Golf form expert Barry Plummer casts his eye over the PGA Tour's finest

It’s everyone’s favourite tournament outside of the majors this week as the PGA Tour stars roll into Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Rory McIlroy is making his first career visit – but is he among the players we fancy to challenge? Let’s take a closer look…

Venue: TPC Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Date: February 4-7, 2021

Course stats: Par 71; 7,261 yards

Course summary: This desert track is relatively short with undulating Bermuda fairways and large, fast Bermuda greens. Deep bunkering and water hazards are the main defence for this course where consistent ball strikers appear to prosper. The course sits at altitude, so players will have to factor in the additional length when calculating their shots. An exciting closing stretch features a reachable par 5, and a driveable par 4, with danger from water hazards lurking throughout. 

Purse: $7.3 million

Defending champion: Webb Simpson (-17)

Waste Management Phoenix Open TV coverage

Thursday: Featured Groups coverage on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 2.30pm; Main coverage on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 8pm
Friday: Featured Groups coverage on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 2.30pm; Main coverage on Sky Sports Golf from 8pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.30pm
Saturday: Featured Group coverage on Sky Sports Golf from 4pm; Main coverage on Sky Sports Golf from 6pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 8.15pm
Sunday: Featured Group coverage on Sky Sports Golf from 4pm; Main coverage on Sky Sports Golf from 6pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 7.30pm

Waste Management Phoenix Open: Dialled In

Once again I was joined on the Dialled In podcast by Steve Carroll as I discuss my picks for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

You can listen to that here or on your preferred podcast platform. Just search ‘The NCG Podcast’.

Waste Management Phoenix Open: staking plan

Daniel Berger – 2.5pt e/w @ 20/1 with Bet365

Daniel Berger is another player who has been in solid form of late, finishing inside the top-10 in both of his last couple of starts. Looking further back, Berger has finished inside the top-25 in his last four starts and is on a run of 11 top-35 PGA Tour finishes dating back to last season’s Memorial Tournament. He doesn’t really have a weak area in his game, ranking 32nd for SG: Total, and is a solid ball striker. Berger famously won the Charles Schwab in 2020, his first win for three years after a long-injury comeback, and has developed into one of the most consistent players on tour. A third place finish at TPC Boston last season further justifies his inclusion, as this is a correlating course with a similar profile for success. Berger is surely a consideration for this year’s Ryder Cup team, and I am hopeful he could pick up another win this week to boost his chances.

Sung-Jae Im – 2pt e/w @ 30/1 with Bet365

After an incredible T2 finish at Augusta in November, Sung-Jae has produced some excellent performances with three top-15 finishes in six events. Im was 7th here in 2019 and has some interesting form on correlating courses, such as a couple of 3rd place finishes at Bay Hill. His game suits this venue, where ball striking is paramount, ranking 17th for SG: Off-the-tee and hitting an average 71% of GIR. It is hard to judge his performance last week, as he burst into contention on Sunday before playing himself out with a six-over-par back nine. While a large proportion of the PGA Tour elite head over to Saudi Arabia this week, I fancy Sung-Jae to take advantage and secure his second PGA Tour win.

Will Zalatoris 1pt e/w @ 45/1 with Bet365

This young star is a magnificent ball striker, ranking 4th for SG: Tee-to-green and 15th for SG: Off-the-tee. At this early stage of his PGA Tour career he ranks 5th for SG: Total against some high quality opposition, and put in a stellar performance at Torrey Pines to finish T7 last week. After an outstanding T6 finish at the US Open last year, he followed up with two further top-10s in his next three events, and after a short break burst back onto the scene in San Diego. That performance saw him rank inside the top-11 for SG: Total, closing with a 71 in tricky Sunday conditions. As a debutant at this event, this selection is a gamble, but debutants have won here in the past and I think he represents great each-way value at this price. 

Luke List – 1pt e/w @ 110/1 with Bet365

Luke List has contrasting course form at this event, with two top-26 finishes surrounded by four missed cuts. The reason he interests me here is his performance last week, closing out at Torrey Pines with an impressive 66. He ended the tournament in 10th position, but his round four performance saw him rank inside the top-11 for SG: Off-the-tee, the top 3 for SG: Tee-to-green, the top-10 for SG: Approach, and the top-15 for both SG: Putting and SG: Around-the-green. A repeat of this high level ball striking will serve him well here, and there is some confidence he will do that as he ranks 7th for SG: Off-the-tee on tour this season. Three consecutive top-20s at Bay Hill and an opening 68 at TPC Boston last year further demonstrate his skill in this area, and at a big price he could represent some great each-way value this week. 

For more prices, visit Bet365.

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