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The PGA Tour leaves California this week and heads for Arizona, for the 2023 WM Phoenix Open. Sunday's final round finishes just before the 2023 Super Bowl, so it's an exciting weekend! Check out Tom Jacobs' sleeper and value picks for the Phoenix Open!

WM Phoenix Open Sleepers and Value Picks: Bet on Sahith Theegala, Chris Kirk to Surprise

The PGA Tour leaves California but stays on the West Coast for the 2023 WM Phoenix Open. This event is well known for its party atmosphere, but that is going to be cranked up further this weekend, with the Super Bowl rolling into Arizona on Sunday as well!

Due to its elevated status, the WM Phoenix Open boasts its strongest-ever field. 22 of the world's top 25 players are teeing it up this week in Arizona, with Will Zalatoris the only eligible player missing this week, due to injury. The other two top 25 players missing this week are Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann who are not here due to their move to the LIV Golf Tour.

That means Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm can continue their tussle for the title of the World's Best Player, as they both peg it up in the WM Phoenix Open. Rahm is somewhat of a veteran of this event, playing 7 times and posting 4 top 10s, whilst Rory makes just his second start here, hoping to better his 13th-place finish on debut. With this strength of field, there are an abundance of options for the Phoenix Open sleeper and value picks and we are going to go through the best of them below.

Before we get into the Sleepers and Value Picks for the 2023 WM Phoenix Open, check out this offer from DraftKings Sportsbook. With the DraftKings promo code, you will bet $5, get $200 guaranteed on ANY WM Phoenix Open market this week. That means you can boost your favorite outright, top 10, or any other prop bet, to 40-1, and lock in an instant payout, even if it loses!

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What is Required to Succeed at the 2023 WM Phoenix Open?

Here are the top statistics to look at, ahead of the 2023 WM Phoenix Open

  • SG: Approach
  • SG: Off the Tee
  • Bermuda Putting

The WM Phoenix Open is essentially an event that rewards the best iron players, but gaining strokes off the tee, one way or another is also advantageous. This is not a birdie-fest event where you can just rely on making a bunch of putts, you simply need to put the ball close.

Scottie Scheffler actually challenged that theory last year, ranking 55th in SG Approach and 2nd in SG Putting when he won, but before that, winners generally excelled tee to green.

Here are where each of the last 5 winners ranked in SG Approach and SG Tee to Green the week they won the WM Phoenix Open,

2022 - Scottie Scheffler: 55th in SG Approach, 13th in SG Tee to Green

2021 - Brooks Koepka: 2nd in SG Approach, 2nd in SG Tee to Green

2020 - Webb Simpson: 1st in SG Approach, 2nd in SG Tee to Green

2019 - Rickie Fowler: 17th in SG Approach, 19th in SG Tee to Green

2018: Gary Woodland: 2nd in SG Approach, 2nd in SG Tee to Green

Scottie Scheffler and Rickie Fowler have shown that you can win here relying on a hot putter, but strong driving is still required, and ahead of the event, you will want to target those in the Koepka, Simpson, Woodland mold, rather than expecting someone to replicate what Scheffler and Fowler were able to on the greens.

WM Phoenix Open Trends

To help you potentially unearth a strong value or sleeper pick for the 2023 WM Phoenix Open, here are a bunch of trends that might help you narrow down your search criteria!

  • 11 of the past 12 winners have had a T7 or better finish in one of their previous five stars in this event.*
  • 10 of the past 12 winners ranked inside the top 50 at the end of the year, in the season they won the Phoenix Open
  • All of the last seven winners of this event had already finished T7 or better in this event before they won
  • Of the last six winners of this event, only one player (Rickie Fowler) has not won a major. Fowler has three 2nd place finishes in majors and top-3 finishes in all four of them.

*Kevin Stadler is the only winner in the period to win without a T7 or better in his previous five starts. He had finished 10th and 12th in two of his three most recent starts. Brooks Koepka also won coming in off the back of three missed cuts, but he was returning from a long injury layoff and his 4th most recent start was a T7 finish at the 2020 Masters.

These trends suggest we are looking for:

  • A player who has posted a T7 finish or better this season
  • A player who has already played well at the WM Phoenix Open (top 10 if possible)
  • A player who has won or contended at a major (hard to get in a longshot)

Do Sleeper and Value Picks WM Phoenix Open?

Here are the pre-tournament odds of the last 10 winners of the WM Phoenix Open.

2022 - Scottie Scheffler +2800

2021 - Brooks Koepka +5000

2020 - Webb Simpson +1400

2019 - Rickie Fowler +2200

2018 - Gary Woodland +5000

2017 - Hideki Matsuyama +1100

2016 - Hideki Matsuyama +2800

2015 - Brooks Koepka +4000

2014 - Kevin Stadler +12500

2013 - Phil Mickelson +2500

The average winning odds over the past 10 years is around +4000 for the winner here, which is exactly the odds we set the bar at, for a sleeper and value pick. The trouble is, that average is inflated by a 125-1 win by Kevin Stadler, and Brooks Koepka wins at 40-1 and 50-1. Koepka was still growing in the game in 2015, and this was his first win on the PGA Tour. The second time around he had missed three cuts before playing here, coming back from an extended injury layoff. The fact is, Koepka is a player that went on to win four majors and finish runner-up in three more, between his two wins in this event.

Ultimately then, this looks like an event reserved for the very best golfers, but there are still some players who are in strong form that can make a run here.

Let's see who rates out as the best of these longshots, we look for value and sleeper picks for the 2023 WM Phoenix Open.

Value and Sleeper Selections for the 2023 WM Phoenix Open

Here are my value and sleeper selections for the 2023 WM Phoenix Open. All of these plays are +4000 or bigger in the outright market, in order to qualify for the value and sleeper pick criteria!

Sahith Theegala +5000 Outright (DraftKings)

We backed Sahith Theegala in this value and sleeper article at the American Express in the same price range, and while he didn't do anything for us that week, he can give us a run this time around.

Theegala is coming into this one off the back of a top 5 finish at Torrey Pines, where he was in contention all week long, but couldn't quite get close enough to win.

He now comes back to an event that he led after rounds 2 and 3 last year, and should really have won. On Sunday his tee shot at #17 cruelly found the water, and the shock and disbelief of that happening led to a poor chip and putt, and eventually the loss.

Another year wiser, Theegala can have another crack at a course that clearly suits his game and one where he is no doubt capable of winning.

If Theegala goes on to become what people expect he could, one of the best in the world, and someone that contends for majors, he will fit right in with the list of recent winners here.

JT Poston +8500 Outright (FanDuel)

JT Poston isn't the player that is going to jump off the page statistically every week, but he has shown over the past couple of seasons that he can mix it on his favorite golf courses, and this may end up being one of them when it is all said and done.

Poston has played the WM Phoenix Open four times and has made the cut on each occasion.

He is yet to crack the top 10 here, which suggests he shouldn't really qualify as an ideal bet for us, but with finishes of 26th, 37th, 11th, and 23rd he's hardly been far off.

Poston was 8th at the halfway stage in 2021, but despite shooting 67-69 over the weekend, fell down the leaderboard to 11th. That suggests he can get in the mix here but needs to find a couple of lower rounds to really contend. He was within four strokes of the lead going into that weekend and fell six shots shy in the end, but a couple of breaks here or there would have put him in contention.

On his last start, Poston finished T6 at the American Express, another West Coast desert event, and he will be looking to use that as a springboard for success here.

Chris Kirk +18000 Outright (DraftKings)

I think this number on Chris Kirk is one of the most outrageous on the board from DraftKings Sportsbook, and even if he might struggle to actually win here, these odds will make his odds in the placement market incredibly appealing as well. Given the next best odds you can get on Kirk is +10000, it appears the sportsbooks agree this +18000 number is huge on Kirk, and you should take advantage.

Kirk has played this event 11 times, missing just two cuts, which came during a rough patch of his career, on and off the course. He also withdrew once at the start of his career here.

In that span, he has also finished 11th, 14th, and 24th and he's threatened to do better as well.

When 11th, he was 2nd after round one and 5th at the halfway stage, but just couldn't keep it going over the weekend. When 34th the year before that, he opened with a round of 66 on day one to sit 4th going into Friday, and closed with the same number, again highlighting his scoring ability here.

Even before those efforts, he finished 76th one year, but actually opened with a 65 to sit 3rd after day one, and on debut, he opened with a 66 and closed with a 65. So while Kirk has struggled to keep it going for four rounds in Phoenix, he knows how to go low enough to contend in this event.

All in all, Kirk has posted eight rounds of 66 or better at this golf course throughout his career, and given his current form, he might just be able to keep it going for all four rounds this time.

Kirk has posted back-to-back 3rd place finishes to kick off 2023, ranking 5th and 4th in SG Approach and 8th and 2nd in SG Tee to Green, at the Sony Open and American Express respectively. Take a chance on a veteran who knows every inch of this golf course, while he is hitting the ball well.

Article Author


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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