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2024 PGA Tour Preview: Waste Management Phoenix Open

Treacherous rain led the AT&T Pro-Am to be called after 54 holes. Wyndham Clark captured the win. The reigning U.S. Open champion carded a course record of 60 in the third round to earn the two-shot victory. This week, golf fans will be treated to one of the best tournaments on the PGA Tour schedule, the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It is known for its raucous crowds and exciting atmosphere. Along with this, the famous 16th hole helps deliver one of the most exciting finishes in sports. No longer a signature event like it was a year ago, the championship will still have a star-studded group of players, including world number one Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth, and Matt Fitzpatrick.

The Course

A Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish design, the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course opened 38 years ago in 1986. It measures 7,266 yards from the back tees and sits 1,530 feet above sea level. Ultimately renovated in 2014, the venue is home to the famous par-3 16th hole, featuring grandstands around the green that host one of the best atmospheres on Tour. Known as “The Coliseum” during tournaments, more than 20,000 fans will set up around the hole throughout the weekend.

The TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course presents a challenging layout with Bermuda grass fairways that make their way through the Arizona desert. It rewards accuracy off the tee as water comes into play on six holes. Furthermore, with cacti and rocks scattered throughout the track, poorly placed shots and mishits can place players in a world of trouble.

The Field

Set to host 132 players, Scheffler highlights a strong field at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He is looking to three-peat at the event. The 27-year-old captured the tournament for his first Tour victory in 2021. Along with this, the Texas native won the event in 2023 after a final round 65 to edge Nick Taylor by two strokes.

Joining Scheffler, Justin Thomas is off to a strong start to begin his season after a down year in 2023. The two-time PGA Championship winner has placed inside the top ten in both of his two starts, including a tie for sixth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am a week ago. Set to play in the 10th Waste Management Phoenix Open of his career, Thomas finished T8 at the event in 2022 before a solo fourth-place finish a year ago.

Chris Gallagher and Everett Davidson contributed to this article.

Chris’ Waste Management Phoenix Open Picks

Favorite: Jordan Spieth

Following a third-place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions to kickstart his 2024 season, Spieth now has three top-five finishes in his last six events dating back to last year. However, the former Masters champion struggled last week at Pebble Beach. He finished six under par, good for a tie for 39th place. Despite this, the 30-year-old gained strokes from tee to green while struggling with his putter. With a strong track record at the Waste Management Phoenix Open throughout his career, the 13-time Tour winner has finished inside the top ten in four of his last seven starts, including a tie for sixth in 2023. One of the best short-game players in the world; look for Spieth to heat up with his putter this week and be in contention on Sunday afternoon.

Favorite: Scottie Scheffler

When you look at Scheffler's ball-striking numbers through the first month of the 2024 Tour season, the numbers are astounding. The current world number one ranks fourth in strokes gained from tee to green (2.112), first in greens in regulation percentage (90), and first in birdie average (6.14). Coming off another top-ten finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the University of Texas product now has five of them in his last six starts, including a top-five finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and a win at the Hero World Challenge in November. The two-time defending champion at this event, he has shot a combined 35 under par in his previous two trips to TPC Scottsdale. Currently listed at just +450 odds, Scheffler is a threat to capture the tournament anytime he is in the field.

Sleeper: Min Woo Lee

Still searching for his first PGA Tour victory, Lee has won three times on the European Tour and once on the Asian Tour. In good form heading into the weekend, the 25-year-old has qualified for the weekend in nine consecutive tournaments. He finished sixth at the ZOZO Championship in October while grabbing a top five at the DP World Tour's Fortinet Australian PGA Championship. Elite off the tee, the five-year veteran ranks ninth in driving distance (309.0). He has picked up 16 yards per tee shot on the field over his last 24 rounds. Furthermore, the current world number 39 is second in the field in Par 4 scoring percentage, allowing him to attack the high-risk, high-reward holes present at TPC Scottsdale. No stranger to thriving in front of big crowds, Lee provides excellent value this week.

Everett's Waste Management Phoenix Open Picks

Favorite: Justin Thomas

Thomas is coming off two straight top-10s to start the season, with a tied-third finish at The American Express and a tied-sixth finish last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He has never won at TPC Scottsdale, but his last five finishes in the tournament are as follows: third, tied-third, tied-13th, tied-eighth, and fourth. Thomas hasn't won since the 2022 PGA Championship, which he won in a playoff over Will Zalatoris, but don't be surprised to see him rejoin the winner's circle this week.

Favorite: Hideki Matsuyama

Matsuyama has been somewhat mediocre to start 2024, with his best two finishes of the season coming in a tied-30th finish at the Sony Open and a tied-13th finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. However, the winner of the 2021 Masters has won here twice in the past, in 2016 and 2017, and he has a runner-up finish and two other top-10s in the tournament, as well. Matsuyama hasn't won since the 2022 Sony Open, he has had several close calls since, and this week could be the week he wins his ninth PGA Tour event.

Sleeper: Rickie Fowler

Fowler hasn't played well to start the year, with his best finish coming with a tied-47th last week at Pebble Beach, but he has a history here similar to Matsuyama's. He won this event in 2019, and he is a player who thrives off of the energy that the spectators will bring, especially at the par-3 16th hole. In addition to his win, Fowler has two runner-up finishes and five top-10s in his career at TPC Scottsdale. He finally broke through last year at the Rocket Mortgage Classic to win his first tournament since his win at Scottsdale in 2019, and he could win his second tournament in seven months this week.

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