Waste Management Phoenix Open
When: February 4th - 7th
Where: TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ
2015 Winner: Brooks Koepka (-15)
The format of this will go: I will select golfers based on the Yahoo format. I will select one A golfer, 2 B golfers and 1 C golfer that I think will do well as well as one dark horse pick, this should space out the selections and provide a vast field to select from for anyone who is in a format where you are limited to 10 starts per year.
TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course): Certainly one of the more eclectic tournaments, emotion can play just as much as play style to this course given the atmosphere. The course was designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf in 1986, this course favors the long drive and works as a typical desert course. The biggest challenges here come from bunkers, 72 of them to be specific and quite a few that are rather deep.
Bubba Watson. 5th here in 2012. 15th in 2013, 2nd in 2014 and 2nd in 2015. Will this be the year he gets the elusive win? Bubba has a great track record here and the crowd loves him. He's 1st in distance on his drives which fairs well at a tournament like this where it's more about the longevity then the accuracy. I see another top 5 finish for Bubba here.
Brandt Snedeker. I will mention this repeatedly, this tournament is as much about personality as it is about abilities. Brandt is a very affable gentleman. He just came off a win and is off to a very comfortable and strong 2016. He will use that momentum and build off the crowd at TPC Scottsdale. He finished 50th in 2012, 2nd in 2013, 61st in 2014 and 10th in 2015.
Hideki Matsuyama. Hideki has had an up and down 2016, in three tournaments he finished 27th (Frys Open), 5th (CIMB Classic) and 17th (Hero World Challenge) while he withdrew from World Gold Championship and was cut last week at the Farmers Insurance Open. I'll give a pass on last weeks tournament as the conditions were about as crazy as it gets. He's playing well in the final rounds so if he makes it to Sunday he could pose a threat. In his two appearances at TPC Scottsdale he finished 4th and 2nd.
Brandan Steele. Two things get a crowd really amped up in an event like this: a big drive off the tee and a great finish with a long put or made shot from a far. Brandan is 26th on the tour in drive distance and 8th on the tour in Eagles. If he can harness those two abilities he will be able to feed off the crowd and be a force to win. He finished 5th here in 2012, 6th in 2013, 6th in 2014 and 26th in 2015.
Dark Horse Bonus Pick:
Justin Thomas. He will fall here because of his youth. It will be interesting to watch him make his second appearance here after a top 20 finish last season. He is 33rd in drive distance and 11th in drive efficiency. If he can keep in the top 20 by Sunday it will be interesting to see how he plays off the crowd.
Last tournament results - Hyundai Tournament of Champions: (granted there are 157 total people in the tournament) and those conditions were atrocious down the stretch.
A: 102nd place
B: 1st place; 72nd place
C: 102nd place
Dark Horse: 21st place
YTD Average Results
A: 71st place
B: 31st place
C: 41st place
Dark Horse: 11th place