2022 Waste Management Open Buys & Picks: Viktor Hovland & Jordan Spieth Among 3 Players to Watch
Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Viktor Hovland
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|Harold Varner III||+5000|
|Charles Howell III||+12000|
|Si Woo Kim||+12000|
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am provided a great finish for what is always a bit of a difficult tournament week from a spectator perspective.
Tom Hoge followed Luke List’s lead in capturing his first win after 203 events played on TOUR. He was able to run down Jordan Spieth during the back stretch at Pebble Beach, with clutch birdies on 16 and 17 to cruise to a two-shot victory.
Now, we head to Arizona for Super Bowl weekend and the biggest party in golf at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
This week, for me, is always the kick start to an exciting part of the golf schedule, as some big events will quickly follow. It helps that many of the stars have decided to tee it up at TPC Scottsdale, as three of the top four players in the world are set to play, including Arizona State alum and World No. 1 Jon Rahm.
Viktor Hovland will also make his first appearance on TOUR since the Sentry TOC, and Patrick Cantlay will play for a third consecutive week.
This is always an exciting week of golf, as the stadium atmosphere at the 16th hole takes center stage. It’s a week that is simply like none other during the golf year, as fans are encouraged to be rowdy rather than quiet down.
I love everything about this week, and hopefully we can find a winner as it comes together.
I could start this article with Rahm every week he’s set to play. While this is another week where Rahm makes a ton of sense, I’ll highlight another star ahead of the Phoenix Open.
Hovland has been every bit as good as any other player on the planet over the last 14 months. He has four worldwide wins during that timeframe, with two on the PGA Tour and two more on the newly-named DP World Tour.
Most recently, the Norwegian chased down and beat Rory McIlroy in the final round and defeated Richard Bland in a playoff.
Hovland will need to lean on that recent form this week, as he doesn’t have much tournament history at this event. His only appearance in 2020 resulted in a missed cut, but it’s hard to ding him for that as he’s clearly a different player at this stage of this career.
He has climbed to No. 3 in the world, and while I expect his price to reflect that when odds are released on Monday, he has the skillset we want when shopping for a winner at TPC Scottsdale.
There was a lot of questions about the game and health of Spieth heading into the week at Pebble Beach. He was notably sick during the Farmers, and really had not shown much form at the start of the year.
I identified the AT&T Pro-Am as my litmus test for him because if he didn’t perform there, I thought it would be time to be concerned for his game.
Clearly, those concerns are gone after he put together back-to-back great rounds, which included one of his best rounds on approach of his entire career on Saturday.
Spieth gained 5.31 shots with his irons in the third round, and followed it up with a solid half stroke gained on approach on Sunday. While he wasn’t able to close out the win, he really did everything I wanted to see, and simply got beat down the final stretch of holes.
Jordan will now head back to the site of an event where he was in the final group last year with Xander Schauffele. He would wind up tied for 4th, and post his second Top 10 in his last four trips to this tournament.
I think we will see a similar player show up once again. With the depth of the field, he may be worth a look if we get odds in the low to mid 20s to start the week.
Watson and this time of year are always synonymous. He has consistently played well in this event, with four straight made cuts and two Top 4 finishes in his last three trips to Scottsdale before his favorite event next week at the Genesis.
Now, he has added another top finish to the season with a solo 2nd at the Saudi International over the weekend, which shows he has his game ready for the week.
Bubba is always in play at tracks that fit his eye. He has a unique way of playing golf with the dramatic shot shaping and unique lines he will take, which works best at certain courses.
TPC Scottsdale has definitely been identified as one of those courses, and with him in form, I will have an eye on his opening odds as he looks to capture his first win since 2018.