The Daily Spin – DraftKings Preview – Waste Management Phoenix Open

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte January 29, 2020 12:58

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Preview – Waste Management Phoenix Open

Torrey Pines was a great week for the FGI crew. Cash games were an easy win by Friday afternoon. Aaron (@ge3kusa) hit big in consecutive Showdown slates and Statboy was in contention in the $444 late into Sunday afternoon until Palmer fell back and Rahm charged up the board to push him back to a 9th place finish. All three of us walked away with a nice profit for the weekend and had a great three days out walking the course. The weather was on the cool side and there was actually fog that rolled in on Thursday and Friday so it had the feel of The Open Championship, though we did not get the rain or heavy winds.

As for the players that we had the chance to watch, I was really impressed with Patrick Reed. Statboy had Billy Horschel on his single bullet team for the week so we caught up with that group on Thursday on the North Course. Watching Reed’s short game just blows my mind. He is so good around the green and with his putter that you just never feel like he is out of it on any hole until he actually makes a bogey. Between his ability to tuck in a wedge shot tight to the pin or knock in a clutch 10 foot putt to save par, he always seems to find ways to make difficult situations look easy and that was the case again on Thursday.

On Friday, we tailed Gary Woodland for about 8 holes since he was someone that most of us owned heavily for the week. He missed the cut, but I was not too worried about it overall. Everything came undone for him on Thursday when he found the fairway on a shorter Par 4 and was about 125 yards out when the wheels came off and he ended up making a triple bogey. It was an uphill battle from there and he definitely could have made the cut on Friday. He was great off the tee, but he just could not hit a putt to save his life, blowing several easy birdie opportunities. He was bogey free on Friday which was encouraging, but the triple on Thursday was just too much to overcome. Overall, I did not see anything that worried me about his game where I would be uncomfortable playing him again immediately with the hope that recency bias would kick in for other potential owners after the missed cut.

The rest of the tournament played out almost exactly how I expected. The decision up top came down to Rory or Rahm. While Rahm ended up as the better play, they were neck and neck for much of the weekend and late into Sunday so that really could have gone either way. We knew that this was an event where course history was an important factor. We dodged Rickie who missed yet another cut at Torrey and inexplicably cannot find his way to a decent finish at this event. We also faded Justin Rose, once again being proven right on avoiding players who were playing on the other side of the world the week prior to a tournament stateside. Finally, we knew a big name would end up winning the tournament as is almost always the case at the Farmers and Marc Leishman stepped up big over the weekend in dismantling the South Course on his way to the win. The Farmers continues to be one of our best events each year to focus on as a money maker. The field is strong enough to find deep value in cash games and we’ve consistently had good fortune in GPP contests since it is an event where very specific types of players tend to perform well each year.

While Torrey Pines is personally a very exciting event for myself and the FGI crew, the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale is usually the favorite event this time of year for golf and DFS fans. The energy around this tournament only seems to get bigger by the year. I am not sure how many more people they can squeeze onto the course, but it seems as if a new attendance record is set every year. Of course, the biggest draw here is the Par 3, 16th hole which is set inside of an actual stadium. It is well known as the wildest hole in golf with a cheering/jeering crowd that shows up well lubricated early in the morning and only builds throughout the day. There really is not anything else like it in golf and it is fun to see players who engage with the crowd and also those that are rattled by it.

I really do enjoy the way that this course is set up. Some architects build for style, others for aesthetics, but TPC Scottsdale, in my opinion, has the best finishing stretch of holes on tour each year. I really enjoy a golf course where there are big risks and big rewards for players late in a tournament that forces them to play holes in a certain manner. The 13th hole is an average length Par 5 that should yield plenty of birdies. The 14th is a lengthy Par 4 and from there, the last four holes are a lot of fun. The 15th hole is gettable in two shots, but with the island green, coming up short can be a disaster. The 16th hole is filled with excitement, even if it is an easier Par 3. The atmosphere, especially by Sunday afternoon will make it that much more of a challenge. The 17th hole is one of my favorite driveable Par 4s of the year. There is water to the left of the hole as well as long so it can be an eagle opportunity or a bogey depending if players are aggressive. Finally, the 18th hole has pew bunkers and water down the left side which invariably will cause some heartache over the weekend. Though it is not the longest hole to finish on by tour standards, there is enough trouble along the way so that players will need to be cautious to avoid the hazards.

Last week, you needed distance to win at Torrey Pines. With a 7700 yard course, there was just no way around needing length to compete. TPC Scottsdale is another course where bombers really shine, but distance is not quite as essential as last week. The reason bombers tend to have success at certain courses over others is usually due to one of two reasons. First, if the fairways are wide open, that allows golfers to grab their driver and pound away without worry about missing the fairways. The other type of course is where the fairways are a little more on the narrow side, but where the rough is very limited or easy to hit from. The second case is true this week which is why we see a player like Bubba Watson do well here most years. As long as players avoid the really nasty desert vegetation, then getting that extra distance off the tee is beneficial. The last five winners here: Rickie Fowler, Gary Woodland, Hideki x2 and Brooks Koepka. All of these are guys that are strong off the tee, but also great long iron players as well. When you see the names on this list as well as those that contend each year, this is another course where the best players tend to shine each year.

KEY STATS

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 30%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 25%
Strokes Gained Putting: 20%
Par 5 Scoring: 10%
Scrambling: 5%
Prox 175-200: 5%
Prox over 200: 5%

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte January 29, 2020 12:58

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