PGA Tour Odds and Predictions: Waste Management Phoenix Open
by Alan Matthews - 2/2/2011
The PGA Tour makes a detour for a week from its California Swing to head to Scottsdale, Ariz., for the Waste Management Phoenix Open – quite possibly the worst tournament name in golf history.
It’s not an overly tremendous field this week. Tiger Woods isn’t playing and most of the top European players are still overseas and playing in Qatar this week – many of them may not show up in the U.S. until the WGC-Match Play. However, the top 19 players from last week’s Farmers Insurance Open are planning to tee it up.
The only player in the world Top 10 this week is Phil Mickelson, who nearly won his 2011 PGA Tour debut at Torrey Pines last week, finishing second at the Farmers Insurance Open. Lefty is the big favorite this week at 7/1. Mickelson plays this event more than any other non-major except for the regular stop at Torrey Pines. He has 20 starts at this tournament and nine Top-10 finishes to lead the all-time money list here. But it seems to be rather hit or miss for Phil, as he has won this event twice but also has missed the cut in two of the past four years. Not sure he’s good value, then, at such short odds.
If you are going to take someone at short odds, for my PGA Tour predictions it might have to be Dustin Johnson at 11/1. He has finished in the Top 10 of both his 2011 starts after a third-place finish last week. His long-hitting style should eat this course up, but he has only played this event once.
The best value on the board might be defending champion Hunter Mahan. He was rescued by his now-wife last year when Mahan discovered that he had cracked his driver after his tee shot at the second hole during Sunday's final round. She rushed to the couple's courtesy car where she grabbed Mahan's backup driver and got it back to him by the third hole. Even with a backup driver, Mahan overcame a 4-shot deficit entering the final round and beat Rickie Fowler by a stroke for the victory, his second career win on the PGA Tour. And Mahan has started this season well, marrying said woman (a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, by the way) and finishing T25 at the season-opening event in Hawaii and then T6 last week, where a final-round 73 ended his chances. Mahan is 22/1 on Bodog to win again here. He does have one other Top-10 finish in five total starts at this event.
Is J.B. Holmes worth a risk at 35/1? He is a two-time winner of this event, but he hasn’t had a PGA Tour victory since his last title here in 2008. He opened his season last week with a T63.
You can’t overlook Bill Haas and Bubba Watson, both at 28/1. Haas has been arguably the story of this golf season so far with three consecutive Top-10 finishes – dating to last year that makes it five in a row in the Top 10. He hasn’t had success at this tournament, however, with three missed cuts in four starts. Watson won last week and if he puts like he did at Torrey Pines he will be in contention again. But he could also suffer a letdown after the biggest victory of his career thus far. Watson was T36 here last year.
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