After a few weeks in what was a sun-kissed California, the PGA Tour heads to Arizona, where the Waste Management Phoenix Open will take place at TPC Scottsdale, a venue used year after year for this event.
2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open General Information:
- Date: February 10th – February 13th, 2022
- TV-Time: Golf Channel 3:00 p.m. ET
- Venue: TPC Scottsdale
- Location: Arizona
- Prize Money: $8,200,000
- Winner last year: Brooks Koepka
Tournament, Conditions & Course Info
As is always the case around this time of year, Arizona is where the golfing elite are headed. TPC Scottsdale serves as the venue for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, won last year by one of the biggest names in golf, Brooks Koepka. The four-time major winner returns to defend his crown here, and he’s not the only big name on show, far from it. After not playing at Pebble Beach last week, world number one Jon Rahm is set to feature.
Hideki Matsuyama, who has won this event before, will be in attendance at Scottsdale too, as will Viktor Hovland, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele. The top-end talent is in no short supply this week, with the likes of Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau and Louis Oozthuizen in the line-up too. Fresh from his second last week, Jordan Spieth will be accompanied in the field by AT&T winner Tom Hoge, who picked up his first PGA Tour success at Pebble Beach last week.
The Phoenix Open is one of those tournaments where past form tends to point towards previous success. Many of the recent winners had a pleasing record at TPC Scottsdale prior to getting their hands on silverware, so be on the lookout for those who’ve done well here before. In terms of what the track demands, big hitters often do well, though accuracy has a part to play too, with water hazards lurking on a couple of Par 5’s.
As was the case at Pebble, hitting plenty of greens in regulation is key too. Only one of the last seven winners of this tournament have finished the week outside of the top ten for GIR, with four of those winners finishing T4 or better for GIR.
Expert Pick #1 – Louis Oosthuizen Top 10 Finish @+400
If you’re after a value-for-money top ten play this week, then look no further than Louis Oosthuizen, who has solid form in this event. In his previous two visits to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, he’s finished 3rd and T11, while of those to have completed two lots of four rounds at this tournament in the past, he’s the lowest average scorer in the field.
The South African also rates highly in some key strokes gained categories at TPC Scottsdale. Picking an average of 1.57 strokes, Oosthuizen is the fourth-best in the field in terms of strokes gained: tee-to-green at this venue in the last five seasons, as well the second-best for strokes gained: total.
Previous winners here have shown that hitting greens with regularity is important, so it bodes well that the one-time major winner is currently the second-best on tour for Greens in Regulation. More impressive still is the fact that Oosthuizen has hit 74% of fairways this term, making him the number two player on tour for Driving Accuracy, which has proven to be pretty important at this venue before.
Fedex Cup Rank: 164 | Fedex Cup Points: 66 | OWGR: 12
Expert Pick #2 – Ricky Fowler Top 20 Finish @+400
Several players hold claims this week, but if we’re talking about top-20 chances, then few appeal more than Ricky Fowler at the current odds. The winner here in 2019, Fowler knows how to get down to business at TPC Scottsdale, posting three top-fives in addition to his win. He also has two additional top-20’s to his name on this track. When it comes to strokes gained on the Arizona course, Fowler ranks highly too, being the fourth-best in this field when it comes to strokes gained: total here in the last five seasons.
Fedex Cup Rank: 68 | Fedex Cup Points: 187 | OWGR: 113
Expert Pick #3 – Branden Grace Top 20 Finish @+450
Another South African who could be in for a pleasing week is Branden Grace. He too has done well here in recent times, finishing second to Fowler in 2019, before posting a T9 finish in 2020. Of those to have made at least two full four-round appearances at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, only Oosthuizen has a better average score than Grace, who averages a pleasing 67.75 in this event.
The two-time PGA Tour winner also stands out when we look at strokes gained here in the last five seasons, ranking third for strokes gained: approach, second for strokes gained: tee-to-green, as well as first for strokes gained: total. Such numbers make Branden Grace stand out as a top-20 bet that is too good to miss at generous-looking odds.
Fedex Cup Rank: 127 | Fedex Cup Points: 99 | OWGR: 84
2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open Odds
*Odds as of Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. ET
2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open Additional Picks
One player to finish top-five.
Xander Schauffele (+500)
One of the elite, Xander Schauffele, who currently ranks as the eighth-best player in the world, ought to fancy his chances this week having finished second here last season. He’s also the fifth-best player in the field in terms of strokes gained: total on this track in the last five seasons, so don’t be surprised if he features prominently come Sunday afternoon.
One player to finish top-10.
Brooks Koepka (+300)
Despite appearing to be building some form following T9 and T28 finishes, Brooks Koepka disappointed when last in action, missing the cut at Farmers Insurance Open, but he’s not to be discounted on that form. After all, the eight-time PGA Tour winner likes it at this venue. Twice a winner of this event, Koepka knows how to do it at TPC Scottsdale, and if he shows anything like the form displayed when winning here 12 months ago, he’s likely to be in the thick of the top ten come Sunday.
One player to finish top-20.
Nate Lashley (+500)
Out of form for some time, Nate Lashley played some steady golf at Pebble Beach last week, finishing T28, which should have served as solid preparation for an event that he’s done well in recently. Last year, the 39-year-old finished T17, while he found only two too strong in 2020. If you’re looking for a player at big odds, who has some solid form in the book at TPC Scottsdale, not to mention some strong strokes gained date, then give Lashley a chance.
One player to post the low score Thursday.
Rickie Fowler (+6000)
Rickie Fowler holds decent claims this week, not least of all in the first round leader market. The Floridian has held the lead after round one on two occasions here before, while he’s made the top five after the first round on four other occasions. Nobody else in the field can match that.
The Big Hero
Underdog with chances to win.
Matt Kuchar (+10000)
Without a win since 2019, Matt Kuchar has become something of a forgotten man, though he likes this tournament, finishing in the top ten on four occasions. Moreover, the 43-year-old played himself into some pleasing form recently finishing T7 in Hawaii. At a venue he likes, the veteran could easily outplay what are hefty odds.
A flagship event on the PGA Tour, the Waste Management Phoenix Open often provides plenty of thrills and spills. Accuracy off the tee is rewarded, while those wanting to do well will need to hit plenty of greens in regulation, so be on the lookout for players sharp on approach, as well as those who’ve thrived at TPC Scottsdale in the past, such as two South Africans, who look set for big things.