For anyone new to the golf world, The Waste Management Phoenix Open is a very unique event for players and spectators alike. The tournament really can’t be compared to any others and as ironic as it may seem to some, the reason for this is the massive and often times rowdy crowd the event draws. The par-3 16th hole is undoubtedly the most entertaining spot on the course and is a sight to see. Instead of sitting here trying to describe it, here you go:
A fun piece of history from the 16th hole back in 1997 – Tiger Woods’ ace. Whether you’ve seen it or not, it’s always worth another look: Check it out here
With that said, let’s break down the course and some things to think about while building those DFS lineups on this week’s slate.
The Stadium Course @ TPC Scottsdale: 7,261 yards, par 71 (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Thinking about this course from an actual golf perspective, there are a few things to take into consideration. First, its desert golf and the course isn’t all that long. It’s very possible to go low, but there is definitely some trouble that comes into play. Beyond the fairway, you will see plenty of bunkers and not a lot of rough. Instead of rough, you’re looking…well, desert. Dry and hard ground, trees, bushes, and other trouble. The type of golfer we were looking for the last couple weeks was the long-ball hitter who could get a leg up on the field by smashing drives and getting reasonable approach looks. While distance is never necessarily a bad thing, it’s not going to be as important this week as it has the last couple tournaments. Accuracy off the tee as well as accuracy in general in addition to the ability to get up and down when the greens don’t hold will be of the utmost importance in this desert golf setting. With that said, here are the stats I chose to focus on this week, all in comparison to the field over each golfer’s last 36-rounds (as always, stats are compliments of fantasynational.com): SG tee to green, DK points scored, SG scrambling, greens in regulation gained (GIR), SG putting, SG approach, SG par 4, good drives gained, and birdie or better. For starters, here’s a breakdown of notable performances at this event over the past three years, this time with last week’s results included. This list is a bit more extensive than usual, and includes all notable history, whether positive or not:
Studs – $10,000+ (DraftKings Pricing)
Hideki Matsuyama ($11,500): First off – the obvious: Hideki has some absurd history at this event. The past three years he’s finished 2nd, 1st, 1st. That combined with his 5th place finish at the Hero World Challenge in November and 4th in the Tournament of Champions in January justify his top of the slate price point. As I’ve talked about before, we definitely saw Hideki slow down a bit toward the end of last season after the little end of summer run he went on. However, it’s hard to ignore the tournament history and recent play despite his taking a couple weeks off. Yes, it’s a big salary but he may just have what it takes at this course, as he demonstrated the past three years.
Jordan Spieth ($11,400): It’s great to see names like Spieth back in the field. He too has a large price tag but he definitely stands out in the field. His most recent start was in January at the Sony Open where he finished 18th after going 69-68-66-66. In his past two starts at TPC Scottsdale he’s finished 7th and 9th. For 36-round stats in the field, he certainly stands out at 1st SG tee to green, 4th DK points, 8th SG scrambling, 3rd GIR gained, 63rd putting (trending back on up believe it or not), 4th SG approach, 1st SG par 4, and 5th birdie or better. Another guy that is very hard to ignore.
Rickie Fowler ($10,400): We see Rickie this week at a slightly decreased price after last week’s missed cut. I am leaning towards ignoring last week’s MC (by one stroke) due to the whole sponsorship thing and him just flat out not having luck at the event over the past few years. Fowler finished 2nd here in 2016 and 4th last year. I will surely be giving him another chance here as last week was not all bad – we saw flashes of good and flashes of bad. Don’t count him out.
Other Studs: The other two in this pricing tier are Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas. Jon Rahm has played a lot of golf in the very recent past. He’s a young guy – I really think he can handle it, but we did see him slow down a bit this past weekend at the Farmers. This is a fair price considering what he’s accomplished lately. Justin Thomas on the other hand has taken a break and is just now jumping back in. The fact he’s missed the cut here the past two years is enough for me to stay away. Last year he was coming off a very hot start to the season before coming here and missing the cut, so either it’s not his event or he was dragging coming off of the two wins. I won’t say you can’t roster him, but there are others I’d rather pay up (or down) for here.
Mid-Range Options ($8,000 – $9,900)
Webb Simpson ($8,900): This is the kind of course that I see fitting Webb Simpson’s game. He’s made 5 cuts in 5 starts this season and placed 4th at the Sony Open after his 3rd round 63. He’s a guy that can keep the ball in play, scramble, and avoid big mistake. As demonstrated in his last couple starts, he can also go very low. This price is outstanding for him here especially coming off of a 2nd place finish at this event last year. I could see him being a pretty popular play.
Matt Kuchar ($8,400): Similar to Simpson, I think this course fits Kuchar’s style of play. Another guy who can keep it straight, avoid big mistakes, and score score score. He finished 30th here in 2015 and 9th last year. Another great price for the potential upside.
Phil Mickelson ($8,500): I have personally been hot and cold on Phil, as I usually am. His relatively consistent play last week combined with course history and the short game he’s known for is enough to justify this price tag. Some notable 36-round stats in the field: 41st SG tee to green, 19th DK points, 11th SG approach, and 17th birdie or better. The mid $8k’s is where Phil belongs and he’s always a safe cut-making play.
Others Mid-Range Options I like: Gary Woodland, Marc Leishman, Tony Finau
Value Options: ($7,000 – $7,900)
Zach Johnson ($7,700): Yes. Yes yes yes. I am a little confused by the price to be honest. The only thing that makes me think twice is the fact I believe he’ll be very high owned when you take into consideration his course history, recent play, and price. He’s made 5 cuts in 5 starts this season and has finished top-25 in each and every one of them. I don’t think there’s much more to be said here.
J.J. Spaun ($7,500): This is a guy I am keeping a close eye on. He had a great fall run and hasn’t fallen too far since. He is a very moderate price this week and despite his missed cut at the Career Builder, he has been very promising. He has shown promise at this event finishing 4th here last year and I believe he has only gotten more comfortable since – finishing 23rd last week. For 36-round stats in the field, Spaun is 20th SG tee to green, 31st DK points, 15th GIR gained, 18th SG approach, 24th SG par 4, 22nd good drives gained, and 12th birdie or better.
Keegan Bradley ($7,400): I hate to love Keegan and love to hate Keegan. One way or another, he’s been very solid thus far this season and he’s shown us what he’s capable of in Scottsdale. He is very affordable here and is coming off a very impressive 5th place finish last week. For 36-round stats in the field, he’s 6th SG tee to green, 17th DK points, 7th GIR gained, 19th SG approach, 18th good drives gained, and 36th birdie or better.
Other Value Options I like: Brendan Steele, Patton Kizzire, Charley Hoffman, Ryan Palmer, Adam Hadwin, Brandt Snedeker, Francesco Molinari
Low-Cost/Honorable Mentions (<$7,000): Chesson Hadley, Kevin Na, Brandon Harkins, Ryan Blaum, Peter Uihlein, Cheng Tsung Pan, Kevin Streelman, Alex Cejka, William McGirt
Thanks for reading – feel free to reach out on Twitter @donaldremington with questions or comments & be on the lookout for the 2nd ever @LineupLogic PGA Podcast coming this week. Good luck this week!