The PGA Tour’s most raucous event is typically the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and the crowds will be back in full force when the event begins Thursday at TPC Scottsdale.
It’s the strongest field the tournament has featured since 2003, with six of the top 10 players in the Official World GolfRanking entering the event. Field Level Media’s golf experts provide key notes, odds and best bets.
WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN
Course: TPC Scottsdale (Par 71, 7,261 yards)
Purse: $8.2M (Winner: $1.476M)
Defending Champion: Brooks Koepka
FedEx Cup Leader: Hideki Matsuyama
HOW TO FOLLOW
TV: 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)
PGA Tour Live: Four live feeds per day on ESPN
Social Media: @WMPhoenixOpen (Twitter)
--The scoring average at TPC Scottsdale last year was 69.455, while the famous par-3 16th hole played to a scoring average of 2.98. The 72-hole scoring record of 256 is shared by Mark Calcavecchia (2001) and Phil Mickelson (2013).
--Bubba Watson, who finished second in Saudi Arabia last week, will make his 2021-22 season debut. His last PGA Tour event was The Northern Trust to open last season’s playoffs.
--Arizona State freshman Preston Summerhays is in the field as a sponsors exemption along with Sahith Theegala, Austin Eckroat and Patrick Rodgers.
--Charles Howell III will make his 600th career start on tour.
--Kevin Chappell is making his final start on his major medical extension. He has made only 35 tour starts since back surgery in November 2018.
--World No. 1 and Scottsdale resident Jon Rahm (600 at DraftKings) attended nearby Arizona State. He has finished T9 and T13 the past two years. The Spaniard is being backed by 3 percent of the bets and 4 percent of the money at the sportsbook. Rahm is 750 at BetMGM, where he leads the field with 14.9 percent of the money wagered backing him.
--Justin Thomas (1000) leads the tour in birdie average (6.44) and has 14 career wins on tour, tied with Adam Scott for the most in the field. His odds opened at 1400 at BetMGM but shortened to 1200 as he is second with 10.5 percent of the money backing him.
--Matsuyama (1200) is already seeking his third victory on tour this season. He is a combined 88-under par at TPC Scottsdale since the start of the 2013-14 season, best of any player.
--Viktor Hovland (1600) has three wins and a T4 in his past five worldwide starts, but missed the cut in his only previous start at TPC Scottsdale in 2020. He has been backed by the most bets (5%) and most money (7%) at DraftKings.
--Reigning FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay will make his debut in the event and is second at DraftKings with 6 percent of the money backing him.
--Jordan Spieth (1600), coming off a runner-up at Pebble Beach, shared the 54-hole lead last year after firing a 61 on Saturday. He has longer odds at 2000 at BetMGM, where he leads the field with 7.2 percent of the bets backing him. Spieth is third with 8.2 percent of the money and is the sportsbook’s biggest liability this week.
--Xander Schauffele (2000) tied for second last year and is still seeking his first stroke play victory since 2018.
--Koepka is a two-time winner of the event (2015, ‘21) but his odds have lengthened notably at both sportsbooks. He opened at 3000 at DraftKings but was at 3500 on Wednesday, while Koepka’s odds moved from 3000 to 3300 at BetMGM.
--Field Level Media