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Vincenzi’s 2024 WM Phoenix Open betting preview: Star names to shine in the desert

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After a windy week at Pebble Beach, golf fans will be treated to an outstanding field at one of the best tournaments for viewing of the season. The raucous crowd at the famous 16th hole followed by a memorable finishing stretch of holes has turned into a Super Bowl Sunday staple leading up to the big game.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is no longer a “signature event”, as it was last year, but it has still attracted a very solid group of players. The field will feature plenty of stars including Matt Fitzpatrick, Rickie Fowler, Viktor Hovland, Sungjae Im, Jordan Spieth, Cameron Young, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Sahith Theegala and Adam Scott. 

TPC Scottsdale is a par-71 that measures 7,261 yards and features Bermudagrass greens (although they are much more of a blend rather than pure Bermudagrass).

Past Winners at the Waste Management Phoenix Open

  • 2023: Scottie Scheffler (-19)
  • 2022: Scottie Scheffler (-22)
  • 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)

Let’s take a look at several metrics for TPC Scottsdale to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:

Going forward, I’ll be using the brand-new Bet The Number data engine to develop my custom model. All statistics listed come directly from the PGA Tour. If you want to build your own model or check out all of the detailed stats, you can sign up using promo code: MATT for $5 off the Monthly and $50 off the Annual Subscription. 

Strokes Gained: Approach

Approach will once again be very important this week.

Last year, Scottie Scheffler gained 9.1 strokes on approach on his way to victory. In 2021, Brooks Koepka was second in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach, trailing only Jordan Spieth, who finished fourth. In 2020, Webb Simpson ranked first in the field in the category en route to a playoff victory over Tony Finau.

The greens are relatively flat, and pins should be accessible.

Total Strokes Gained: Approach in Past 24 Rounds (per round):

  1. Xander Schauffele (+1.1)
  2. Mark Hubbard (+.91)
  3. Taylor Montgomery (+.90)
  4. Scottie Scheffler (+.89)
  5. Beau Hossler (+.86)

SG: Off the Tee

TPC Scottsdale is not an overly long golf course. Distance off the tee is not absolutely essential, but it is a definite asset. A good combination of distance and accuracy should be the recipe this week, with distance still being a bit more important.

SG: OTT in Past 24 Rounds (per round):

  1. Kevin Yu (+1.0)
  2. Scottie Scheffler (+.95) 
  3. Keith Mitchell (+.91)
  4. Byeong Hun An (+.86)
  5. Jhonnatan Vegas (+.81)

Strokes Gained: Putting

Greens tend to get really firm and fast in the Arizona desert. Statistically, players will have to putt well to contend. 

Strokes Gained: Putting in last 24 rounds:

  1. Min Woo Lee (+1.3)
  2. Sam Ryder (+1.3)
  3. Chad Ramey (+1.2)
  4. Taylor Montgomery (+1.1)
  5. Matt Kuchar (+1.0)

Greens in Regulation Percentage

Statistics from previous years at TPC Scottsdale say Greens in Regulation: Gained at the course is much more indicative of the winner at this tournament than TOUR average.

With many bunkers and firm dry areas around the greens, missing the putting surface can be consequential.

Total Greens in Regulation Gained: Gained in Past 24 Rounds

  1. Scottie Scheffler (+82.8%) 
  2. Andrew Putnam (+82.6%) 
  3. Corey Conners (+80.7%)
  4. Lucas Glover (+80.3%)
  5. Erik Van Rooyen (+80.2%)

Bogey Avoidance

With the winner in the high teens under par on average, making a lot of bogeys will make it incredibly difficult to contend. 

Bogey Avoidance: Past 24 Rounds

  1. Ryan Moore (+7.1)
  2. Andrew Putnam (+7.9)
  3. Scottie Scheffler (+8.3)
  4. Alex Noren (+8.3)
  5. Viktor Hovland (+8.4)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: App (28%), SG: OTT (25%), SG: Putting (17%), GIR %(18%) and Bogey Avoidance (12%).

  1. Scottie Scheffler (+550)
  2. Xander Schauffele (+1100)
  3. Corey Conners (+7000)
  4. Sam Ryder (+18000)
  5. Adam Svensson (+13000)
  6. Erik Van Rooyen (+11000)
  7. Viktor Hovland (+1100)
  8. Chesson Hadley (+10000)
  9. Taylor Montgomery (+8000)
  10. Max Homa (+1600)

2024 Waste Management Phoenix Open Picks

Justin Thomas +1400 (DraftKings)

Justin Thomas has been on fire to kick off his 2024 season. He finished 3rd at the American Express and put another great week together at Pebble Beach, finishing in a tie for 6th. Now he will be heading to a course that he absolutely loves in search of his first victory since the 2022 PGA Championship.

Thomas has played some great golf at TPC Scottsdale. He finished 4th at the course last year and 8th in 2022, gaining 7.1 strokes on approach, which was second in the field behind only Bubba Watson. Additionally, Thomas has third place finishes in both 2019 and 2020 as well as a 13th place finish in 2021.  

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is an event I’ve always thought Justin Thomas was destined to win. As we’ve seen at both the Ryder Cup and the President’s Cup, “JT” is a player who thrives off of energy from the crowd, and he’ll certainly get his fair share of that this week in Scottsdale.

Jordan Spieth +2200 (DraftKings)

Spieth hit the ball pretty well at Pebble Beach but just couldn’t get many putts to fall. The former Masters champion has played well at TPC Scottsdale throughout his career, and this should be another event where he has a chance to contend, especially with the field a bit weaker this week.

Last year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Spieth finished in 6th place and gained 11.5 strokes from tee to green including an incredible 8.4 of those strokes on approach, which was second only to the winner Scottie Scheffler. He also has past finishes of 4th in 2021 and 9th in 2017.

Spieth has had a strong start to his season, finishing 3rd at The Sentry prior to a mediocre week at Pebble Beach. Spieth in contention would be a great scene on Super Bowl Sunday.

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19th Hole

TaylorMade signs 15-year-old AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year to an NIL contract

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This week, TaylorMade Golf announced that they’ve signed AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year, Miles Russell, to an NIL contract.

In a statement, TaylorMade called Russell “nothing short of remarkable”.

“Miles’ record setting success at his young age is nothing short of remarkable and we are excited he chose us to support him in his growth as a golfer to continue to accomplish his career goals. Identifying and developing the top junior talent in the world has always been a priority for us at TaylorMade. Miles and his family epitomize the type of athlete and human being we are looking to add to Team TaylorMade.”

Russell has broken plenty of records in recent months. This season, he was named American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Boys Player of the Year, making him the youngest male player to receive the award. The record was previously held by Tiger Woods who was about 10 months older than Russell at the time he received the award.

At age 14, J he became the youngest player ever to win the Junior PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass at age 14.

The 15-year-old also played in his first Korn Ferry Tour event on Thursday, the LECOM Suncoast Classic, and shot a first-round 68.

In the aftermath of the agreement, Russell released a statement.

“I have had a great relationship with the team at TaylorMade for years now and couldn’t be more excited to continue to work with them in the future. TaylorMade has a history of developing the top junior talent in the world to help reach their goals of becoming PGA TOUR and major championship winners. I am looking forward to working with the team to reach those and other goals I have laid out for my career.”

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Group of PGA Tour caddies sign endorsement deal with underwear company

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In an interesting turn of events, a group of PGA Tour caddies have signed an endorsement deal with an underwear company.

Geno Bonnalie (Joel Dahmen), Aaron Flener (J.T. Poston), John Limanti (Akshay Bhatia) and Joel Stock (Will Zalatoris) and John Ellis (Wyndham Clark) have signed a deal with the underwear brand, SAXX.

Here are some details about the endorsement deal:

  • The deal eclipses six figures in total value, extending what last year marked the first significant apparel agreement with a group of pro caddies. Of note, Geno and John Ellis appeared in the Netflix docuseries, Full Swing.
  • The caddies will wear SAXX underwear, shorts and polos on and off the course.
  • SAXX will donate $100 to the Testicular Cancer Foundation for every birdie made by the caddies’ players for the rest of the season.
  • SAXX will bring the Ball Masters to the masses at the Travelers Championship, hosting a fan activation with underwear giveaways, photo opportunities, appearances from the Ball Masters and more.
  • Fans can become an honorary Ball Master, which includes a year’s worth of underwear, among other things. Go to SAXX.com/ball-master-application from now until June 15 to enter.

The partnership is great for the caddies and also represents a great cause.

Check out the video they shared on YouTube:

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Man charged with stealing millions of dollars worth of memorabilia from Augusta National

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Augusta National

According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, a man has been charged in Chicago with stealing millions of dollars’ worth of memorabilia from Augusta National.

The man, Robert Globensky, was charged with transporting the memorabilia across state lines.

The report states that between 2009 and 2022, Globensky allegedly transported “millions of dollars’ worth of Masters golf tournament merchandise and historical memorabilia” from Augusta National “and transported to Tampa, Florida, knowing the same had been stolen, converted and taken by fraud.”

The document was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Per the court records there is no mention that Globensky worked for the golf club.

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