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Horse For The Course: PGA DFS Course History - Waste Management Phoenix Open

Welcome back RotoBaller PGA family! So the Farmers Insurance Open was super boring, right?

In all seriousness, the Farmers and its eventual winner, Patrick Reed, sparked tons of controversy over the weekend when the combination of Reed's reputation and his questionable actions surrounding an embedded ball on the 10th hole at Torrey Pines during Saturday's third round, lit the fuse for a PGA Twitter firestorm. While the controversial figure appeared to do things "within the rules", there certainly seemed to be some out-of-the-ordinary procedures taking place. You can get my in-depth Reed take on this week's upcoming episode of my golf podcast, The Turn, but it's tough to argue with just how tough he played down the stretch on Sunday en route to the victory at the Farmers.

Horse For The Course is an article that highlights players in this week's field with elite course history and is part of our free PGA DFS content here at RotoBaller. For my favorite DFS plays of the week check out my Core Four article here at RotoBaller every Wednesday. It's part of our amazing PGA Premium package that includes an all-new PGA Research Station, Lineup Builder & Optimizer, and some of the best articles in the PGA DFS industry! You can sign up now using Promo Code: NICE for an extra discount at checkout!

Featured Promo: Get any DFS Premium Bundle for for 10% off using code BALLER! Win more with expert advice from proven winners and exclusive DFS tools. Get instant access to RotoBaller's Lineup Optimizers, Research Stations, daily picks and VIP chat rooms across 10 sports! Go Premium, Win More!

 

Waste Management Phoenix Open Overview

As if PGA fans aren't dialed up enough already after last weekend's excitement, we now head to one of the most fun - and rowdy - events on the PGA Tour, the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The tournament will look a little bit different this year in the era of COVID. The infamous 16th hole normally boasts around 16,000 raucous fans packed in a three-story stadium, but that will change to one level this year, comprised of an as-yet-to-be-determined, but drastically-reduced, number of fans. In addition to the fun atmosphere, the final round always takes place on Super Bowl Sunday, which adds to the overall excitement of the event. This is a great week to fire up some PGA DFS lineups and sweat them out with your friends Sunday afternoon!

The WMPO continues to grow in the eyes of fans, as well as the players on the PGA Tour. The field seems to get stronger every year and we've got an excellent group set to show up in 2021. Defending WMPO champ Webb Simpson will have to fend off the likes of Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy (making his WMPO debut!), and Justin Thomas in this year's edition.

While this is considered a "fun" event, things always get ultra-competitive on Sunday and the WMPO seems to consistently provide drama in the final-round, with this event going into a playoff in four out of the last five years. I'm really excited for this one and I hope you guys are too! Let's dive into some WMPO course history.

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week. And be sure to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS articles to help you win big!

 

The Course: TPC Scottsdale (Stadium)

Par 71 - 7,261 Yards, Greens: Bermuda, Designed By: Tom Weiskopf/Jay Moorish

A lot will be made of the famous Par-3 16th hole this week, and rightfully so, as it's unlike any other hole we see on the PGA Tour, but players will have to tame the other 17 holes at TPC Scottsdale if they want to win this week. The Stadium Course isn't difficult by PGA Tour standards and the average winning score over the last five years has been around 16-to-17 under par, with the 36-hole cut line normally around Even par.

Players will need to take advantage of three gettable Par-5s, as well as the driveable Par-4 17th hole, so distance is a nice bonus this week. Perhaps more important than distance is iron play...strokes gained on approach is a consistent trait of players that fare well in Phoenix. We have a nice sample size of course history to draw from this week and I feel comfortable making strong iron play with good proximity numbers my top priority for this event as I narrow down my potential player pool

For an in-depth breakdown of this week's course, check out RotoBaller's PGA Premium Course Breakdown by Josh Bennett!

 

Recent Champions & Winning Scores

  • 2020: Webb Simpson (-17) *Playoff
  • 2019: Rickie Fowler (-17)
  • 2018: Gary Woodland (-18) *Playoff
  • 2017: Hideki Matsuyama (-17) *Playoff
  • 2016: Hideki Matsuyama (-14) *Playoff

 

Notes From Last Year's Waste Management Phoenix Open

  • Webb Simpson drained some clutch putts en route to a playoff victory over Tony Finau, making birdie on the 18th in both regulation and the playoff.
  • Last year marked the fourth time in five years that the WMPO was decided in a playoff.
  • Many players played the 16th hole wearing Kobe Bryant jerseys to honor the NBA legend in the aftermath of his tragic death.
  • Another "near miss" for Tony Finau in this one, as he stood on the 17th hole with a two-shot lead in the final round.

 

The Horse

Jon Rahm

DraftKings: $11,200
FanDuel:
 $

Notable Course History: T9 (2020), T10 ('19), T11 ('18), T5 ('15) *Amateur

We're in a real sweet spot on the schedule for Jon Rahm, as he comes off an event in the Farmers where he's been dominant (and once again played well en route to a T7 last week) and heads to another in the WMPO where he's been similarly successful. Like his fellow Arizona State Sun Devil Phil Mickelson, Rahm made his mark on this event while still playing at ASU, posting a T5 as an amateur in 2015. He hasn't looked back and has now ran off back-to-back top-10s in the WMPO over the last two years.

Rahm would normally be the unquestioned top-option in this WMPO field, and while he's still certainly one of the top players this week, he'll be joined by the likes of Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas in Scottsdale this year. Despite the depth of this field, the Spaniard still stands out due to his elite track record in this event, as well as his rock-solid current form. Many were concerned about his health after he was forced to WD from the AmEx a couple of weeks ago, but he put those worries to rest last week with a strong performance at Torrey Pines. Rahm gained 4.9 strokes T2G last week at the Farmers and it marked his 10th-straight start with plus-numbers T2G. Once considered his weakness, his short game continues to evolve, and he's averaged +0.9 strokes Around The Green over his last five tournaments.

Basically, we're getting a top-five player in the world, whose game has pretty much no weaknesses, on a golf course that he loves and is very familiar with.

 

The Ponies

Hideki Matsuyama

DraftKings: $9,800
FanDuel: $

Notable Course History: T16 ('20), T15 ('19), Win ('17 & '16)

If we’re focusing on course history, we have to toss in Hideki Matsuyama when discussing the WMPO. The Japanese superstar won this event back-to-back in 2016-17 and preceded those victories with consecutive top-five finishes. After being forced to WD from the 2018 WMPO, ‘Deki has bounced back to post two top-16 outings over his last two starts at TPC Scottsdale.

While the course history is ultra-elite, Matsuyama heads to the 2021 edition in vintage “Hideki-like” form...which translates to frustratingly inconsistent and tough to peg. He lost a hard-to-fathom 9.7 strokes putting in the season opener at the Sentry - the second-worst statistical outing of his career - but improved to “only” losing 3.8 strokes at the Sony the following week, while gaining 6.8 strokes on Approach. Last week's performance at the Farmers was pretty much bad all around, as Matusyama lost strokes OTT, on Approach, and Putting. So, the recent form with him is spotty at best, making this a bit more of a true "course history" play than we're normally looking at with Hideki.  

Daniel Berger

DraftKings: $9,600
FanDuel: $

Notable Course History: T9 ('20), MC ('19), T11 ('18), T7 ('17), T10 ('15)

In a fairly star-studded field such as this week’s WMPO, there’s always the chance that Daniel Berger goes overlooked. His game isn’t flashy, but his rock-solid ability in all facets helped him turn in a remarkably consistent and successful season in 2020. Berger’s track record in the WMPO is similarly impressive. The FSU alum owns a career scoring average of 69 in six starts at TPC Scottsdale and has posted top-10s in half of those starts. 

Berger comes into this week off two successful 2021 starts. He posted top-10s in each of the “Hawaii Swing” events, gaining strokes T2G in both. While he doesn’t often jump off the page in any specific statistical category, his competence in all facets of the game is exactly what’s needed on this TPC Scottsdale layout.

 

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Like what you read today? You can show your support for Joe by using promo code NICE when purchasing a PGA Premium Pass. You get 10% off and full access to all of our Premium PGA articles, DFS tools, and Lineup Optimizer!

 

Max Homa

DraftKings: $7,900
FanDuel: $

Notable Course History: T6 ('20), T26 ('19)

Not a super-extensive WMPO resume with Max Homa, but there's a lot to like with the Twitter star. Homa has been open about his game not being where he wanted it last year, but he's also been putting in tons of work to get things in order. That work has paid off recently, as he's logged top-25 finishes in each of his last three starts dating back to Mayakoba in December. Homa gained 4.5 strokes on Approach last week at the Farmers en route to a T18 and has continuously looked sharp in 2021.

He brings that positive momentum "home" this week. Homa is a California native that currently resides in Scottsdale. Needless to say, he's extremely familiar with TPC Scottsdale and that comfortability has shown in his results of the last two years, as he's went T6-T26 in his most recent WMPO starts. A really nice blend of positive indicators here and I'm inclined to jump on Homa despite his slight salary bump this week.

Brendan Steele

DraftKings: $7,400
FanDuel: $

Notable Course History: MC ('20), MC ('19), T3 ('18), T6 ('14), T6 ('13), T5 ('12)

Perhaps the easiest label to slap on Brendan Steele is “streaky”. The veteran’s career has been dotted with many ebbs and flows, over which we’ve seen him play both really well for stretches and struggle mightily. The tide is up for Steeley at the moment, as he heads to TPC Scottsdale in sharp form, having posted a T4 and a T21 in his two starts of 2021.

Steele has a great chance to keep things going this week if his WMPO track record is any indicator. He owns a 68.72 career scoring average in this event and has logged four finishes inside the top-six over 10 WMPO starts. Steele has missed the cut in his last two trips to TPC Scottsdale, but I’m comfortable chalking those up to where his game was at the time - remember, he’s streaky. We’re catching him in a nice groove this year, as he’s gained a combined 11.6 strokes T2G in his two starts this year.

Byeong Hun An

DraftKings: $7,300
FanDuel: $

Notable Course History: T9 ('20), T20 ('19), T23 ('18), 6th ('17)

If you’ve played much PGA DFS, then you know that Benny An is anything but consistent. However, An has actually been a steady producer at TPC Scottsdale, racking up two top-10s and two top-25s in his four career appearances in the WMPO.

He’s an epically-bad putter that ranks 133rd in the field in SG: Putting and that ineptitude with the flatstick makes him extremely tough to trust as a fantasy option. Despite the volatility that inherently comes with his putting, Benny is surprisingly reliable both on approach and around the green. He grades out 16th in the WMPO field in SG: Approach over the last 24 rounds, while ranking ninth in SG: Around The Green. All told, his erratic tendencies take him out of cash-game consideration, but his tee-to-green ability and steady production at TPC Scottsdale makes him pop as a strong GPP option this week at this reasonable $7.3k price point. 

 

Win Big With RotoBaller

Golf is back, and it's time for you to win big with RotoBaller! Our PGA DFS Premium Package features several savvy analysts and proven DFS winners.

Our very own Joe Nicely recently took down a big DraftKings DFS tournament for the Travelers Championship. And as an encore, RotoBaller subscriber @tenndolly2 won $100K on FanDuel with the help of Joe and the rest of our Premium PGA team: Between all the incredible Premium PGA DFS content and tools we put out each week, and our Premium Slack Community where we chat with our subscribers before lineups lock, RotoBaller PGA subscribers are armed with the tools, analysis, and advice to win big.

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