Grab your beverage of choice and head for the bleachers surrounding the par-3 16th hole: The rowdiest week in pro golf is here. It's time for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
TPC Scottsdale: 7,200 yards, par 71
The 16th hole! The more-raucous-every-year par-3 party isn't really relevant to the course breakdown, as it's a fairly straightforward medium-length par-3.
The 7,200 yard track features four par-3s and three par-5s. The par-5s are all reachable by longer hitters, and the par-4 17th is drivable for most in the field.
Tom Weiskopf reworked the course in 2014, which effectively tightened up the course a bit, placing more of a premium on precision off the tee. That said, rough isn't a huge issue at the desert venue. However, wide missed will encounter local vegetation.
Players who teed it up last week on the poa annua greens at Torrey Pines (South) will welcome the return to Bermuda grass. Fast, pristine surfaces tend to decrease the importance of putting, and that's the case this week (consider last year's winner, Hideki Matsuyama). Total driving ability and strong iron play are key this week.
Creme de la Creme
Hideki Matsuyama: $11,700
Last year's winner, Hideki Matsuyama hasn't finished worse than fourth at TPC Scottsdale. While he's coming off a ho-hum weekend showing at the Farmers, Matsuyama's track record and recent form puts him at the top of the heap. 18th on tour in strokes gained: off-the-tee this season and third on tour in strokes gained: approaching the green last year, Matsuyama fits the “power and precision off the tee" and “great iron player" profile of WMPO winners.
Justin Thomas: $11,500
$500 cheaper than Jordan Spieth and playing out of his mind, Justin Thomas is fourth in strokes gained: off-the-tee and seventh in strokes gained approach-the-green. He arrives at TPC Scottsdale on the heels of a pair of victories, and while he missed the cut at the venue last year, he did record a top-20 finish in 2015.
Ryan Moore: $8,600
A top-20 finisher in his last four starts at TPC Scottsdale, Ryan Moore is also a top-20 finisher in his four most recent tour starts. While he doesn't fit the “power and precision" profile, Moore is 11th on tour in strokes gained: approaching-the-green. Roster him over the more expensive Reed, Holmes, and English.
Brendan Steele: $8,200
Brendan Steele has three top-10 finishes at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Steele cracked the top-25 at last week's Farmers Insurance Open. He's 14th in strokes gained: total, and is more than capable off the tee (strokes gained: off-the-tee: 30) and with his approach shots (20th in strokes gained: approach-the-green). Buy him before Bubba Watson ($8,300) or Padraig Harrington ($8,500).
Daniel Berger: $7,000
Berger didn't have his best stuff at Torrey Pines where he missed the cut, but it's not a course he plays well. He tied for 10th at the WMPO in 2015, so he's proved capable at the desert course. 17th on tour in birdie average in 2015-2016, Berger is always a solid GPP play. Fire him up at $7,000.
Roberto Castro: $6,900
With top-20 finishes his last two times at TPC Scottsdale and respectable recent form, Castro is well worth taking a flyer on at $6,900. Castro was 32nd on tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green last year.