2022 Phoenix Open Golf – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

It is Super Bowl week out in the United States which means the PGA Tour heads to the desert for the Phoenix Open, and with crowds back at the tournament we have the ‘Loudest Hole in Golf’ back in all its glory.

Brooks Koepka took advantage of the quieter environment last year to win a rare normal PGA Tour event and he is in the field looking to make a defence of his title. A pretty decent field has been attracted to Phoenix to take him on.

Recent Winners

2021 – Brooks Koepka

2020 – Webb Simpson

2019 – Rickie Fowler

2018 – Gary Woodland

2017 – Hideki Matsuyama

2016 – Hideki Matsuyama

2015 – Brooks Koepka

2014 – Kevin Stadler

2013 – Phil Mickelson

2012 – Kyle Stanley

The Course

All golf fans will know all about TPC Scottsdale and plenty who aren’t big supporters of the sport will do too with the famous 16th hole. This isn’t a long course by any stretch of the imagination. It is a par 71 but it only measures 7,261 yards which with the dry desert air makes it a relatively short course. There was a redesign of the track in 2015 and since then it has been the longer hitters who’ve held sway in the main.

Although there isn’t a huge challenge off the tee here you do need to drive the ball well because the desert areas aren’t fun but generally this is a test of approach into the large greens and then putting on them. Since the refurb only top drawer winners have been produced so this might not be an event for the rookies or those not accustomed with winning.

The Field

Even though there is another excellent tournament next week and a number of the leading lights were in Saudi Arabia last week you have to say a really good field has been put together for this event, headed once again by the world number one Jon Rahm who has been quite active so far in 2022. The FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay is also in the field this week too which adds even more star quality to the field, particularly when you consider Brooks Koepka is here to defend the title.

Other leading lights in the field are The Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, Abu Dhabi winner Viktor Hovland as well as previous champions here such as Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland. Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele are also in a stacked field which actually includes the first two home in Saudi Arabia last week in Harold Varner III and Bubba Watson. Daniel Berger, Sam Burns and Scottie Scheffler are leading top drawer players in the field too.

Market Leaders

Jon Rahm is a 15/2 favourite to win the tournament this week. He showed some frailties at Torrey Pines a couple of weeks ago where his fortunes prior to that were pretty much bombproof at that course. That is a bit of a concern when you consider the way he ended last year and wasn’t really a factor at The American Express. You can never be surprised when Rahm wins but I’d like him to have a better feel factor about him in order for me to get involved at this price in a loaded field even if he hasn’t been outside the top 20 in his six starts here.

Justin Thomas was right there at the halfway point at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines a couple of weeks ago but he faded fast and that is very much a concern in what is likely to be a low scoring week. It won’t be long before Thomas is back winning tournaments again but he is going to have to sort his putting out first. Thomas has been in the top 20 in the last four outings here so he has course form but until those putting issues get ironed out he can’t be on my shortlist in this company.

The FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay is next in the betting at 16/1. Surprisingly this is his first spin around here. While Cantlay is a top class operator, who has been in the top 10 in each of his last five starts, this is a course where you need to know the lay of the land before you conquer it, as seen by the fact that two men have won twice in the last seven years here. Cantlay is definitely good enough to win this but the lack of course form is a major concern so he isn’t for me.

Hideki Matsuyama has won twice around here in the past and he has won twice this season so he certainly has claims at 18/1. The other man who is 18/1 in the betting this week is Viktor Hovland. He has gone one better than Matsuyama as he has actually won three of his last five starts if you include the Hero World Challenge. He has only had one spin around here which was a missed cut so that is a concern but he ticks plenty of other boxes. It is 22/1 bar those named.

Main Bets

I’ll take both those players who are 18/1 as my main bets this week. Viktor Hovland has already won for me recently when he landed the Hero World Challenge and he looks primed for a massive weak here. His weakness is around the greens but I don’t think scrambling is the factor that you would expect it to be on a course of this type and even if it is he isn’t exactly terrible around the greens. His strength is very much in the long game department and since the refurb here it is that which tends to rule the roost. Hovland missed the cut on his only spin around here but that was two years ago. He’s a better player now and he has won in the desert already this year. He could well do a cross-Atlantic desert double here.

Hideki Matsuyama has been in great form in recent times. He won the ZOZO Championship on home soil and then started up 2022 with a win at the Sony Open and now he returns to a popular stop for him with his form excellent. The Japanese star is gaining strokes from tee to green like a lunatic at the minute and if he could be relied upon with the putter he would be winning titles left, right and centre. That putter should cooperate here because he clearly knows these greens very well having won twice around here and with the rest of his game in terrific order I think he is entitled to be a leading contender at a fair price.

Outsiders

I’ll take a couple of outsiders this week as well with the first of those being the Farmers Insurance Open winner Luke List. I wouldn’t usually take a player in his next start after his first win but List has had a week off to take stock of what he did and I expect him to go fairly well around here. In his last four measured events, List has been in the top five for strokes gained from tee to green and while at times he has been let down with his putter, it is amazing how quickly that putter starts cooperating after the confidence of a win. Prior to that win at Torrey Pines, List was in the top 11 in three of his previous five starts so he’s been in good form for a while and should be able to maintain that here.

Keegan Bradley has such a good long game that he is almost certainly going to be in my team for Riviera next week but I’ll pay to see if he comes good a week early. Bradley is streaky at the best of times and while he hasn’t been in fantastic form of late he was still T7 in Japan at the ZOZO and T12 at the Sony Open so he has been ticking along. Strokes gained tee to green has been a huge statistic here in recent times and he led the field in that discipline at the Sony. He is incredibly good at finding greens and if he can get a few more putts to drop he shouldn’t be a million miles away either.

Tips

Back V.Hovland to win Phoenix Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 19.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)

Back H.Matsuyama to win Phoenix Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 19.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)

Back L.List to win Phoenix Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 61.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)

Back K.Bradley to win Phoenix Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)

Back them here:

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Author: Martha Chavez