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Waste Management Phoenix Open Course Preview: Desert Form Key to Success in Phoenix

Waste Management Phoenix Open Course Preview. This week, The PGA Tour stops at one of the most iconic events on Tour, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and Tom Jacobs breaks down what is required to succeed at the TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course.
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Waste Management Phoenix Open Course Preview: Desert Form Key to Success in Phoenix

We are back in business! After a plethora of multi-course events to start the season, we are now finally back to a single-course event and it’s one we are more than familiar with. The Waste Management Phoenix Open has been a part of the Tour since 1987, and the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale has been ever-present in that time. Host to some of iconic moments over the years, including a hole-in-one from Tiger Woods in 1997, the 16th hole at the Stadium Course provides an incredible stage for players and fans alike. Let’s take a look at the course in more detail, and what it will take to win here.

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The Course

TPC Scottsdale (Stadium)

  • Length: 7,261 Yards
  • Par: 71
  • Greens: Bermuda (over-seeded w/ Poa, Bent and Rye grass)
  • Designer: Tom Weiskopf, Jay Morrish (Weiskopf renovation 2015)
  • Course Record: 60 (-11) - Four times. Most recently Phil Mickelson in 2011 and 2013.

Olympic Club

Webb Simpson won the 2012 U.S Open at Olympic Club and has won this event. Jason Dufner was T4 at that same US Open and 2nd here. John Peterson also contended there (T4) in 2012, and finished T12 here, which was one of his best finishes on Tour. Padraig Harrington finished T4 at the US Open, and has been T9 here. This isn’t to say to look for players that played well in that 2012 US Open, but more to highlight form on Weiskopf designs translates.

TPC Craig Ranch

This course hosted the Nationwide Tour Championship in 2008 and 2012. James Hahn finished 2nd in the 2012 Nationwide Tour Championship and has posted two top-11’s here and was leading at one stage on the back nine last year. Craig Ranch now also hosts the AT&T Byron Nelson, with 2021 being its first renewal. KH Lee, who finished 2nd here last year, won the Byron Nelson, so it might be worth looking at the 2021 Byron Nelson leaderboard. Torrey Pines (North Course) - Weiskopf redesigned the North Course at Torrey Pines in 2016. Look for good scores from 2017 onward on that golf course.

Correlating Courses & Events

Players Championship

Like any time the Players is included in these lists, you must proceed with caution. Elite players tend to win both of these events, and most can win anywhere. I do like the correlation between the greens though. Both events feature greens that are Bermuda-mixed with Poa.

Hideki Matsuyma has won both events.

Webb Simpson has won both events.

Rickie Fowler has won both events.

Phil Mickelson has won both events.

Lee Janzen won both events.

Sandy Lyle won both events.

Hal Sutton won both events.

Jerry Pate won both events.

Calvin Peete won both events.

Lanny Wadkins won both events.

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American Express

Both events are hosted in the desert and require a ton of birdies, so it makes sense there is crossover here. Phil Mickelson has won both events multiple times. Mark Wilson has won both events. Kenny Perry has won both events. Jason Dufner has won the American Express and finished runner-up here. Charley Hoffman has won the American Express and finished runner-up here. Adam Long has won the American Express and finished 8th here. Hudson Swafford has won the American Express and finished 9th here. Justin Leonard has won the American Express and finished runner-up here. Jesper Parnevik, John Rollins and Ryan Palmer have runner-up finishes at both events. Tony Finau has finished 2nd here and 4th at the American Express.

Course Form (Past 10 Years)

Below is the Top-10 for adjusted scoring average over the past 10 years at this event:

Branden Grace - 2-9

Louis Oosthuizen - 3-11

Hideki Matsuyama - 4-2-1-1-WD-15-16-42

Xander Schauffele - 17-10-16-2

Matthew NeSmith - 7

Jon Rahm - 5-16-11-10-9-13

Brooks Koepka - 1-41-42-1

Justin Thomas - 17-MC-MC-17-3-3-13

Nate Lashley - 3-17

Alex Noren - 21-43

If we remove those that have played less than three times, the following players make the list:

Bubba Watson - 5-15-2-2-14-MC-40-4-3-22

Webb Simpson - 8-10-14-2-MC-20-1-42

Rickie Fowler - 26-MC-MC-46-2-4-11-1-37-MC

Matt Kuchar - 33-30-9-5-4-16-42

J.T. Poston - 26-37-11

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Key Stats

SG Off-The-Tee - SG Approach and SG Putting are both important, as always, but many tend to gain strokes in both these departments at this course, especially when it comes to putting. This is likely due to the easier greens here. As a result I’ll take those that can gain in one of the other major strokes-gained categories. Approaches from 175-200 - This range is hit from consistently at TPC Scottsdale, a lot of the time, due to the approaches into the Par-5’s. Par 4’s 450-500 yards - There are Four Par 4’s in this range, and they play as some of the toughest holes on the course. How the field play these holes this week could well determine the result. Strong long iron play and form in the desert events, the American Express, and the PLAYERS Championship, could all be pointers toward this week’s winner.


Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-hosts the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on all the major Tours. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, and was delighted to see his Forest team win promotion this season!


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