The Waste Management Phoenix Open shares the spotlight with the Super Bowl every year and is one of the few non-majors able to carry that burden. The gallery of full of inebriated shenanigans that create a fun and light-hearted atmosphere, but TPC Scottsdale is also a real good test for the players because it is a course that requires a lot of calculated risk.
The par 4s are tough and par is a good score on the 3s. The par 5s are where you can make up some ground, but this is a course where players are left with tough decisions in the tee box and an errant tee shot can leave a nearly impossible second shot. There is a lot more to this event than frat brothers drinking tallboys in The Coliseum. This is a legitimately strong tournament with a solid field and a great one to follow.
We’ll be looking for the top value picks for this weekend’s event with salaries from DraftKings for those DFS players that are getting in on the action.
Andrew Putnam ($8,500) – Andrew Putnam is a little bit pricier than we usually like to go with this weekly article, but it is hard to ignore what he has done with the flatstick so far this season. The Arizona native is second on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting and you can save yourself a lot of heartache on this course by saving par and avoiding the big numbers. He’s already got two top-five finishes this season and played well at the Desert Classic with 26 birdies on 72 holes. The problem is that he had a couple doubles and a triple. Putnam has had at least 19 birdies in his three January events and has really come into his own over the last eight months. He’s got a win at the Barracuda Championship, a fourth at the WGC-HSBC at Sheshan, and a runner-up at Waialae. We’re buying high, but for good reason.
Tyrrell Hatton ($7,900) – You better score on the par 4s here if you want to have a chance at a win. Tyrrell Hatton is third in birdie or better percentage on par 4s so far this year at 28.75 percent. That is a big help going into this tournament. Not only has Hatton made putts and gotten to add some circles to his card, but that also means that he’s been in position for a lot of two-putt pars on par 4 holes. That should be good enough to keep him in contention this week. Hatton is coming over from Dubai, which is a little bit concerning, but it should allow him to refocus after a couple of tough European Tour events.
Martin Laird ($7,600) – Outside of Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, and Phil Mickelson, there may not be a better horse for course at TPC Scottsdale than Martin Laird. Surprised? Us, too, but Laird really has been nails here. He’s a guy with three top-10 finishes in the last four years in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He was ninth last year, seventh in 2017, and fifth in 2015. Laird has not played well since the calendar flipped to 2019, but there’s something about this course that brings out the best in the wily vet and it’s hard to pass on that at a very reasonable price.
Si Woo Kim ($7,500) – Si Woo Kim has played a ton of golf so far this season. That’s what makes his 25 percent birdie or better rate on par 4s so impressive. Kim 68 birdie or better scores on his 272 par 4 holes during the 2018-19 PGA Tour season. He narrowly missed the cut at Waialae, but played pretty well at 1-under. Kim needs to capitalize more on the par 5s and avoid the boxes on par 3s, but he’s done really well on par 4s and that is more than half the battle here. Six of the 10 par 4s on this course played above par last year and one played right at 4.000 strokes. If Kim can keep hitting fairways and start making some putts, he’ll get a big win sooner rather than later. Hopefully it happens this week.
Aaron Baddeley ($6,800) – There are a lot of local angles that can be played this week. Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson, and Chez Reavie all played at Arizona State for example. Aaron Baddeley is a Scottsdale resident and he is coming off of a solid top-20 finish in the Desert Classic. He skipped last week at Torrey Pines, which is probably for the best, since he’ll be fresh for this tournament. Baddeley only had two bogeys and a double at the Desert Classic to go along with two eagles and 16 birdies. He is a good putter and that should help as long as he gets some GIRs this week at a course that he should know very well.