Since sponsorship for the Phoenix Open was taken over by Waste Management, the event has been known as “the Greenest Show on Grass”. The event organisers make a big play of how little an impact the tournament makes on the environment but it’s the impact it makes on people’s ears which most are interested in.
There is no doubt about it, the Phoenix Open is the most raucous event on the PGA Tour schedule. Last year the tournament topped 600,000 fans coming through the gates at TPC Scottsdale. That is an incredible number and it’s testament to the fan-friendly layout of the Stadium Course.
There are natural viewing areas for fans all over the course but, of course, the grandstands surrounding the par three 16th hole always grab the headlines. Around 20,000 watch the action from 16 every day with cheers greeting any good shots and boos raining down on anybody who misses the green.
The nature of the fans at the Phoenix Open means only headstrong players have a chance of winning. These may be top level golfers but they still get nervous in front of these galleries. The challenge posed by the course also requires a level headed approach. Tom Weiskopf’s redevelopment of the Stadium course in 2014 turned it into one of the most balance tests on the PGA Tour. Big hitters are no longer able to dominate and if anything, this is a course for ball strikers.
Matsuyama Can Double Up
It took Hideki Matsuyama four playoff holes to see off the challenge of Rickie Fowler last year and the Japanese sensation arrives in wonderful form ahead of his title defence. Matsuyama has played at TPC Scottsdale three times and on each occasion he’s ended up with a score of -14. That was good enough for a playoff last year and for T2 and T4 the years before.
Defending a title on the PGA Tour is an incredibly tough thing to achieve but the 24-year-old is arguably the hottest player in the world right now. Finishes of T33 and T27 in his last two starts came after a run of 2-1-1-1-2-1 in tournaments all over the world. Matsuyama has it all and is well worth your support at 11/1 with Bet365.
Bradley Ready to Return to the Big Time
Plenty of people in the know in the world of golf thought that the anchoring ban on long putters would spell the end of Keegan Bradley as a PGA Tour player. Certainly the 2011 PGA Championship winner has found life very tough over the last week or so but he roared back to form at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open. Bradley’s played well at the Phoenix Open before and is surely over priced at 66/1 with BetVictor.
Beef to Relish the Madness
Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston won his place on the PGA Tour thanks to a wonderful fourth place at the Albertsons Boise Open on last season’s Web.com Tour. He missed the cut on his first showing last week but if anybody is built for the combination of a ball striking test with a raucous crowd, it’s Beef, who is a very tempting 250/1 with Betfred.