2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter at TPC Scottsdale?

2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter at TPC Scottsdale? article feature image
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Steven Ryan/Getty Images. Pictured: Luke List

After a controversial week at Torrey Pines, we head to Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. While the raucous crowd at the famous 16th hole may not be what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, 5,000 fans will be allowed each day.

The 2021 edition of the tournament will provide plenty of intrigue and an excellent field of 132. Rory McIlroy will make his tournament debut after a solid week at Torrey Pines and will be joined by Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka,  Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Daniel Berger, Jason Day, Harris English, Rickie Fowler, Sungjae Im, Hideki Matsuyama, Matthew Wolff and defending champion Webb Simpson.

TPC Scottsdale is a par 71 measuring 7,261 yards and features Bermudagrass greens (although they are much more of a blend rather than pure Bermuda).

We’ve backtested past tournaments at TPC Scottsdale to see which metrics matter this week.

Past Winners at The Waste Management Phoenix Open

  • 2020: Webb Simpson (-17)
  • 2019: Rickie Fowler (-17)
  • 2018: Gary Woodland (-18)
  • 2017: Hideki Matsuyama (-17)
  • 2016: Hideki Matsuyama (-14)
  • 2015: Brooks Koepka (-15)

Let’s take a look at several metrics for TPC Scottsdale to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:

Strokes Gained: Approach

Approach will once again be very important this week. Last year Webb Simpson ranked first in the field in the category en route to a playoff victory over Tony Finau. The greens are relatively flat and pins should be accessible.

Total Strokes Gained: Approach in past 24 rounds:

  1. Russell Henley (+25.6) (+6600)
  2. Keegan Bradley (+25.3) (+20000)
  3. Matthew Wolff (+20,2) (+5000)
  4. Justin Thomas (+18.6) (+750)
  5. Zach Johnson (+18.1) (+9000)

SG: Off the Tee

TPC Scottsdale is not an overly long golf course. As Webb Simpson showed last year distance is not absolutely essential but it is a definite asset. A good combination of distance and accuracy should be the recipe this week, with distance still being a bit more important.

SG: OTT per round in past 24 rounds:

  1. Sam Burns (+23.9) (+8000)
  2. Bubba Watson (+19.3) (+5000) 
  3. Jon Rahm (+18.6) (+600)
  4. Rory McIlroy (+18.4) (+1100)
  5. Scottie Scheffler (+15.9) (+4500)

Strokes Gained: Putting (Firm and Fast)

Greens tend to get really firm and fast in the Arizona desert. Statistically, the greens at TPC Scottsdale have qualified as “firm” and “fast” in every round but one since 2015. The lone round not qualifying was the final round in 2019 due to wet sloppy conditions.

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Strokes Gained: Putting on Firm and Fast greens

  1. Denny McCarthy (+31.7) (+20000)
  2. Matt Kuchar (+24.9) (+10000)
  3. Wyndham Clark (+23.6) (+15000)
  4. Daniel Berger (+22.1) (+1600)
  5. Billy Horschel (+20.2) (+4000)

Greens in Regulation: Gained

Statistics from previous years at TPC Scottsdale that Greens in Regulation: Gained at the course is much more indicative of the winner at this tournament than TOUR average. With many bunkers and firm dry areas around the greens, missing the putting surface can be consequential.

Total Greens in Regulation Gained: Gained in past 24 rounds

  1. Matthew NeSmith (+33.4) (+25000)
  2. Russell Knox (+32.5) (+10000)
  3. Aaron Wise (+27.4) (+15000)
  4. Sam Burns (+27.1) (+8000)
  5. Patrick Rodgers  (+26.3) (+25000)

Opportunities Gained

I am looking for golfers who will get a lot of birdie looks this week. With the winner in the high teens under par on average, birdies will be a requirement.

Opportunities gained: past 24 rounds

  1. Justin Thomas (+32.4) (+750)
  2. Emiliano Grillo (+26.0) (+9000)
  3. Rory McIlroy (+23.8) (+1100)
  4. Chez Reavie (+23.1) (+15000)
  5. Tom Hoge (+22.5) (+25000)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: App (25%), SG:OTT (25%), SG: Putting firm and fast (16.7%), GIR (16.7%) and Opportunities Gained (16.7%).

  1. Sam Burns (+8000)
  2. Jon Rahm (+600)
  3. Bubba Watson (+5000)
  4. Charley Hoffman (+10000)
  5. Brooks Koepka (+5000)
  6. Emiliano Grillo (+9000)
  7. Justin Thomas (+750)
  8. Matthew NeSmith (+25000)
  9. Doc Redman (+20000)
  10. Ryan Palmer (+4000)

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