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The rowdiest golf tournament of the year is upon us, it’s Waste Management Phoenix Open week.
It’ll be a 132-man field doing battle at TPC Scottsdale headlined by last year’s champion Rickie Fowler along with the likes of Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, and Justin Thomas.
As per usual the top 65 players and ties will make the cut this weekend.
Fowler won last year’s event at 17-under besting Branden Grace by two shots.
We all know about the Par 3 16th at TPC Scottsdale, but there are 17 other holes on the Tom Weiskopf design as well that make up the 7,261 yard Par 71 track. Overall, this really is one of the more fun stops on Tour from an overall golf course standpoint as it produces plenty of birdie chances, yet keeps players in check having to possess a strong tee to green game.
We’re also in Scottsdale which means native areas if players go wayward off the tee. It’s not a necessarily long course for these guys, but most players will still hit driver plenty.
As for the grass this week, we get bentgrass putting surfaces and Bermuda everywhere else, but the brown Bermuda has been overseeded with ryegrass to turn this place as green as possible. Speaking of grass, the rough shouldn’t be too penal this week, certainly not even close to what we saw a week ago at Torrey Pines.
Key Stats This Week: Strokes Gained: Around The Green, Strokes Gained: Approach and Par 5 scoring average.
Last week’s picks for the Farmers Insurance Open: Cameron Champ (T-16), Ryan Palmer (T-21) and Gary Woodland (MC).
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Sneds may have finished T-55 here a year ago, but he’s also got three Top 10’s at the Waste Management in his last nine appearances. He also enters the week fresh off of a T-3 finish at Torrey Pines last week on top of a T-12 finish at the Sony Open earlier this month.
TPC Scottsdale is a course players don’t have to overpower, which falls in Snedeker’s favor as well.
He picked up over three shots in strokes gained: approach last week finishing 14th in the field at Torrey Pines. Snedeker is also one of the best putters on Tour, which never hurts.
Last year’s PGA Tour Rookie of The Year finished T-7 in his tournament debut last year. He carded two 73’s last week at Torrey Pines en route to a T-36 finish, but his game clearly suits this place.
The 21-year-old picked up a T-10 finish at The American Express a few weeks back for his third top 10 in his nine starts in the new season.
It’s tough to find a weakness in Im’s game as he’s strong in every aspect. He may rank 202nd on Tour in strokes gained: approach this season, but finished 20th in that category at Farmers last week.
Not only is this Hovland’s first start on Tour in 2020, it’s his first appearance at Waste Management. I wouldn’t let that shy you away, however. He’s coming off of a T-23 last week at the Dubai Desert Classic and it’s felt like it’s only a matter of time before he gets his first win on Tour, so why not here?
He’s one of the game’s best ball-strikers that will find plenty of greens this week. All he needs is a remotely hot putter and he should be towards the top of the leaderboard come the weekend. His around the green game held him back just a bit last year, but that was last year.
Hovland has the tools to get it done on one of the wildest stages on Tour.