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The WM Phoenix Open: Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm Lead the Tournament’s Strongest-Ever Field

Written by: Matt Cooper
Updated February 8, 2023
6 min read
  • Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm lead the tournament’s strongest-ever field
  • Scottie Scheffler defends the trophy
  • TPC Scottsdale will again provide a raucous atmosphere

The WM Phoenix Open Odds

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Jon Rahm


Rory McIlroy


Scottie Scheffler


Xander Schauffele


Collin Morikawa


Justin Thomas


Patrick Cantlay


Tony Finau


Max Homa


Cameron Young


The WM Phoenix Open Picks and Predictions

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The WM Phoenix Open

The WM Phoenix Open Profile

There is nowhere in the golfing world quite like TPC Scottsdale during the WM Phoenix Open.

Typically golfing galleries are polite and restrained - think of the patrons at Augusta National in the Masters or the educated golfing crowds at the British Open.

But this week is different. Very different!

The tournament often gets over half a million paying customers through the gates throughout the week and it once topped 200,000 for one day alone.

The 16th hole is where the excitement reaches fever pitch - a par-3 that is entirely surrounded by stadium seating with the idea of a marshal lifting a “Quiet Please!” sign something of a joke.

Get ready to party.

Course Report

TPC Scottsdale is a par-71 that has been designed to create the sort of drama which the big crowds crave.

The closing stretch is especially exciting starting with the vulnerable par-5 15th, continuing to the loud 16th, on to the short par-4 17th and then a final hole that offers the opportunity of birdie but the threat of bogey.

Typically it is aggressive golfers who thrive here, ones who are willing to take aim at short par-4s in one blow and the par-5s in two. 

The Favourites

There’s not much doubt that Jon Rahm is in sensational form at the moment.

His last seven official starts have reaped four wins and another three top seven finishes.

Oddly, however, this Arizona State alumni has struggled on “home” turf. Admittedly he’s never finished outside the top 20 in seven visits but he has a best of fifth on debut in 2015 and has only twice been in contention with 18 holes to play (and not since 2018).

While Rory McIlroy is not quite in the same form as Rahm he is not far off.

He’s not finished outside the top four in his last seven starts but “only” has three ticks in the win column.

He’s making just a second start in the tournament, having finished 13th in 2021.

Last year Scottie Scheffler arrived at this event without a win to his name on the PGA Tour but his victory changed his career and life.

He would go onto to win four times in six starts, including the Masters, and that run vaulted him briefly to top spot in the world rankings.

He hasn’t won since but he has finished in the top 12 in each of his last four appearances.

XS can go Large

As impressive as the three leaders in the market are, we’ll take the next man in the betting as our lead selection.

Xander Schauffele has a similar course profile to Jon Rahm but with one very obvious distinction - that he has got into contention and more than once.

He’s made five starts in the tournament and, like Rahm, never ended the week outside the top 20.

When 17th on debut in 2018 he was fifth with 18 holes to play, he was 10th in 2019, 16th in 2020 (when again fifth with one round remaining), second on 2021 (also the halfway leader), and third last year.

It’s an exceptionally strong record book and his form isn’t bad either.

He was 13th at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open and before that third in The American Express when carding a brilliant final round of 62.

Take him each way in the outright at +1400 with Caesars Sportsbook which pays out eight places.

Matsuyama Can Go Again

It’s not been a good 12 months for Hideki Matsuyama.

When he was eighth here last February he had won twice in his previous four starts.

But since leaving Arizona he’s added just four more top 10s in 19 starts as he’s struggled with injury.

However the most recent of those top 10s was last time out at Torrey Pines and we should take the hint because the Japanese star loves TPC Scottsdale.

His first four visits reaped a fourth, a second and then back-to-back wins.

He withdrew on defense (when on track for another good finish) but in all he has five top 10s from eight completed starts.

That’s a fine strike rate, one the books are happy to take on but I just wonder if it’s a great chance to back him off that promising effort last month.

He can make another top 10 with DraftKings offering a juicy +320.

Burns Loves Bermuda

In the last couple of years Sam Burns has taken a big step forward in his career.

His victory in last summer’s Charles Schwab Challenge was on bent grass at Colonial and he has also played well on Poa Annua, but his performances on Bermuda grass have been what he has built his rise on.

In his last 16 starts on such greens he’s landed 11 top 20s and in the same period he’s also finished fourth and second in the pairs event in New Orleans.

His most recent experience of playing on Bermuda was last time out at The American Express when he carded two 64s for 11th place.

Doubters will worry about his Scottsdale form - he’s yet to land a top 20 there - but he was in the top four through 36 holes when 22nd in 2021.

Back him to make another top 20 at +200 with FanDuel Sportsbook (he’s as low as -150 elsewhere).

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How to Watch The WM Phoenix Open

  • Tournament: The WM Phoenix Open
  • Location: TPC Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Date: Thursday, February 9 - Sunday, February 12
  • How to watch: Thursday-Friday 3-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel), Saturday 1-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6:30 p.m. (CBS). Sunday 1-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). And all four days on Sky Sports.
Image for Matt Cooper

Matt Cooper

Golf Betting Analyst

Betting Picks
Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics.
Nationality: British
Education: Bachelor of Arts (History)
Favourite Sportsbook: bet365 Sportsbook
Favourite Casino: BetMGM Casino
16 years
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