Waste Management Phoenix Open: Bet on Ball-Strikers at TPC Scottsdale

Waste Management Phoenix Open: Bet on Ball-Strikers at TPC Scottsdale article feature image

Steven Flynn, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Alex Noren

  • The Waste Management Phoenix Open begins on Thursday at TPC Scottsdale.
  • Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas at the top two betting favorites as of Monday evening, opening at +700 and +900 respectively.
  • Good ball-strikers tend to fare well at this course and Josh Perry has a few players that fit that profile on his betting card.

The run of stars taking down a title at Torrey Pines continued with Justin Rose running away with a championship.

We had Hideki Matsuyama finish third, but it never really felt like he was in contention over the weekend. Our best bet was the only thing that got to the house with Tony Finau finishing inside the top 20 at -130.

Our attention now shifts to the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This tournament has been another stop where the top guys tend to come out with the win. Five of the last six winners were +4000 or lower at the start of the week.

In recent years, it’s been a spot where bad putters have found their way to the winner’s circle. Past champs like Matsuyama, Gary Woodland and Kyle Stanley really struggle with the flat stick, but are among the best ball-strikers on Tour.

So that’s where the focus will be for me this week. Putting really doesn’t rate highly with me to begin with, but in Phoenix, it takes an even bigger hit.

The Course

TPC Scottsdale is relatively easy compared to other PGA Tour setups. The winners will usually get in the high teens under par. The course measures out at 7,266 yards for a par 71.

Much of the excitement comes over the last four holes. Water is in play three times on the reachable par 5 No. 15, the driveable par 4 No. 17 and the difficult closing hole. Sandwiched in the middle there is TPC Scottsdale’s signature hole, the par 3 No. 16, which is enclosed by grandstands holding around 20,000 raucous fans.

The Field

Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas at the top two betting favorites as of Monday evening, opening at +700 and +900 respectively. Matsuyama is next in line at +1400 on a course he’s won twice. Xander Schauffele is also at +1400.

Webb Simpson, Rickie Fowler and defending champ Gary Woodland are all near the top of the betting board as well at +1800.

The Favorites

At the top of the board, the big move was by Matsuyama, who was +6600 just last week. Mix a good result with some amazing course history and we see the odds cut by over 80 percent.

I really like Webb Simpson this week, but want more with the number. I was hoping to get close to 30-1, but that isn’t happening this week, so I’ll have to pass.

Last year, I was on both Fowler and Schauffele at this course but will pass this time around. Fowler is still breaking in some new golf balls after switching to Taylor Made.

I’ll need to see a good week from him before I bet his odds. And if you’re wondering how far Xander has jumped in the last year, he was +9000 at this event in 2018. So 14-1 is far too low for me to get involved.


I’m going to pepper this range with some guys are either in good form or have show they’ve fit this course in the past.

We’ll start with Matt Kuchar at +3102. Kuch has already won once for us at Sony, so why not dive back in again. This field really isn’t a whole lot better than the one he already beat in Hawaii. TPC Scottsdale isn’t a course you have to overpower, so it should fit Kuchar well. He’s shown that he’s a fit too, finishing inside the top 10 in three of his last six appearances.

Next up is Bubba Watson at +4750. It’s pretty well known, that Bubba has certain courses he plays really well at and others where we should just completely avoid him. He’s had a few struggles in Scottsdale in recent years, but three top 5s in a four year stretch from 2012 to 2015 shows that something about this place fits his eye.

I also am heading back to the well with a couple of players that have had good recent results this season in Chez Reavie and Andrew Putnam.

Reavie’s ball-striking has been on point this year, so at +6447, I like last year’s runner up to make another run at a title.

Putnam finished second at the Sony for us a couple weeks ago. He’s never played here before, but he tends to play well at shorter courses with Bermuda greens, so I’ll add him to the card at +7475.

I am also adding Alex Noren at +8455 to my card based on overall talent rather than current form. He missed the cut at Torrey Pines, but that was after a long layoff. We’ve seen early in the season the importance of having competitive rounds under your belt, so I’m willing to ignore that result and take a player who has a track record of winning in Europe at an inflated number.

The last player in this range for me will be Luke List at +9350. Nobody fits the  great ball-striker but terrible putter narrative more than Luke List. He’s as good off the tee as anyone and if that driver stays in play, he will have a lot of birdie and eagle opportunities.


Recently, the longshots haven’t been in play much here. Kevin Stadler in 2014 is the only player to really come out of nowhere to win this tournament in the last decade or so.

I won’t go too deep here, but there were a couple of guys popping up for me, starting with Brendan Steele at +10000. Steele hasn’t been in the best form, but his worst finish at TPC Scottdale in seven years is 26th and he’s finished inside the top six four times during that stretch. So I’ll take a chance on him at course he likes.

The last player on my card is Lucas Glover at +11000. He’s another guy fitting that elite ball-striker, bad putter narrative. He’s never really played well here, but the form is good. He’s made five starts in the 2018-19 season and has yet to finish outside the top 20. This course should suit him better than past results suggest, so I’ll ride that current form at his big number.

The Card

  • Matt Kuchar +3102 (1.06 units)
  • Bubba Watson +4750 (.7 units)
  • Chez Reavie +6447 (.51 units)
  • Andrew Putnam +7475 (.44 units)
  • Alex Noren +8455 (.39 units)
  • Luke List +9350 (.35 units)
  • Brenden Steele +10000/+2000 Top 5 (.33/.33 units)
  • Lucas Glover +11000/+2200 Top 5 (.3/.3 units)

Total Stake: 4.71 units

Season: +7.085 units

Odds may be different depending on sportsbook, always remember to shop for the best available number.