Waste Management Research, First Look
Shout out all of you who hit Hollywood Hoge. Escaplly Fienberg who hit HV3 in the AM and Hoge in the PM. Quite the day. Having Spieth and Putnam outrights stings. Not gonna lie. But we’re on the next week. One of my fav events.
Waste Management Field
18 of the World’s Top 30 players will be teeing off in Scottsdale, headlined by No. 1 Jon Rahm, defending champ Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama, Abraham Ancer, Tony Finau, Webb Simpson, Xander Schauffele, Sam Burns, Scottie Scheffler, and, fresh off a victory overseas, Viktor Hovland.
Daniel Berger is also currently listed in the field, but he had to withdraw from Pebble Beach with a back injury before the event started, so he may be out again. Ditto with Charley Hoffman. After pulling out pre-event the previous few weeks, he actually made it through a round at Pebble before calling it quits. It’s doubtful we’ll see him tee off this week. And if he does, you likely want to dodge that bullet.
It’s worth noting a collection of players in this field were in Saudi Arabia over the weekend in competition, if that sort of thing matters to you. Schauffele, Ancer, Finau, Bubba Watson, Lucas Herbert, Graeme McDowell, and Jason Dufner all played in Saudi. As did Harold Varner III, who won the event. Louis did not, in fact Phoenix is his first start anywhere in the world in 2022. It’s the first PGA start for Adam Scott as well, after starting the year T10/T9 in the Middle East.
I’m hoping Thomas is the forgotten man when the odds drop and some place gets him into the 20 range. Wishful thinking, likely. But this is a stacked field.
Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
Par 4s Gained: 450-500 Yards
Par 5s Gained
Early Model Results
Course: TPC Scottsdale
TPC Scottsdale has one of the most balance T2G splits of any course. Yes, approach is still most important, but it’s far flatter across the board than most venues.
2021: Brooks Koepka -19
2020: Webb Simpson -17
2019: Rickie Fowler -17
2018: Gary Woodland -18
2017: Hideki Matsuyama -17
2016: Hideki Matsuyama -14
2015: Brooks Koepka -15
2014: Kevin Stadler -16
2013: Phil Mickelson -28
2012: Kyle Stanley -15
LAST YEAR SG Leaderboard
The greens are listed as “Bermuda” when we’re separating them, but it’s not exactly the Bermuda grass putting surfaces we see in Florida. Per the GCSAA, they’re officially listed as “TifEagle Bermuda over-seeded with velvet bentgrass, Poa trivialis and perennial ryegrass .100.” I have no idea what that means after about the sixth word. Just know, these greens are historically firm and run faster than the average TOUR event. Which has helped out the poorer putters as shorter putts have become easier in these conditions. In 2020, the field made 89% of putts insider 10-feet. A rather absurd rate.
All three par 5s are reachable in two, but No. 15 tends to be a magnet for the water. Much like its aqua brethren, No. 18 at TPC Twin Cities, you must carry the hazard to reach it in two. In 2019, 74 balls got lost to the bottom of the lake during the tournament. Despite there only being three Par 5s, they combined to fifth best score to par when going for the green (-572) in 2020.
Since 2000, just eight 54-hole leaders have gone on to convert the victory on Sunday, and only two since 2009 — Phil in 2013 and Fowler in 2019. It was Fowler’s second 54-hole leader conversion in seven career tries. Last year, both Jordan and Xander blew their 54-hole co-lead, letting Brooks win.
The average drive up has rested around 300 yards in the past few years with almost 60% of all drives going over 300 yards. That’s the second-highest mark on TOUR in both categories.
Players have made par 40% of the time on No. 17 after they go into the water, so little incentive to be conservative on the short Par 4.
No. 17 is also the hole that features the most putts from over 80-feet. There have been over 220 putts from 80-feet or beyond on this green and almost half have resulted in a three-putt or worse (49.3%).
In his one measured round from Pebble, Wyndham Clark gained 2.06 SG:APP and lost 2.32 SG:Putting. Russell Knox gained 4.3 on approach and lost 3 on the greens. Adam Hadwin gained 6.9 T2G and dropped two with the putter.
Five winners since 2012, have ranked inside the Top 10 for the week in approach proximity from 175-200 yards. I had to sort it so the Ghim Reaper would pop to the top.