2023 WM Phoenix Open Picks, Odds: Justin Thomas, Sungjae Im Among Course Fits

2023 WM Phoenix Open Picks, Odds: Justin Thomas, Sungjae Im Among Course Fits article feature image

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Thomas.

Click arrow to expand the WM Phoenix Open odds via PointsBet
Jon Rahm+750
Rory Mcilroy+850
Scottie Scheffler+1200
Xander Schauffele+1400
Collin Morikawa+1800
Tony Finau+1800
Patrick Cantlay+2000
Sungjae Im+2200
Justin Thomas+2200
Max Homa+2200
Cameron Young+2500
Tom Kim+2800
Viktor Hovland+3000
Hideki Matsuyama+3300
Matt Fitzpatrick+3500
Jordan Spieth+4000

Sahith Theegala+4500
Sam Burns+4500
Taylor Montgomery+6000
Jason Day+6000
Tyrrell Hatton+6000
Rickie Fowler+6000
Alex Noren+6600
Brian Harman+6600
Keith Mitchell+7000
Shane Lowry+7000
Keegan Bradley+7000
Corey Conners+7000
Aaron Wise+8000
Tommy Fleetwood+8000
Russell Henley+8000
Lucas Herbert+9000
Si Woo Kim+9000
Chris Kirk+10000
Brendan Steele+10000
Tom Hoge+11000
Billy Horschel+11000
Seamus Power+11000
K.H. Lee+11000
J.J. Spaun+11000
Maverick Mcnealy+12500
Adam Hadwin+12500
Wyndham Clark+12500
Denny Mccarthy+12500
J.T. Poston+12500

Taylor Pendrith+15000
Brendon Todd+15000
Gary Woodland+15000
Joel Dahmen+15000
Matt Kuchar+15000
Andrew Putnam+17500
Emiliano Grillo+17500
Beau Hossler+17500
Scott Stallings+17500
Kurt Kitayama+17500
Garrick Higgo+20000
Taylor Moore+25000
Davis Riley+25000
Davis Thompson+25000
Jhonattan Vegas+25000
Hayden Buckley+25000
Matthew Nesmith+25000
Francesco Molinari+25000
Christiaan Bezuidenhout+25000

Trey Mullinax+30000
Webb Simpson+30000
Peter Malnati+30000
Aaron Rai+30000
Brandon Wu+30000
Mackenzie Hughes+30000
Patrick Rodgers+30000
Stephan Jaeger+30000
Harris English+30000
Callum Tarren+30000
Cameron Champ+30000
Luke List+30000
Sam Ryder+30000
Russell Knox+30000
Kevin Kisner+30000
Patton Kizzire+35000
David Lipsky+35000
Adam Svensson+35000
Chez Reavie+35000
Ryan Palmer+35000
Martin Laird+35000

Charley Hoffman+40000
Stewart Cink+40000
Doc Redman+40000
Ryan Moore+40000
Matt Wallace+40000
Greyson Sigg+40000
Adam Long+40000
Kevin Streelman+40000
Erik Van Rooyen+40000
Mark Hubbard+40000
Justin Lower+40000
Adam Schenk+40000
Nick Taylor+40000
Nate Lashley+40000
Danny Lee+40000
Lee Hodges+40000
Michael Thompson+50000
Doug Ghim+50000
Dylan Frittelli+50000
Troy Merritt+50000
Lucas Glover+50000
Chesson Hadley+50000
Scott Piercy+50000
Zach Johnson+50000

James Hahn60000
Kevin Tway+60000
Matthias Schwab+60000
Austin Smotherman+60000
Robert Streb+70000
Jimmy Walker+70000
J.B. Holmes+70000
Tyler Duncan+70000
Ricky Barnes+100000
Max Mcgreevy+100000
Kramer Hickok+100000
Chad Ramey+100000
Ryan Brehm+100000
Kelly Kraft+100000
Jim Herman+100000
Brian Gay+100000
Rory Sabbatini+100000
Jason Dufner+100000
Andrew Landry+100000
Richy Werenski+100000
Michael Hopper+100000
Nick Watney+100000
Dalton Ward+100000
Andre Metzger+100000

After a lackluster leaderboard at Pebble Beach saw Justin Rose prevail, it's time to make WM Phoenix Open picks.

Golf fans will be treated to an outstanding field at one of the best tournaments for viewing of the season. The raucous crowd at the famous 16th hole followed by a memorable finishing stretch of holes has turned into a Super Bowl Sunday staple leading up to the big game.

The WMPO is now a "designated event," which means the best players in the world will be competing for a $20 million prize pool. The field will feature 20 of the top 22 players in the OWGR, including Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Tony Finau, Sungjae Im, Jordan Spieth, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Tom Kim, Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele, Max Homa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Sam Burns and Cameron Young.

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

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

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Past Winners at the Waste Management Phoenix Open

  • 2022: Scottie Scheffler (-22)
  • 2021: Brooks Koepka (-19)
  • 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, Scottie Scheffler did most of his work with the putter, but that seems to be an anomaly when looking at the recent history of the event. In 2021, Brooks Koepka was second in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach, trailing only Jordan Spieth, who finished fourth. In 2020, 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. Tom Hoge (+33.6) (+9000)
  2. Tom Kim (+28.1 (+3000)
  3. Si Woo Kim (+25.1) (+8000)
  4. Russell Knox (+24.5) (+30000)
  5. Collin Morikawa (+21.3) (+2000)

SG: Off the Tee

TPC Scottsdale is not an overly long golf course. Distance off the tee 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.

Last year, every player in the top 20 gained strokes off the tee.

SG: OTT per Round in Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Jon Rahm (+20.8) (+800)
  2. Rory McIlroy (+18.8) (+800)
  3. Keith Mitchell (+18.8) (+8000)
  4. Scottie Scheffler (+18.7) (+1400)
  5. Hayden Buckley (+17.6) (+25000)

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 two since 2015.

Strokes Gained: Putting on Firm and Fast Greens

  1. Maverick McNealy (+30.0) (+9000)
  2. Denny McCarthy (+24.1) (+15000)
  3. Matt Kuchar (+19.8) (+11000)
  4. Brendan Todd (+19.5 (+15000)
  5. Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+14.0) (+13000)

Greens in Regulation: Gained

Statistics from previous years at TPC Scottsdale say 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. Collin Morikawa (+36.6) (+2000)
  2. Hayden Buckley (+26.6) (+25000)
  3. Tony Finau (+26.1) (+2000)
  4. Rory McIlroy (+24.0) (+800)
  5. J.J. Spaun (+21.9) (+13000)
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Opportunities Gained

I'm 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. Tom Hoge (+37.6) (+9000)
  2. Si Woo Kim (+33.8) (+8000)
  3. Shane Lowry (+25.5) (+6000)
  4. Tom Kim (+25.1) (+3000)
  5. Kurt Kitayama (+24.9) (+18000)

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. Tony Finau (+2000)
  2. Rory McIlroy (+800)
  3. Scottie Scheffler (+1400)
  4. Corey Conners (+6500)
  5. Collin Morikawa (+2000)
  6. James Hahn (+40000)
  7. Patrick Cantlay (+2000)
  8. K.H. Lee (+10000)
  9. Max Homa (+2200)
  10. Xander Schauffele (+1400)

2023 Waste Management Phoenix Open Picks

Justin Thomas +2200 (BetMGM)

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is an event I’ve always thought Justin Thomas was destined to win. As we’ve seen at both the Ryder Cup and the President’s Cup, “JT” is a player who thrives off of energy from the crowd, and he’ll certainly get his fair share of that this week in Scottsdale.

Since his PGA Championship win back in May of 2022, it’s been a mixed bag of results both in terms of finishes and statistically. He’s had some good weeks, but it certainly hasn’t been up to the standard we’ve grown accustomed to for the superstar.

However, as an elite player on TOUR, whenever his odds start to drift back to the 20-1 range, it’s time to get back on. The 29-year-old is a great player who wins big time events, and with the WMPO being an elevated event this year, it certainly fits the description. 

Thomas has played some great golf at TPC Scottsdale. Last year, he finished in eighth place and gained 7.1 strokes on approach, which was second in the field behind only Bubba Watson. Additionally, Thomas has third-place finishes in both 2019 and 2020 as well as a 13th place finish in 2021. 

With 15 career PGA TOUR wins, Thomas doesn’t often go too long without getting a win. I believe he breaks his mini-drought this week in the desert. 

Collin Morikawa +2500 (DraftKings)

While his iron play has been solid for the past year or so, it hasn't been at the peak "Collin Morikawa" levels that we got used to seeing during a stretch where the young star won two majors. I think that's about to change.

In his last start at Torrey Pines, Morikawa gained 6.7 strokes on approach. He charged up the leaderboard over the weekend and finished in third place, but the way in which he did it was more impressive for me than the finish itself. The 9.8 strokes he gained from tee to green was his best performance since the 2021 U.S. Open. Two starts later, Morikawa won the Claret Jug.

The 25-year-old has typically shown signs of a win coming thus far throughout his career. He finished 25th at the course in his only start, but he tends to gravitate to the top when the stakes are high. An elevated event at a course that should suit him is a good time to get back on Morikawa.

Hideki Matsuyama +3500 (DraftKings)

I've been all over Hideki Matsuyama early this season, and it seems like we are getting closer to having that pay off. His inconsistency over past few years has led to his odds being very tempting each week, but TPC Scottsdale is the course where the temptation should be at an all-time high.

Matsuyama has been dominant throughout his career at the course. He's won the event twice (2016 and 2017) and also boasts a second (2015), fourth (2014) and eighth (2022). TPC Scottsdale is undoubtedly Matsuyama's favorite course in terms of results.

In addition to the course history, Matsuyama is showing some serious signs of returning to peak form. At the Sony Open this year, he gained 4.9 strokes on approach, and he finished eighth in his next start at the Farmers Insurance Open. Matsuyama was forced to play aggressively and fire at pins down the stretch as he chased a win at Torrey Pines, which caused him to slip down the leaderboard a bit, but he was in contention for most of his Sunday round.

Matsuyama has found something with his iron play and has shaken off the early season rust. He now seems primed to contend at an event where he's played some of his best golf.

Sungjae Im +3000 (DraftKings)

Sungjae Im flashed some phenomenal iron play in his most recent start at the Farmers Insurance Open. He gained 7.0 strokes on approach for the week, which was second in the field to only Max Homa. 

Course history has proven to be an important factor at this tournament, and the South Korean has played TPC Scottsdale very well throughout his career. Im has finishes of seventh, 34th and 17th in his three trips to the course and ranks 12th in the field in Strokes Gained: Total at TPC Scottsdale. He's also won at TPC Summerlin, which is another West Coast desert track that has some similarities to TPC Scottsdale.

Im has been very close to a breakthrough in the past few years but has yet to land a signature win in an elite event. The first elevated version of the Waste Management Phoenix Open would certainly fit the bill for the 24-year-old.

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