The people have spoken
The Olympic summer games are the most attended sporting event in the world. The second most attended event... WM Phoenix Open. The people's open attracts over 600,000 fans to TPC Scottsdale each year when the PGA TOUR comes to town. Much like the 1990's movie A Perfect Storm, this year we have a convergence of events leading us down a path of epic expectations.
- The field of 132 players is playing for $20 million dollars and a $3.6 million dollar first place prize.
- Twenty-two of the Top 25 players in the world are competing, and fifty-eight of the Top 100.
- To elevate the atmosphere even more, Superbowl XVII is being played in Phoenix as well this weekend.
I'm guessing the PGA TOUR knew what they were doing when they named the WMPO as the first of their "designated" events. The atmosphere at TPC Scottsdale didn't need any amplification and with the best in the world ALL in one place, this weekend is setup for an unbelievable showdown. The WMPO doesn't need an introduction. All of the last eight winners have either won a major championship or the PLAYERS Championship. The event was already elevated and when you consider the course has some teeth since the 2014 renovation, TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course truly is a Tournament Players Course.
- The scorecard displays a Par 71 layout stretching 7,261 yards.
- Don't let the distance fool you, we are playing at 1,250 feet of elevation in the desert. The ball will be flying.
- In 2022, this tournament had the longest average driving distance on tour. This means even the shorter hitters were long.
- The course will challenge the field with sixty-seven bunkers and seven holes where water comes into play.
- The greens are a mix of grass with Bermudagrass and Poa Trivialis.
TPC Scottsdale is one of the most predictive courses annually on the PGA TOUR. In Fact, only Augusta National and Wai'alae Country Club are more predictive. Simply put, those who play well here, always seem to play well here. These players are popular PGA names because the average winner's odds over the last decade are under 40 -1 (+3900). We imagine things are wild in the desert, but that's just the fans and 16th hole. Only once in the last ten years has a player won this event with starting odds over +5000 (50-1).
Winning the WMPO takes an aggressive style of play. You'll need 25+ birdies to get it done because this course can cause mistakes. That desert creeps in on certain tee shots as does the water. The average winning score for the last five or ten years is 17 under par. That's conservative for a TPC birdie-fest course. It's another strong reason why great players win here. In the last fifteen years, there have also been eight playoffs to decide the winner which shows the field rarely separates itself. I expect a close contest again in Scottsdale much like the big game in nearby Glendale!
What is even more telling about the field scoring is the cutline. It has historically been just under par for the last ten editions (-0.3). Although Scottsdale will be dry this week, I do expect portions of the course to play soft. It has been a cold wet winter in the desert. Watch for some thin/sparse lies in the short grass, and these guys better have a confident pitching game. Temperatures are perfect to help create ideal conditions as they will dip into the 40's at night and peak in the high 70's during the day. The wind will blow in the low teens and cause a little indecision on approach.
Everything about this week's tournament is set up for "super" success. The purse, the field and the event are all colliding creating that perfect storm of opportunity for something historically special. Much like George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg, we'll have to take what gets thrown at us. Who could forget the theater Sam Ryder created with that one swing last year, and that was Sam Ryder. With all the hype, money, and attention I'm keeping my focus near the top of the betting board. Please continue reading to see my picks for the People's Open!
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WMPO on TV:
Why is golf betting so popular, let me quickly explain...
Many wonder "why" I'm so passionate about the affect golf betting has on the casual and avid fans of the game. In three to four years, golf will pass the NHL and MLB for betting handle. The reason(s) can be broken down many ways, but the truth of it all can be summed up in three things. Hit the button below and watch this viral video I posted the other day. As a RTL member you get it, and I thank you for believing in our journey.
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The WMPO starts in...
When it comes to the WMPO, I believe many people have a misperceived notion of how to contend on this golf course. I bet this outrights narrative will be an eye opener. Upon further inspection, here are three major misconceptions players and fans have when it comes to this famous course.
- Drive for dough - You'll hear plenty of people downplay the driver this week. They will quote the elevation and say that distance is mitigated because of the wide fairways and desert run out. Truth is that winners of the WMPO have used the driver to distance themselves from the competition. Look at the winners over recent years: Hideki, Brooks, Scheffler and Mickelson. Some will point to Webb Simpson and Rickie Fowler. In 2019, Fowler gained over five strokes against the field off the tee. In the last decade, the winner has averaged gaining over 3.5 strokes. If BoB% matters this week (which it really does!) then players will need to put themselves in position to score starting from the tee box.
- Putt for dough too! - I'm always wary when I hear analysts coin it as a "Mr. No-putt" week. Meaning if you're a great ball striker and a below average putter you can win. I have news for you folks, if the greens are easy, then they are even easier for the great putters! Think about it. TPC Scottsdale ranks easier than the PGA TOUR average for makes for over 15'. The last place I would want to get in a putting contest with a great putter is a flat course. Twelve holes have a birdie percentage over 15%. Seven times in the last ten years, the winner has gained more than three shots against the field on the greens. When you really think about it, this tournament will be won by a mid-range length putt. If you doubt it, just ask Scottie Scheffler.
- Why don't you just meet me in the middle - Many courses tend to favor one end of the approach game versus another. Two weeks ago, it was all about the long iron game of Max Homa at Torrey Pines birdieing both back nine Par 3's on Sunday. Over this past weekend, Justin Rose blitzed the field with extraordinary wedge play. For the third week in a row, it is something different. Many media folks think this is another wedge fest. Sixty percent of the approach shots at TPC Scottsdale come from in-between 125-200 yards, yet the most popular area is found between 150-175 yards (25%). It's easy to believe our last ten winners have all gained over five strokes against the field on approach, but can you believe in that twenty-five yard window (150-175) they have gained fifty feet in proximity to the hole against their competitors! The largest gain of any approach window. If you are a good mid-iron player, this course is for you.
Aggressive approach play is needed to not just contend here, but to keep up. There are some great iron players in this field so the competition will once again be tight. TPC Scottsdale requires great shot making. Eight tee shots bend right to left and five back the other way. Two of the Par 3's have the lowest birdie rate on the course (7 ands 12). The three Par 5's average a 41% birdie rate and must be taken advantage of. Those eleven Par 4's are as varied as the cacti that surround them. A well-balanced attack will be needed to win. Other factors I know will help competitors contend and ones I have researched are Bogey Avoidance, Par 5 scoring, Ball Striking, Birdie or Better %, and Strokes Gained: T2G.
I predicted Scottie Scheffler in a playoff last year and we won for the third time in six weeks. What a start to 2022! This year, the WMPO is going to get us in the win column, and here's the list of men I believe are ready to compete and win in golf's greatest arena.
Outright winners - WM Phoenix Open
*- member only content and a bonus pick this week!
The average Superbowl ticket this year is $9,720.
That's still $4,790 less than we won in outrights last year. 😁
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