2022 Waste Management Open: 3 Longshot Picks, Headlined By Max Homa & Rickie Fowler
Ben Jared/PGA TOUR. Pictured: Max Homa
Click here for full Waste Management Open odds from BetMGM
|Harold Varner III||+5000|
|Si Woo Kim||+8000|
|Charles Howell III||+10000|
The Waste Management Phoenix Open can be a difficult event to handicap. It’s a consistent stop on TOUR that sees some of the biggest names in the field year after year, but the energy around the event is unlike any other in the golf world.
Giant, rowdy crowds line the fairways and the stadium seating of the Par 3 16th hole. Some golfers relish the chance to play in a buzzing environment, egging the crowds on for more noise and energy. Others shrink away from the moment or even skip the event entirely.
It’s hard to know which side of the line a player will fall on until he’s teed it up at TPC Scottsdale. Once a player has a few trips around this event in their past, however, it can be quite clear which ones have the temperament and the enthusiasm for golf’s party weekend, and which are looking forward to the quiet tranquility of their next event on Tour.
These three players with longer odds to win this weekend have all shown themselves to be quite comfortable in the crazy confines of TPC Scottsdale, and all could be in the mix on Sunday.
Max Homa +6500
This pick may be stretching the definition of long shot, depending on your relationship to risk, but 65-1 outright odds feel long enough to me to highlight Homa’s chances to compete this weekend.
The 31-year-old has delivered a mixed bag of results in the 2021-22 FedEx Cup season, counter-balancing a win and a T15 with two missed cuts and two middle of the pack finishes. That leaves his game in good enough position to like his chances this weekend.
Homa lives in the Phoenix area and has always played well on the West Coast, specifically at TPC Scottsdale. Per DataGolf, among players in this week’s field, no one has gained more strokes per round (min. 10 rounds played) than their expected baseline performance at this venue than Homa.
He is settling into his comfort zone during the PGA Tour’s West Coast swing, ranking seventh in the world in Strokes Gained: Putting over the last 30 days. If he can roll it well this weekend, he’ll be a factor.
Rickie Fowler +7000
It’s dangerous to let narrative seep into your head when you’re fishing for winners on the PGA TOUR, but a Fowler resurgence at TPC Scottsdale feels right and has the numbers to back it up.
This event hosted Fowler’s coming out party back in 2010. In just his second career PGA TOUR event, Fowler earned his way to a playoff. He lost the playoff and finished in second place, but he announced his presence as new face in golf. Since then, he’s always brought his “A” game to Scottsdale each year. He lost in a playoff again in 2016 and finished tied for 4th in 2017 before finally winning the event in 2019.
This was the site of his last victory on Tour as he’s slipped into this abyss of mediocrity recently. If there’s a course and an event that is going to fuel a return to glory for Fowler, it’s this course and this event.
Branden Grace +9000
Of all the players in this week’s field with at least eight rounds under the belt at TPC Scottsdale, none have gained more strokes on the field on average than Grace. The South African has played this event twice and finished in the top 10 both times. In 2020, he fired four rounds of 70 or better and finished in the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Approach for the week.
In 2019, he swung the club maybe better than anyone else in the field, but got bested by a lightning-hot putting week by Fowler.
I’d love to have seen some better recent results before pulling the trigger on Grace in Phoenix, but he has always shown the ability to get hot quickly. His five top 10s and seven missed cuts in 2020 were interwoven throughout the season, with his putter often dictating his hot weeks.
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