Who’s going to survive the Stadium hole for PGA Tour glory? Oddschecker’s Tom Jacobs has made his picks to win in Arizona
It’s one of our favourite tournaments of the year as the PGA Tour stars head into the desert to take on TPC Scottsdale and dodge beer cans on the world-famous stadium hole. Scroll down for my WM Phoenix Open betting tips, but first…
WM Phoenix Open preview
Venue: TPC Scottsdale (Stadium course), Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Date: February 2-5, 2023
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 this in 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: $20 million
Defending champion: Scottie Scheffler (-16)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 3pm and Main Event from 10.30pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 3pm and Main Event from 10.30pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 5pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 3.30pm and Main Event from 10.15pm
2023 WM Phoenix Open betting tips
The Banker: Collin Morikawa @ 18/1 with Bet365
There are no two ways about it, Collin Morikawa blew a golden opportunity in Hawaii at the Tournament of Champions. But instead of sulking, Morikawa came right back out and finished 3rd at Torrey Pines, a course that is not graded out as the most suitable for him.
That is a 2-3 start to 2023, and we know with Morikawa that once he shows signs of form, he’s capable of pulling off a win right away, so I will chance that he does that here, in the party atmosphere of the WM Phoenix Open.
He has only played this event once, and finished 25th, but his tee to green game is exactly where it needs to be right now for him to compete in this event, as he ranked 12th and 3rd in SG Approach and 8th and 2nd in SG Tee to Green in his first two starts of the year.
The recent winners list here is littered with major champions, and Morikawa can be the next one to etch his name on this trophy.
The Each-Way Play: Sahith Theegala @ 45/1 with Bet365
Sahith Theegala should have won this event last year, and he should have won the Travelers Championship later on in the season as well, but on both occasions he was caught out on the final two holes of the tournament. However, I am willing to forgive him this one.
A year ago, Theegala led after rounds 2 and 3 here, and as he came to the 17th hole on Sunday, his 71st hole of the tournament, the event seemed to be in his hands. Unfortunately for the youngster, he cruelly found the water hazard on 17, despite an excellent shot, and as a result he rushed his chip and putt.
It wasn’t to be last year, but he now returns one year wiser, and on his last start he finished 5th at Torrey Pines and was inside that position all week.
The risk-reward nature of this event suits Theegala to the ground, and I can certainly see him winning one of these Phoenix Opens before his career is done, so it is best to get in while his price is still acceptable.
The Other Each-Way Play: JT Poston @ 90/1 with Bet365
JT Poston is pretty underrated in my view, and while it is fair to say he has a limited number of events that he can probably win, the same was true for the likes of Webb Simpson, who has made a career out winning when the opportunity aligned for him. Given one of the events Simpson did win was here in Phoenix, it is not a bad comparison overall, and one worth keeping in mind.
Poston has played this event four times, making all four cuts, and on his debut he opened with a 65 to sit 4th on day 1. Fast forward a couple of years and Poston finished 11th in this event, his best finish here to date, but he was 8th at the 36-hole stage, shot 67-69 and went on still fell down the leaderboard.
All in all, Poston has played here four times, has posted an 11th, and never finished worse than 37th, so he looks a safe bet to get through to the weekend, and now I believe he is capable of putting a weekend charge together, should the opportunity present itself.
Another Each-Way Play: KH Lee @ 90/1 with Bet365
KH Lee finished 2nd in this event on just his second start, and then last year he threatened to go well again, opening with a 65 on day one to lead, before falling away to 38th. This event is right in Lee’s wheelhouse, being a shorter, birdie-style event, and I expect the South Korean to play well again here.
Lee already has 3rd and 7th place finishes to his name this season, at the CJ Cup and Tournament of Champions respectively, and given they were two of the strongest fields all season, it is safe to assume he can mix it in this, on a course he clearly enjoys.
Given his current and course form, Lee makes a solid case each-way, given he has a knack for going back to the same courses and playing well – see his two wins back-to-back at TPC Craig Ranch for evidence.
The Long Shot: Chris Kirk @ 110/1 with Bet365
Kirk has finished 3rd in back-to-back starts to kick off 2023, he himself thinks he could have won both events and that bodes incredibly well as he comes back to an event he knows very well in Phoenix.
He has played this event 11 times, and has made the cut on 8 occasions, missing the cut twice and withdrawing once. Unfortunately, the two missed cuts have both come in the last three years, but he had been battling both on and off the course at the time, and now he returns in good shape, playing some of his best golf.
Kirk has ranked 5th and 4th in SG Approach, and 8th and 3rd in SG Tee to Green in his two starts this year, and now he returns to an event where he has posted eight rounds of 66 or better during his career, which has led to two top-14 finishes, a 24th and multiple occasions where he has been on and around the first page of the leaderboard to start the week.
When finishing a best of 11th here, Kirk was 2nd after round 1 and 5th at the halfway mark, and I believe he can find himself in a similar spot this week given his current form, and I just hope he can finish the job off, if he has the chance again.