PGA Picks: Waste Management Phoenix Open Odds and Expert Predictions
Not even into February yet, but I've predicted my first PGA Tour winner of 2020 already: Nailed Aussie Marc Leishman at +5000 to win the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego last week. He had been a runner-up at the tournament twice with a few other Top 10s mixed in so he was due.
Rather amazingly, he shot a 7-under 65 in the final round despite hitting just three of 14 fairways. That's crazy. Leishman did lead the field in putting both on Sunday and for the tournament. He made 11 one-putts Sunday for a fifth career Tour win. Jon Rahm nearly caught him by finishing with four birdies and an eagle over the final six holes but finished one shot back at 14-under 274.
Tiger Woods finished T9 even though he didn't putt very well all week. His T9 was his best to begin a calendar year since 2012, when he finished T3 at Abu Dhabi. Remember, Woods never plays in Hawaii. Rory McIlroy finished tied for third at Torrey. Rory now has 11 Top-5 finishes in his past 13 calendar year-opening starts on the PGA Tour but somehow hasn't won any of them.
This week, the PGA Tour heads to Arizona for the first time in 2020 for the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. I say this every year, but if you only can get to one Tour event a year that isn't the Masters at Augusta National, go to this one. It's arguably the wildest party in American spectator sports and why it's called the "Greatest Show on Grass." The par-3 16th is the apex of the fun.
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Usually, PGA Tour events are staid affairs where you are told to keep quiet at every turn. Just a single camera click will set some players off. Not here, as this is more like a musical festival in some regards, and in fact this writer believes the Tour needs to adopt a more fan-friendly atmosphere like at the Waste Management Phoenix Open to cater to younger fans. Not a secret that most PGA Tour fans are white and over 50. Just watch a telecast and count the Cadillac commercials.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open is held on Super Bowl weekend every year - that might be one reason why some big names often skip it so they can go to the game or head to Vegas, etc., to wager on it. CBS usually televises this tournament but in years that network has the Super Bowl - FOX does this year - then NBC takes over the broadcast.
TPC Scottsdale's Stadium course is a par 71 measuring 7,260 yards with the 18-hole record a 60 and the 72-hole mark a 256. Andrew Magee made history in 2001 at the Stadium course by holing his tee shot on No. 17, the first-ever PGA Tour ace on a par 4 (still the only one as far as I know). The tournament began in 1932 and moved full-time to the Stadium course in 1987.
Americans have won the event all but a handful of times. Only twice has a European and not since Jesper Parnevik in 1998. One great thing the tournament does is offer free admission to first responders and active and retired military personnel. Every Tour event should do that.
Four players have won here a record three times, including Arnold Palmer and Phil Mickelson. This is Lefty's adopted hometown and he starred at nearby Arizona State. That's annually an NCAA powerhouse program. For some reason, Mickelson isn't playing this week. I guarantee you he's betting on the Super Bowl.
Golf Odds: Waste Management Phoenix Open Favorites
Rahm, who also was an All-American at Arizona State, is the +650 favorite. His best result here is fifth and he hasn't been worse than 16th .
Justin Thomas is +850 with Webb Simpson +1200. Thomas has two wins already this season but hasn't played the last couple of weeks. His best finish here was third in 2019. Simpson's best is losing in a playoff to Hideki Matsuyama in 2017 - Hideki is the last repeat winner here and is +1800.
Not often a player will win a tournament when he has a triple bogey in the final round but Rickie Fowler did just that a year ago. He finished at 17-under 267, two up on Branden Grace. Fowler is +1600.
Golf Odds: Waste Management Phoenix Open Picks
For a Top 10, like Matt Kuchar (+200; he has been Top 10 each of past three years) and Matsuyama (+175), who also has a runner-up and fourth here in addition to his victories. The winner at the rather long price of +6600 is Chez Reavie, who has been fourth and runner-up in his two visits. Granted, he's not having a good season thus far and that's why the price.