2019 Phoenix Open picks, predictions, odds: Ranking the field at TPC Scottsdale 2019 Phoenix Open picks, predictions, odds: Ranking the field at TPC Scottsdale
Between the serenity of Torrey Pines last week and Pebble Beach next week, we find ourselves in raucous, anything-but-serene Scottsdale, Arizona, for the 2019... 2019 Phoenix Open picks, predictions, odds: Ranking the field at TPC Scottsdale

2019 Phoenix Open picks, predictions, odds: Ranking the field at TPC Scottsdale

Between the serenity of Torrey Pines last week and Pebble Beach next week, we find ourselves in raucous, anything-but-serene Scottsdale, Arizona, for the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Johnny Miller’s farewell from the television booth coincides with Hideki Matsuyama’s return to the place he has dominated over the past several years, and Sunday’s Super Bowl appetizer should be a good one.

Let’s take a look at this week’s contest.

Event information

What: Waste Management Phoenix Open | When: Jan. 31 – Feb. 3
Where: TPC Scottsdale — Scottsdale, Arizona

Ranking the field (odds)

  • Hideki Matsuyama (12-1): It’s a travesty that he’s not the favorite this week given his T3 last week at Torrey and his preposterous history at this tournament (more on that in a bit).
  • Jon Rahm (7-1): If anyone does deserve favorite status over Matsuyama, though, it’s Rahm. He finished T5 and hasn’t placed outside the top 16 in three starts in Phoenix.
  • Gary Woodland (18-1): Last year’s champ is on a pretty big heater after a great fall, a runner-up finish at Kapalua and last week’s T9 at Torrey Pines. It’s going to be tough for me to not pick him. 
  • Justin Thomas (9-1): His history here isn’t as great as you would think (or it should be), but I don’t really care. I think it irks him that he’s not only not the best player in the world, but he’s not even the best Justin.
  • Xander Schauffele (14-1): It took a while for him to reach, “Oh he’s in the field, yes, he’s one of the top-five or top-10 favorites” in my mind, but we’re officially there.
  • Rickie Fowler (18-1): This year is interesting for him. He’s at that in-between stage of a golf career where he’s no longer a young stud but he’s not quite an established veteran star (like an Adam Scott or Justin Rose). A win in Miller’s sendoff week would be tasty.
  • Webb Simpson (18-1): One of just five golfers who have gained two or more strokes per round at this course dating back to 2010. Lost in a playoff to Matsuyama two years ago.
  • Matt Kuchar (25-1): Kuchar’s not going to win three times before Florida, right? 
  • Tony Finau (20-1): Only one finish outside the top 16 since last year’s Northern Trust. That’s amazing.
  • Phil Mickelson (22-1): Mostly because I’m now terrified to not have him in here after his performance at the Desert Classic two weeks ago.
  • Field strength — B: It’s a nice field but it’s not a great field. Several U.S. stars including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed are actually in the field at this week’s Saudi International.

    Three things to know

    1. Matsuyama the king: I cannot believe the numbers I’m looking at, but apparently they’re real. According to Data Golf, Rahm is second in strokes gained on the field per round at this course at 2.4. He’s 0.23 ahead of third place. In first? Matsuyama at 3.4! A full stroke better than second. That’s impossible! He’s never finished outside the top four at this tournament.

    2. Mickelson endurance: Remarkably, this is Mickelson’s 30th (!) Phoenix Open. He’s almost played in as many Phoenix Opens as years I’ve been alive! If he follows his great Desert Classic performance with a win here, it will be his second in seven years and fourth overall at this tournament (which would be a new record).

    3. No. 17 > No. 16: You can keep the more famous 16th, but I’ll take the action at the short par-4 17th, where Andrew Magee made the only ace on a par 4 in PGA Tour history. This is such a great 71st hole because it gives so many options and forces you to make a possibly uncomfortable decision late in the golf tournament on a Sunday (or Saturday).

    One story I’m following

    For the second consecutive week, a current Oklahoma State golfer is in the field as an amateur. Last week, it was Viktor Hovland, who missed the cut at Torrey. This week, it’s Matthew Wolff who is going to wow some folks with his swing and his play. I can’t wait.

    Tiger watch

    Tiger is sitting out for a bit before returning for the Genesis Open at Riviera in two weeks.

    Past winners

    • 2018: Gary Woodland
    • 2017: Hideki Matsuyama
    • 2016: Hideki Matsuyama
    • 2015: Brooks Koepka
    • 2014: Kevin Stadler

    Phoenix Open picks

    2019 Phoenix Open picks, predictions, odds: Ranking the field at TPC Scottsdale

    Gary Woodland

    Winner:  I love Woodland this week, especially at that number. He won here last year and is quietly one of the five or eight hottest players in the world right now.        

    2019 Phoenix Open picks, predictions, odds: Ranking the field at TPC Scottsdale

    Jon Rahm

    Top 10:  You can keep Matsuyama, I’ll keep riding Rahm. I picked him to win last week, and he nearly did. The only thing that concerns me this week is the back-end of a three-tournament stretch where he might run out of gas.    

    Martin Laird

    Sleeper: As was pointed out by Rob Bolton, Laird has a sneaky four top 10s since 2011. He’s a good play on a lesser name in a strong field.    
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