While many are gearing up for the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Waste Management Open is my favorite non-major golf tournament of the year. I’ll even say that if golf is still going on when the Super Bowl starts, as it was last year, I’ll probably be watching golf. Anyway, featuring the electric 16th hole stadium along with the drivable 17th right after, the Waste Management Open always features a dramatic finish and lots of drama on Super Bowl Sunday. Here’s a look at the course this week, TPC Scottsdale.
TPC Scottsdale is a 7,266 yard Par 71 that features three reachable Par 5’s, along with 11 par 4’s. After undergoing a slight redesign in 2015, driving distance is always important here, as being in the desert, there is little rough and golfers must mostly work to avoid the sporadic fairway bunkers along the course. That said, iron play is always the most imperative stat here, so strokes-gained approach will be crucial this week. Here are my stats for this week:
- Strokes Gained Approach
- Par 5 Birdie or Better
- Birdie or Better
(Disclaimer: since it’s still early in the season, I’ll be using 2017 stats for the article)
Here are my picks:
Hideki Matsuyama $11,500
Don’t overthink it: Hideki may be the best course horse on any course all year. He’s played TPC Scottsdale 4 times, placing 4th, 2nd, 1st, and 1st in his last four tries. Attempting to make it a trifecta of wins this year, Hideki comes in with good form, featuring 3 top 10’s in his last 4 starts. On top of this, he’s 7th in SG APP, 1st in Par 5 BoB, and 3rd in overall BoB. I’ll be playing around 60% Hideki in GPP’s this week, and you should do the same with the value options that are available at the bottom.
Rickie Fowler $10,400
I’m hoping Rickie’s on-the-number missed cut last week draws people off him, cause his salary is far too low this week. Despite coming into this tournament with an MC the previous two years, Fowler has managed back to back Top 5’s at TPC Scottsdale. He’s 38th in SG APP, 9th in BoB Par 5, and 4th in BoB overall. I’ll likely be fading the others at the top and splitting my Hideki/Fowler shares rather evenly, and it’s even possible to fit them in together with the value at the bottom if you want.
Webb Simpson $8,900
Webb Simpson has reinvigorated his game this year, especially on the greens. His form is solid coming in, and along with this, he has 4 top 10’s in his last five tries here with a runner-up last year, making him another course horse in Scottsdale. Though priced amongst the game’s elite, Webb is *underpriced* in my opinion, as his form and course history combined with the 21st ranking in SG APP makes him an appealing midrange target this week if opting for a balanced approach.
Matt Kuchar $8,400
Another player who is underpriced this week, Kuch should be a cash game staple at Scottsdale, per usual. Never missing a cut with a pair of top 10’s here, Kuchar is a good target in the mid-range for consistency, as he’s not the flashiest of plays or the best statically but he will likely get the job done in cash games with an almost guaranteed made cut with backdoor Top 10 upside.
Ryan Palmer $7,900
After regrettably fading him last week, Palmer appears to be back, as with the improving health of his wife and strong off-the-tee game, Palmer is playing great golf. Coming in with a T2 last week and two Top 5’s in the last five years at TPC Scottsdale, Palmer is a strong target for both cash and GPP. Despite his poor year last year, he was 24th in SG APP, making him statically appealing this week as well.
Brendan Steele $7,800
Steele is not a flashy play, but his course history is undeniable here, as he has three Top 10’s in the past 6 years here while also never finishing worse than 26th. He’s a good par 5 scorer – ranking 33rd in BoB Par 5 – while also being 31st in BoB overall. I haven’t faded Steele the last two years I’ve played DFS at this tournament and it has yet to fail me, so he’s a cash game staple for me this week
Zach Johnson $7,700
ZJ may be the most egregious Draftkings misprice of the week, as despite coming in with four straight Top 25’s and three straight Top 15’s here at TPC Scottsdale, he’s priced amongst some of the game’s mediocre players. I’ll be well overweight on the tour veteran this week, as he appears to have revitalized his game this year and should be a candidate for a Top 10 finish this week.
Kevin Na $6,900
Oh, how many times you have burned me, Kevin. Why should I do this again? Notorious for his slow play and sometimes annoying attitude, I’m not a big fan of Na. However, Na has some of the most consistent course history, despite oftentimes below-average form, as he’s made 9/10 cuts here over the past ten years with three Top 10’s. Also, shouting out my favorite golf podcast The Fantasy Golf Degenerates, Na is *first* in SG APP this season despite poor showings, so I’ll be playing lots of Na down low this week in GPP’s and cash.
William (Dirt) Mcgirt $6,900
You never feel great about playing Dirt McGirt, but he’s a good play this week for the same reasons as Na: great course history for a low priced player. McGirt has never finished worse than 32nd here in 6 tries and comes in with some solid showings under his belt during the spring season. He won’t wow you statically, but precedence shows he’s a good target this week.
Brandon Harkins $6,800
I’m excited about Brandon Harkins this week, as the Scottsdale resident and Web.com tour grad comes into his hometown with impenetrable current form – three Top 25’s in a row. He’s never played here before, but he told the Golf Channel last week how comfortable he feels on these West Coast tracks and sleeping in his own bed won’t hurt the cause. On top of this, this season he’s 30th in BoB Par 5, so fire him up in GPPs and even cash this week to pair with your studs up top.
That’s it for the picks this week, so enjoy the festive atmosphere at the Waste Management Open and make sure to tune in, as it’s always fun to watch the players deal with the electric environment.