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WM Phoenix Open: Best Bets and Course Info

Let the party begin! The PGA’s most exciting tournament of the year is this week: The WM Phoenix Open. While it’s most well-known for the stadium surrounding Par 3 16th, the entire course is entertaining and will be covered by fans. There will be over 200,000 fans on the TPC Scottsdale grounds this weekend. Not only is it by far the largest in-person PGA event, it will also be the most-watched non-major of the year. Many Super Bowl parties will begin with watching the final pairing finish the last few holes in Phoenix.

Unfortunately, many of the PGA’s best will not be teeing it up in Phoenix this time around. Both Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele have been late withdrawals from the field. Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, and Ludvig Aberg are also forgoing the WM Phoenix Open. The story will be Scottie Scheffler versus the field. Scottie, a +450 favorite, will be looking to be the first player to 3-peat since 2011. Let’s take a closer look at TPC Scottsdale, and how to pinpoint keys to success in the desert.

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The Course: TPC Scottsdale

The par 71 course will stretch to be close to 7,300 yards. Distance typically is not a huge factor here, as elevation helps towards lengthening drives. It will be much more important to stay out of the hazards off the tee. Most holes are surrounded by desert, making approach shots much more difficult. Fairways and greens are very firm, especially compared to the wet conditions Pebble Beach offers. Golfers must be vigilant in executing exact distances, or their balls will certainly roll into the rocky desert terrain.

Should golfers successfully find the fairways, from there the key to success is very clear. Approach is always important for success, but even more so at TPC Scottsdale. Take a look at recent winners. Scottie Scheffler twice, Hideki Matsuyama twice, and Gary Woodland. All world-class ball-strikers who have their shortcomings on the green. When placing bets this week, do not shy away from someone who has struggled putting. If history has shown us anything, anyone and everyone can make putts in Phoenix.

Best Bets: WM Phoenix Open

Justin Thomas (+1000)

For the second week in a row, I’m backing Justin Thomas. Had it not been for the rain, he definitely had a chance to make a run in the final run. While this is not at the appealing +2500 price last week,  I still believe +1000 is a fair price for his form and history in Phoenix.

Thomas has been a Top 5 player in the world since the conclusion of the 2023 season. You could argue even better than the Top 5. In 5 events, his worst finish was last week’s T6 at the shortened Pebble Beach. His approach is back to his usual form, gaining over 5 strokes in 3 straight events. His form is undoubtedly the best in the field. You could argue behind Scheffler, his course history is the second-best in the field. Over the last 5 years, his worst finish here is a T13. He also has a T8, 4th, and two third-place finishes.

It has gotten to the point where I may have to continue betting JT until he wins. With how he’s playing, I promise you it won’t be long before he’s in the winner’s circle once again. Justin Thomas is the type of golfer who thrives under pressure and in front of crowds, and if that doesn’t define the WM Phoenix Open perfectly, I don’t know what does. Justin Thomas will get it done in Scottsdale!

Kurt Kitayama (+7000)

I don’t think I’ve ever bet on Kurt Kitayama, but there’s a first time for everything. The main reason I’ve decided to do it this week is his profile fits perfectly.

Similar to those that have won here in the past, Kitayama relies heavily on his ball-striking. He has gained strokes from Tee to Green in 9 consecutive events. He’s also lost strokes putting in all 9 events. It’s worth noting that in his only time playing in the WM Phoenix Open, Kitayama gained strokes in every facet of the game. I see no reason to believe he can’t do this again.

This is truly a play on how victors have found success in the past. Notoriously bad putters have come into TPC Scottsdale and were so good getting to the greens, they just had to be average putting to win. And that’s exactly what I expect Kurt Kitayama will do this week.

J.B. Holmes (+250000, +2800 Top 30)

I know what you’re thinking… John, you are an absolute nut job if you think J.B. Holmes can compete in a PGA event, let alone make the cut in one. And that’s fair, as he’s made a total of two cuts since 2021. But there’s something about TPC Scottsdale that makes J.B. spark…

Of his 5 career wins, 2 of them came here. Dating back to 2006, he’s played here every single year other than 2022. Even in recent years where he’s started to really struggle competing, he’s still held his own at the WM Phoenix Open. You could claim his game has been on the decline since 2016. Since then, he has recorded a Top 26 or better in 4 of the 7 times he’s played TPC Scottsdale.

A win bet is not my purpose of including J.B. Holmes in this write-up. I will say, that everyone reading this has $4, and that would turn into $10,000 if he were to win. That’s outrageous. My main play is Top 30 at +2800. I was shocked to see the odds that high. For a golfer to have as much success at a course as J.B. does here, I don’t care how old or out of form they are. If you’re going to give me 28/1 for him to just finish in the Top 30, I will bet that every time! This is BY FAR my favorite bet of the week.

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