PGA Tour Picks: Waste Management Phoenix Open Odds and Betting Predictions
If you are a fan of playoff golf on the PGA Tour, the start of 2018 has been right up your alley as Jason Day's playoff win at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego on Monday was the third straight multi-hole playoff on the Tour. It's only the third time this century that scenario has occurred. From 2002-2017, there were a total of two tournaments that went to at least six-hole playoffs. Now there have been two in the past three weeks.
In the Farmers Insurance Open, the Aussie Day, Swede Alex Noren and American Ryan Palmer all finished 72 holes at 10-under 278. Palmer was eliminated on the first sudden-death hole on Sunday and Day/Noren were still tied through the fifth playoff hole Sunday night when it was too dark to continue. Day drained an 18-foot birdie on Monday morning at No. 18 to beat Noren on essentially an empty course. It was Day's fourth birdie on the par-5 hole in the playoff (Noren had three). Noren's second shot on playoff hole No. 6 went into a pond.
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It was the longest playoff in the tournament's 67-year history and the first victory since 2016 for Day, the former world No. 1 who had a rough 2017 season with his mom being sick and just a lack of focus on the course. Day jumped back into the Top 10 in the world rankings. Noren moved from No. 19 to No. 16.
My choice was big-hitting American Gary Woodland at +4000. He was in contention entering Sunday but shot a final-round 75 to finish T12 at 5-under. I did get both Marc Leishman (+200) and Tony Finau (+250) for Top 10s. Alas, Leishman obviously wasn't the top Aussie finisher, which also would have paid +200.
I did expect Tiger Woods to make the cut (he did right on the number), which paid out at -200. He has to be thrilled with a T23 result considering his back didn't give him any troubles and was spraying the driver everywhere, hitting just 17 of 56 fairways (I mean, I could do that). His short game looked great, though, in playing the weekend in an official event for the first time since the 2015 Wyndham Championship. The result allowed Tiger to jump 108 spots to No. 539 in the world.
The Tour leaves California for the week to go to the biggest party in golf, the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale (a party city itself), annually held on Super Bowl weekend. Tiger's not playing, and I doubt you see him back-to-back weeks until the spring. Arizona State alum Phil Mickelson, a three-time winner, makes his 29th start in the event, setting a tournament record. TPC Scottsdale's Stadium course is a par 71 measuring 7,261 yards. The par-3 16th is where the party happens. The only official ace on a par 4 in PGA Tour history was here by Andrew Magee on the 17th.
Guys will need to go low to win as the worst winning score this century was 14-under by a few guys. Hideki Matsuyama won at that number in 2016 in a playoff over Rickie Fowler and then repeated last year at 17-under in a playoff win over Webb Simpson. The 72-hole record is 256 by Lefty (2013) and Mark Calcavecchia (2001).
Golf Odds: Waste Management Phoenix Open Favorites
Matsuyama and Jordan Spieth are co-+900 favorites at Bovada . Matsuyama has played here four times and not been worse than fourth, but it's so rare to win an event in three straight years. It last happened at the John Deere Classic from 2009-11 by Steve Stricker (who is in this field). Matsuyama was 12th last week.
Spieth played the first two weeks in Hawaii this year (18th and ninth) and not since. He was seventh here in 2015 and ninth last year in his only two trips.
There's a big falloff after Jon Rahm (+1000), Justin Thomas (+1600) and Fowler (+1600). Rahm had been playing as well as anyone but blew up last weekend with rounds of 75-77 as the defending Farmers Insurance Open champion. He was 16th here last year and fifth in 2015 (he also went to ASU). Fowler missed the cut last week and was fourth here in 2017 in addition to that runner-up two years ago.
Golf Odds: Waste Management Phoenix Open Picks
For a Top 10, I like Matsuyama (-120), Spieth (-110), Fowler (+130) and Brendan Steele (+400), who had three straight Top 6s here from 2012-14 and has never missed the cut. Head-to-head, go Fowler (-165) over Leishman (+125), Simpson (-130) over Woodland (even), Zach Johnson (-130) over Austin Cook (even), Mickelson (-125) over Shane Lowry (-105), and Steele (-110) over JB Holmes (-120). Might as well go yes on a playoff at +300.
I will throw some money on Spieth & Matsuyama at +400 vs. the field (-650) but also hedge that with some longer-shot money on Simpson at +4000 to win. He hasn't finished worse than 14th here since 2010 and was recently fourth at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
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