Waste Management Phoenix Open
Thursday, February 25 Sunday, February 28, 2010
TPC Scottsdale Scottsdale, Arizona
The Golf Channel
by Evergreen of Predictem.com
The last week in February also serves the last week of the West Coast Swing for the PGA Tour as the pros head to TPC Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The Tour makes the jump to Florida next week to start the run-up to the Masters, but dont overlook this event as a very strong field remains from last weeks WGC event and the atmosphere at the host course is among the most electric in all of golf. Kenny Perry is the defending champion this week and will have a tough road to make it two in a row as most of the worlds best are entered, including Phil Mickelson.
The TPC at Scottsdale is one of the favorite venues among players in the Tours regular rotation. For the championship, the par-71 track will play 7,216 and ranks right about in the middle in terms of difficulty each year. In 2009, the winning total was at 14-under, but has run as high as 21-under, most recently in 2006 and 2007. There are two key stretches on the course, with holes five through eight containing four of the five most difficult holes followed by the five easiest holes on the course from holes thirteen to seventeen. If any player can get through the mid-part of the round in good shape, a score like the course record of 60 is out there. Long players will have a distinct advantage this week as the bomb and gouge strategy will work at TPC Scottsdale. In 2009, the field averaged just 50% in fairways hit, yet still managed an under-par stroke average. The wide-open layout and desert air allowed the field average on the driving holes to top out at just over 300 yards.
Each week, we take a look at the golf gambling sites and highlight a few players we like to win it all. Well give you a short, middle and long odds player to win as well as breakdown a few head to head matches. Here are our picks for the 2010 WM Phoenix Open.
Short Favorite: Geoff Ogilvy (18 to 1 odds to win)
Ogilvy was supposed to make another run at the Accenture last week, but the king of WGC match play ran into a hot Camilo Villegas in the second round and earned a few extra days off. Geoff was brilliant in Hawaii on the way to winning the SBS and ranks 1st on Tour in breaking par with birdies on 36% of his holes played in 2010. Why he could win: Accuracy. Although Ogilvy is known for more being really good at almost everything versus excellent at a few things, his accuracy stats in 2010 are among the best on Tour. His sample set is limited, but hitting 7 out of 10 fairways and 8 out of 10 greens is a great way to stay relevant in any tournament. Geoff also has the length to challenge the course when he needs to, so he fits all the stat requirements to win this week.
Middle of the Road: J.B. Holmes (22 to 1 odds)
Holmes is a two-time champ here and looks to like the even-numbered years with his wins coming in 2006 and 2008. J.B. is off to a really nice start, earning T27, T3, and T2 finishes so far and is a combined 33-under in those events. Why he could win: Length. Holmes is rarely hitting first into the greens in any pairing and has the complementary game to boot. J.B. owns the 16th best putting average in 2010, leading to top-10 ranks in both birdie and scoring average. Fairways arent always seen by Homes, but he does have the best scrambling percentage on ball played from the rough, so he knows how to score from the spinach.
Longshot: Kevin Na (33 to 1 odds)
Na is likely off to his best start on the PGA with two top10 finishes so far and has a great track record here of late with a 4th and a T3 in 2008/09. If you follow this preview weekly, you know how we like the hot putters, and Na comes in ranked 9th in overall putting average and no one is better in terms of putts per round this year. Why he could win: Birdies. While that really isnt a brilliant statement as very few players win without a ton of birdies, Na always seems to be knocking them down and comes in with the 12th most in 2010 play. If Kevin can minimize the mistakes, he can let the putter and those birdies work him all the way to the front page come Sunday. A nice scrambling rank of 21st shows hes got a grip on avoiding the blow-up and Scottsdale isnt the most penalizing of courses.
Head to Head Matches (our pick) *all matches are for entire event, check with your favorite online bookie for single round matches, updated daily.
Brian Gay (-115) v. Kenny Perry (-115) (Gay)
Gay got the better of this head to head in match play, and we like him to take out the defending champ this week as well. Perry has the edge in distance but his Tour leading GIR% is going to waste as he owns just the 124th best scoring average. Gay has the 55th best scoring mark and his solid numbers in fairways hit and putting average almost make him a guarantee to seethe weekend. Too many mistakes for Perry right now make him tough to bet on.
Nick Watney (-115) v. Zach Johnson (-115) (Johnson)
Statistically, this one is a bit one sided on favor of Johnson. Zach owns major advantages in putting average and ballstriking and hits more fairways with a nearly identical driving distance. Watney is a solid pro with a strong overall game, but Johnson looks to have this one pretty easily and there is nothing about the track that will eliminate his stat advantage this week.