Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Waste Management Phoenix Open
After a terrific leaderboard this weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open, the PGA Tour gets another jolt of energy as the field takes on the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The 16th hole is one of the most exciting on Tour, as golfers will tackle a short par 3 with a raucous crowd ready to embrace them or turn on them at a moment's notice.
A strong field tees it up this week in Arizona, where the 7,261-yard par 71 awaits. The course features three par 5s that are all between 540 and 560 yards, each a must-have birdie opportunity. The 16th is followed by another shortie, the reachable 317-yard par 4, which is perennially among the easiest par 4s on Tour. Last year's winner, Rickie Fowler, birdied the 17th in each of his four rounds, the only golfer in the top 10 to play the hole at 4-under par for the week.
While not close to a major championship-caliber event, the WMPO has a certain mood that brings out the best in the field. Each of the past four winners is currently ranked inside the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and as we'll see in the Course History Studs section the big boys have dominated this event over the past few years. No one style dominates, as we've seen bombers and grinders compete year in and year out.
As for the elements, well let's just say January in Arizona is why people live in Arizona. Clear skies with temps topping out in the mid-70s are expected this week, with little to no wind or wave advantage.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: TPC Scottsdale
Distance: 7,261 yards
Fairways/Rough: Bermudagrass overseeded with ryegrass, including some fescue in the rough
Greens: TifEagle Bermudagrass overseeded with poa trivialis
|Season||Par||Yardage||Average Score||Avg O/U Par||Rank|
This course skews on the shorter side, and while six of the par 4s fall between 445 and 480 yards, none are longer and golfers can expect a fairly straightforward test this week with a variety of hole lengths. The key for many will be finding their ideal range for their approaches, as the course is quite susceptible to a driver and wedge fest if the long enough hitters choose to go that route. On the other hand, accurate drivers who gain with their mid-long irons have thrived here over the past few years.
Fowler won by 2 strokes with his 17-under performance, which is right on the mark as the winner has fallen between 14- and 18-under par in each of the past 6 installments. Rickie's ball striking was far from his best over the weekend, but he was able to secure the victory with a white-hot putter -- he gained more than three strokes in each of the final two rounds.
For comparable courses, we look first to the host of the Safeway Open, the North Course at Silverado Resort & Spa. Both courses allow average drives over 300 yards and rank in the bottom third in accuracy.
Bay Hill Club and Lodge and the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort feature TifEagle bermudagrass, host good fields (with the Valspar taking a hit only recently due to schedule changes) and require a well-rounded game. And finally, we have the now retired Firestone Country Club, former host of the WGC-Bridgestone. Firestone required both accuracy, length, and overlaps most obviously with Hideki Matsuyama, who does not rack up wins at a very high rate and has won at both courses.
These stats will be the keys to success in the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.
|Key Stats for the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Proximity Gained 150-175 yards|
Golfers can choose their adventure off the tee -- both bombers and short, straight hitters have found success at Scottsdale as long as they brought their best with the irons. Fowler had a fluky putting performance, but was also atypically awful tee to green on Sunday especially. In each of the three prior years, the winner ranked inside the top four in strokes gained: approach for the week.
Given the large greens (average of about 7,100 square feet), just reaching a green in regulation is not good enough. Queue opportunities gained, which Fantasy National defines as a green or fringe in regulation 15 feet or closer to the hole. With all par 4s under 480 yards, a large portion of those approaches are going to come from the 150-175 range. These three stats complement each other and when combined should help us identify which golfers are playing their best on the all-important second shot.
Of course, finding the green only matters if you're able to convert those opportunities. We'll use birdies or better gained to find golfers who can score, and much of that scoring will come on the par 5s. Over the past four years, the top player on par 5s at the Waste Management Phoenix Open has finished second, first, first, and second.
Course History Studs
Fowler survived an up and down Sunday (does Rickie have any other kind of Sunday?) to hold on for the win last year, well-earned after having finished T11, T4, and 2nd the three years prior.
Hideki Matsuyama is a two-time winner here, and aside from a withdraw in 2018 he has five appearances that all ended inside the top 15.
Jon Rahm matriculated at nearby Arizona State and has been terrific at this event since turning pro. He was T5 as an amateur in 2015, and after skipping 2016 he's finished T16, T11, and T10.
Quite a few other golfers have consistently played well here, and this seems like a track where comfort level can be a good indicator of future results: Brendan Steele, Martin Laird, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Gary Woodland, and Chez Reavie are some of the names with multiple top 10s at TPC Scottsdale.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.