We’ve been waiting all year for this. The greatest sporting event is in Phoenix this week and the Super Bowl is going to happen too. I am talking of course about the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the first full field “designated” event on the PGA tour. After the Saudis threw cash at the golf world, the PGA tour responded by taking some of their best events and pumping them full of cash. With a 20 million dollar purse, this tournament is four guys who play 54 holes a week away from being a major. But with a monster field, finding the right bets will be tough. Gone are the days of favorites under 5-1 like we’ve seen with Rahm in past weeks. Last thing before I get into the analysis. Bet “yes” on hole in one. TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole is the “Colosseum” and there are few more fun things in golf than watching the crowd go nuts when a tee shot rolls into the hole. Let’s win some money.
Just one man to beat: match up of the week
Scheffler to beat Cantlay and Homa +160
Scottie Scheffler is a consistent putter away from being the best player in the world. Since the start of 2022, Scottie has gained strokes putting 11 times. In those tournaments he’s finished; first four times, second twice, third once, seventh twice, and then two 25ths or worse I can absolutely explain away (the first round of the 2022 PLAYERS wasn’t completed until Saturday, the weather was so bad). Included in those wins is last year at the Waste Management, where he gained 6.5 strokes putting and beat Cantlay in a playoff. But not only that, the weeks where he does not putt well are still great. T11 at the AMEX despite being a negative putter, T9 at the Houston open despite losing two strokes putting, and second at the Tour Championship with a a whole THREE STROKES lost to the field The putter is absolutely a concern this weekend and going up against these two golfers is a dangerous play but every week Scottie plays he has elite upside with a still pretty high floor. Betting Scheffler is a really simple “IF” question. Do you think Scheffler putt well? IF yes, then bet to win. IF no, still bet him to beat Cantlay and Homa
Favorite Finishing Position
J.T Poston top 40 +110
This is all just a ploy to say “the postman delivers” in a column. J.T’s run of three consecutive t21 finishes came to an end at the AMEX two weeks ago when he disappointingly finished T6 in a very strong field (I was hoping he would finish 21st for the rest of time but he did not deliver on this one). While he is not one of the elites at this tournament, Poston has been an excellent ball striker lately and has been in phenomenal form. Guys like him are going to miss cuts, hell Rory Rahm and Tiger have missed cuts in their days, but when he makes the cut he clears the top 40 hurdle consistently and was t23 here last year gaining 3 strokes putting. While the Waste Management is not a putting contest, it is nice to see he has had success putting here and his ball striking has vastly improved in the last year. Poston won’t be in the winner’s circle after this weekend (be cool if he was because he’s my longshot bet) but plus money to be top 40 is a great spot and I expect the Postman to deliver a winner here.
One Nation, Under Odds
Garrick Higgo Top South African +210
There are four South Africans in this field and Garrick has been the best of late. Don’t look at his overall numbers because most of those come from when he was playing with his last coach. Since he changed coaches he’s made three straight cuts and has two top 20 finishes and you can see it on his face and in his numbers. His Tee to green numbers have really improved and that will be vital this week to compete. The putter is inconsistent, but when were talking about players of Higgo’s ilk, the putter is always inconsistent. Of the other three South Africans, his biggest competition is Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Bez weeee den out) but he has really struggled in the states losing as many as 8 strokes to the field at the Sony Open where a lot of that was lost ball striking and in approach. Garrick just got out of a toxic relationship and appears to be thriving. Thrive with him.
Sungjae Im +2500
Just getting this out of the way. Rahm and Rory are in this tournament and you can never go wrong betting them. I just don’t want to write about them. I prefer Rory to Rahm if you’re going to pick one. Now let’s talk Sungjae. Actually, not yet. South Korean golf is having a moment, a golden age of you, and I think South Korea has a chance for a Fleabag season 2 level of perfection this year. Si Woo has already won (and is shakin dat azz), Tom Kim is the hottest name in the sport, K.H Lee has already won the 2023 Byron Nelson taking place later this year in Texas, and Sungjae could be the hot priest of South Korea (I’m going to be honest, I don’t fully understand what I am doing with Fleabag right now but if you haven’t seen it go watch it). Ok now lets talk Im. Im finished runner up 4 times last year and is primed to break through this year in a big way. Sungjae is an excellent ballstriker and his putter is more consistent than guys like Scottie Scheffler and Colin Morikawa. I don’t think Sungjae has a Scottie Scheffler level upside where he wins 4 tournaments in two months but I could see his path mimicking Scottie’s with a win this week and a whole lot of momentum on his way to the Masters
Tony Finau +1800
A man affectionately known as Top Ten Tony, has really become Top Tier Tony, winning 3 times Since the end of July and has had 5 tournaments gaining 10 or more strokes to the field. He does it across the strokes gained board, having tournaments where he dominates tee to green or he’ll put the lights out and sometimes both. He also has elite course history (except last year) and he’s Tony Finau! He has serious win equity here and he’s 18-1 twice as good of odds as Rory. If you are looking at serious winners, the board stops at Tom Kim at 28-1. Anyone after that obviously has a chance but the winner is coming from the top of the betting board this week and few have more value than Finau.
The Jesster’s Laughably good bet of the week
Already mentioned the “Yes” on Hole-in-one (-165 or +250 if you put it on 16 specifically) so lets get freaky. We’re going with Finau to win/Im to top 5/ Scheffler to top 10 / Fowler to top 20/ Higgo to top 40 and Kieth Mitchell to lead after round one. One dollar to win 156k. put 10 on it and retire.
About the Author
Loot said I don’t have to do this every time but I like it.
Cody “the Jesster” Jess