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Our PGA Tour expert turns his thoughts to the Arizona desert
The PGA TOUR switches from California to Arizona
The tournament has been played at TPC Scottsdale since 1987
Scottie Scheffler has won the last two editions
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Justin Thomas for the win at +1000 with BetMGM
Sam Burns to beat Sungjae Im over 72 holes at -134 with bet365
Adam Hadwin for Top 10 at +450 with bet365
While some collected winnings at +7000 on Wyndham Clark being declared the champion at Pebble Beach last week, most were left frustrated that the final round was wiped out without a ball being struck.
Clark may well have gone on to claim victory, but there were plenty of others still in the hunt before adverse weather on the Monterey Peninsula led officials to call it after 54 holes.
At least the elements won’t get in the way of a full 72 holes this time as the Tour moves from the California coastline to the Arizona desert.
This week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open has been played at TPC Scottsdale since 1987 and has a habit of throwing up repeat winners.
Scottie Scheffler won the last two, Brooks Koepka was hoisting the silverware for a second time when triumphant in 2021, and Hideki Matsuyama won back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.
The idea that course form counts for plenty doesn’t stop there.
Webb Simpson and Rickie Fowler had both finished runner-up before getting their wins here, while Phil Mickelson and Mark Calcavecchia are both triple champions in Phoenix.
As for the winning scores, they've been very consistent over the years. The champion has shot between 14-under and 19-under inclusive in each of the last 10 editions.
|Champion, nationality and winning score
|Scottie Scheffler (United States) -19
|Scottie Scheffler (United States) -16
|Brooks Koepka (United States) -19
|Webb Simpson (United States) -17
|Rickie Fowler (United States) -17
TPC Scottsdale is a par 71 and measures 7,261 yards
Opened in 1986, it was designed by Jay Morris and Tom Weiskopf
Mickelson and Calcavecchia hold the 72-hole course record of 28-under
Those same two players shot the 18-hole record of 60 alongside Grant Waite
This course looks made for Scheffler given how Strokes Gained: Tee To Green is the dominant stat. The interesting wrinkle is that a hot putter has played a big part in his wins here in 2022 and 2023. But can we rely on his blade to work so well again given his problems in that department over a sustained period? Scheffler has started the season 5-17-6 and did at least post positive SG: Putting figures in his tied sixth at Pebble.
Since causing some controversy by getting a Ryder Cup wildcard when his form looked iffy, Thomas has found a groove. After finishing with a pair of top fives (Fortinet Championship and the DP World Tour’s Nedbank Golf Challenge) to end 2023, he’s opened 2024 with third at The American Express and sixth at Pebble Beach last week. He’s a course specialist here too, boasting three top fours.
After starting his season with a top three at The Sentry, Spieth was hugely popular at Pebble Beach but never got in a blow when settling for tied 39th. The three-time Major winner did at least shoot 69s on Friday and Saturday, and who knows what he may have produced had a final lap been played. Here in Phoenix, he has four top 10s from seven starts. That includes sixth last year and fourth in 2021.
There were times when Justin Thomas looked lost in 2023, and failing to make the FedExCup playoffs was a genuine shock.
Experimenting with a new diet didn’t seem to help, but with J.T. vowing not to go down that path again, he’s spent the last few months reminding us why he’s an elite performer with two Major wins.
So after carding a combined 40-under in his two events so far - round scores: 65-67-61-68-68-67-68 - Thomas looks ready to win again.
TPC Scottsdale would seem like a very obvious place for the 15-time PGA Tour winner to get to No. 16.
He was third in both 2019 and 2020, fourth last year, eighth in 2022, and has six straight finishes of 17th or better on this desert layout.
“I’m out here to try to win golf tournaments, and win as many as humanly possible,” said a bullish J.T. at La Quinta two weeks ago.
After not landing a trophy since the 2022 PGA Championship, the time looks right.
For this week’s 72-hole match bet, let’s back Sam Burns to get the better of Sungjae Im at -134 with bet365.
Both players have performed well at TPC Scottsdale, so there seems little to separate them there.
Burns was sixth last year after twirling 64-68 on the weekend and tied 22nd in 2021
Im was also sixth 12 months ago, that result adding to course form of 17-34-7.
But in its current form, the American definitely holds the upper hand over the Korean.
Burns was on ‘59 watch’ when shooting 61 and finishing sixth at The American Express, while he followed that up with a top 10 at Pebble Beach.
Im, by contrast, has stuttered on his last two starts, missing the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and finishing way down in 66th at Pebble.
Canada’s Adam Hadwin has based himself in Scottsdale for a number of years, and it appears to have had a beneficial effect on his performances at this course and at other desert events.
He was the halfway leader here last year before finishing 10th and has cashed in his last eight starts at TPC Scottsdale.
Hadwin has shown more strong desert form in recent times, finishing sixth at The American Express last month and runner-up in October’s Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas.
Back him at +450 with DraftKings Sportsbook for a top 10.
Tournament: Waste Management Phoenix Open
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Date: Thursday, February 8 - Sunday, February 11
How to watch: Thursday-Friday 4 p.m.-8 p.m. ET (Golf Channel), Saturday-Sunday 1 p.m-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC). And all four days on Sky Sports.
Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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