt his strength, and whilst they serve him well on longer tracks, it is less of an advantage for him at a venue like Scottsdale. In his five visits here, Thomas has a couple of missed cuts before finally breaking through with a 3rd placed finish last year where he and the field were simply blown away by Rickie Fowler. I couldn't personally have Thomas at single figures this week. He is without doubt building towards an assault on Augusta in April, and i'm not sure if a win in Phoenix is a high priority on that roadmap.
A bit further down the market we find the likes of Webb Simpson (14/1) who, although talented and well suited to Phoenix is massively under priced, and easy to look over. Hideki Matsuyama (16/1) won here back to back in 2016 and 2017 and arguably has the best course form in the whole field. Hideki is just a great driver of the ball who putts as well as anybody on bermuda greens. He has started the season slowly, but that doesn't bother me arriving at a venue such as TPC Scottsdale. In this depth of field the price doesn't immediately excite me, but there are far worse bets around than Hideki. Rickie Fowler (16/1) devoured the field last year at a venue that he clearly loves and is very comfortable playing. Of the top five in the market, he provides the stand out value for me.
Rob’s Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tip
Rickie Fowler has a record like no other at TPC Scottsdale having 2nd, 4th and 11th in the three seasons before he finally got his win here last season. Rickie is a fairly local guy, and has built up a fantastic affinity with the exuberant Phoenix galleries over the past ten years through his outgoing and eccentric personality. Not to mention the dress code. Fowler is, however, far more than just an orange shirt, and the World number 11 is playing some seriously good golf at the moment. Rickie achieved three consecutive top 10s before missing the cut last week on an altogether different beast at Torrey Pines. That won't be a bad break for Fowler coming into this week rested and with the game to substantially tame the Stadium Course as he did last year.
Twelve months ago, Rickie opened with rounds of 64,65,64 and a final round 74 wasn't enough to prevent him completing a comfortable procession win. Fowler had performed equally poorly the week before at the Northern Trust, finishing outside the top 60 despite making the cut, and he comes in here better placed than 12 months ago. With too much of the top of the market being taken up by the likes of Thomas and Simpson, Fowler is available at a competitive price and I'm happy to throw my eight behind him with 4 points e/w at 16/1.
Other Betting Tips
Bubba Watson suffered his worst year on the PGA Tour in 2019 with a run that saw him fall outside of the World's top 50 and which removed his eligibility to compete in the World Golf Championship events. That seems to have reinvigorated Bubba who started to appear on leaderboards back towards the end of 2019, and he has continued that improved form into 2020 where he achieved a very impressive 6th place at the Farmers Insurance last week, and that could be just the tonic for Bubba as he arrives at one of his favourite stomping grounds. Bubba's record at Scottsdale speaks for itself. He was 4th last year behind Fowler, and has back to back finishes here to his name. Bubba shapes the ball beautifully and enjoys the interaction with the fantastic Phoenix galleries which always seems to give him an edge on the field here. Make no doubt about it, Watson is very much back and I expect a big year from the flamboyant left hander. There is no better place for that to start than in the Arizona desert, and I make him a bet with 2 points e/w at 28/1.
Harris English enjoyed many good years in Phoenix prior to his downturn in form, and the venue remains one that he is most likely to get back into contention at. Last week, English was 5th in strokes gained tee to green, though only managed a finish of 74th, so it is perfectly clear where his demons currently lie. That was on poa annua greens and, on more familiar bermuda putting surfaces, life should become a bit easier for Harris. This week he will be regularly setting up birdie opportunities, and if he can convert as he was towards the end of last year when he notched back to back top 5s in Houston and Mayakoba, then the price will look very big. He is certainly worth 1 point e/w at 125/1.
Following a rolling profit of 463 points in 2019, I am looking for an even better 2020. Each week I will pick between 2 to 4 selections at each event on the European and PGA Tours, and suggest a suitable staking plan.
|European Tour||-31 Points|
|PGA Tour||+84 Points|
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*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
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