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Waste Management Phoenix Open Betting Tips: Bet on Viktor to be smiling at Scottsdale

Phoenix Open betting tips: Four against the field at TPC Scottsdale.
Phoenix Open betting tips: Four against the field at TPC Scottsdale.

Following on from a fabulous 35/1 winner on the DP World Tour on Sunday, golf tipster Jamie Worsley has picked out four against the field in the Phoenix Open beginning on Thursday...

After three straight multi-course events, two of them pro-ams, it’s a relief to get back to regular golf tournaments this week on the PGA Tour. As we head to Arizona for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. An event that goes right back to the 1930s, though has only taken place at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course since 1987. 

This is one of, if not the most raucous crowd we get all year. It tests not only a player’s golfing ability but also how they’re able to cope in the pressure cooker atmosphere that is created by the excitable fans.

Phoenix Open Tips

THE COURSE

A par 71 measuring 7261 yards, this Tom Wieskopf/Jay Morrish design is pretty unremarkable on the front 9 but kicks it up a notch on the back 9, particularly over the closing holes. This includes the amphitheatre of the par 3 16th hole and the drivable par 4 17th hole, which can make or break your tournament, as there’s water all along the left-hand side of the hugely long green.

Water is a regular feature on the back 9 and provides one of the foremost defences of the course. Along with clever bunkering, run-off areas around the slick bermuda greens and though the fairways are forgiving, with little rough aside them, you can find more, serious trouble in the desert that lies beyond. 

Having said that, even if the aforementioned dangers help keep the scores from hitting the -20 mark too regularly, there are still plenty of birdie opportunities to be had and with multiple risk/reward chances it’s no surprise that the scoring has still been relatively low. With each of the last five renewals requiring a winning score of -17 or better. 

Brooks Koepka’s -19 in 2021 the lowest winning score since Phil Mickelson shot an incredible -28 on the way to victory in 2013. With nothing more than a mild breeze currently predicted in terms of the weather, I think we can expect a similar score being required to taste victory this week.

Elite winners like Koepka and Mickelson are not in isolation, either. The win last year was Koepka’s 2nd in the event, his first coming in 2015 and the roll of honour since his first victory has seen Hideki Matsuyama win it twice, back-to-back in ’16 and ’17. Followed by Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson in ’18, ’19 and ’20 respectively. Four major champions amongst the victors and with another strong field descending on TPC Scottsdale this week, it’s highly likely we see another winner of that ilk.

The stand out characteristic that provides the key to success here is quality ball-striking, with particularly strong iron play proving extra fruitful. In five of the last seven years, the winner has ranked inside the top 4 in approach for the week. Webb Simpson in 2020 ranking 1st, as did Hideki Matsuyama in the second of his victories in 2017. Even Rickie Fowler in 2019 and Brooks Koepka in 2015 hit their irons well and all of them backed it up with solid performances off-the-tee.

THE FIELD

As mentioned, we have an incredibly strong field this week with six of the world’s top ten teeing it up. Headed by world #1 Jon Rahm. The field gaining extra strength, as a further nine of the world’s top twenty head to Arizona.

Golf betting tips
Viktor Hovland each-way (8 places)
16/1
Odds correct as of 2022-02-07 16:50 Odds subject to change.

In a field as strong as this, it’s my belief that an elite players wins it, this backed up by a list of recent winners including multiple major champions. Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas obviously fit that bill but at 15/2 and 12/1 respectively are once again of little interest, particularly with both players not quite being at their best. 

Instead I start with man of the moment, world #3 Viktor Hovland, of whom there’s no golfer on the planet playing more “elite” golf right now. Possessing three victories in his last five starts, he can make amends for a narrow missed cut on debut in this event in 2020.

At the time of that missed cut, Hovland was a newly turned pro with zero wins to his name. He’s since picked up six titles worldwide, including three on the PGA Tour (four if you count the Hero World Challenge). His most recent victory coming on the DP World Tour in the Dubai Desert Classic a couple of weeks ago, where he came through in fine fashion, with a birdie-eagle-birdie finish, eventually winning a playoff over Richard Bland. 

That victory was a result of the quality ball-striking that has defined the likeable Norwegian’s successes during his short career so far. Where he’s ranked no worse than 18th on the PGA Tour in either SG: Approach or SG: off-the-tee. He backs this up with generally solid, sometimes excellent putting and though he stills leave a lot to be desired around-the-greens, he can get away with below average performances in that area. Such is the quality of the rest of his game. 

Despite being the hottest player on the planet right now, Hovland is still without a victory in mainland USA, as all three victories on the PGA Tour have come outside. Twice in Mexico at the Mayakoba Classic and once in the Puerto Rico Open. Though that is only a matter of time, and he has gone well in some of the best regular events on the mainland that the PGA Tour has to offer.

He was a no brainer for me this week. Not only is he in excellent form but, despite that missed cut on debut, he has a game perfectly equipped to take it to TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course and has the chance this week to turn an already excellent run of results into something exceptional.

Scottie Scheffler each-way (8 places)
28/1
Odds correct as of 2022-02-07 16:55 Odds subject to change.

Throughout 2021, Scottie Scheffler continued to threaten to pick up that breakthrough PGA Tour victory, hitting the top 10 on ten occasions, including being three-times a runner-up. Following a solid start to the year, where he’s hit back-to-back top 25s in California, Scheffler returns to the scene of a 7th place finish last year. With the quality approach play he’s shown over recent starts, this strong all-rounder can get in the mix again and hopefully pick up a maiden PGA Tour victory.

In his most recent start, when 20th in the Farmers Insurance Open, Scheffler was 3rd in the field in approach. Which was his best figure on tour since the 2020 Tour Championship. This a continuation of the quality in approach he was showing at the end of 2021. 

The rest of his game is strong. He’s good off-the-tee and possesses decent touch around-the-greens. The overall quality of his golf game shown in rankings of 21st tee-to-green and 19th all-round on the PGA Tour last year.

His putter the weakest part of his game though when everything else is in such good shape, a solid putter, which is what he is, is all he needs. However he does have history of putting these greens well, ranking 8th last year.

With the recent trend of first-time winners on tour, Scheffler ranks as one of the absolute best players without a victory yet and the most likely to get that breakthrough next. If able to draw on his top 10 here last year and build on his solid start to 2022, he certainly has the game to enter the winner’s circle for the first time on the PGA Tour this week.

Sam Burns each-way (8 places)
33/1
Odds correct as of 2022-02-07 16:55 Odds subject to change.

After missing the cut here on his first two visits, Sam Burns finally got the hang of TPC Scottsdale at the 3rd attempt, finishing 22nd last year and firing three rounds in the 60s. Now a two time winner on tour I think he’ll improve further on that 22nd in 2021 and looks an excellent fit, with the quality of his ball-striking and putting, for this test.

Burns finished 2021 in fine fashion, hitting the top 25 in each of his last nine appearances. Six of them top 10s and picked up his 2nd PGA Tour victory, after winning the Valspar Championship at the beginning of 2021, in the Sanderson Farms Championship.

For all his year is only two events old, he’s been a little underwhelming in those starts. Finishing 19th in the Tournament of Champions and then had a disappointing missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open last time out, largely down to an unusually poor performance with his irons. Though that was following a three-week break after the ToC and the hope is he was still blowing away a few cobwebs at Torrey Pines. 

Burns’ approach performance at the Farmers was described as unusually poor as he’s been producing excellent performances with his irons the last couple of years. Ranking 30th on tour last season and currently ranks 21st this. Backing that up with quality off-the-tee, where he ranks 21st on tour this season and has been driving it as accurately as he drives it long. 

Not just a strong ball-striker, he’s excellent on the greens and ranked 9th on tour last season in putting, showing a liking for the bermuda putting surfaces he’ll face this week. Including a field leading performance in putting in that 22nd place finish here last year. With both his victories coming when faced with bermuda on the greens. 

His win at the Valspar should correlate with here, as do top 10s in the Honda Classic, 3M Open and Fortinet Championship. The first three all water-laden courses where quality ball-strikers have had success, with the latter also the same of the Fortinet Championship.

Hopefully Burns’ misfiring performance at Torrey Pines was just a shaking off of any remaining rustiness. If he can produce the quality ball-striking and putting we’ve seen from him over the last 18 months he’s sure to go well.

US Masters odds
Keith Mitchell each-way (8 places)
100/1
Odds correct as of 2022-02-07 17:00 Odds subject to change.

Keith Mitchell finished 2021 in strong fashion, making his final four cuts of the year, including picking up a 3rd place finish on his fourth last start in the CJ Cup. Carrying on from where he left off there, he’s started 2022 in much the same form, with finishes of 7th and 12th in his first three starts. Back on his favoured bermuda greens, he can take advantage of the strength of his recent form and go well in Phoenix.

A lot of his recent performances have been engineered by the quality he possesses off-the-tee, whilst his short game has also seemed in good nick. Though it’s the strength of his approach play over the weekend at Pebble Beach that rounded off his appeal here, ranking 18th for the two recorded rounds there. He did, however, show positive signs in approach in his 7th place finish at the Sony Open two starts earlier, gaining strokes in each of his first three rounds.

He’s played here three times. Finishing 73rd on debut in 2019 and improving markedly on that in 2020, when he finished 16th, producing a field leading driving performance in the process. A missed cut last year was disappointing though he did follow a poor opening round of 75 with a three-under 68 in round two, highlighting his ability around the course.

I’m encouraged further by the scene of his solo PGA Tour victory to date, at PGA National in the Honda Classic. A course possessing many form-ties with TPC Scottsdale and a 5th place finish in the 3M Open last year offers extra credence to the thought that the course suits his game.

It’s been three years since Mitchell picked up that solo victory in Florida, though in doing so he held off Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler, showing a player who isn’t intimidated by the big names. This should stand him in good stead this week in a super strong field. 

If he can reproduce the ball-striking he’s shown of late, particularly the iron play from over the weekend at Pebble Beach, he has the personality to contend with excitable atmosphere here at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course.

Golf betting odds
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