But first what a round from Sneds! We lucked out a little last week with Snedekers freakish round coupled with the Monday return which saw the field come right back to our winner. We’ll take it.
On then to the glamorously named Waste Management Phoenix Open another PGA Tour event with history stretching back to 1932. Sadly this event now rankles with the health and safety gone mad brigade having their way and banning the caddy / player races down slosh alley – otherwise known as the 16th.
The course TPC Scottsdale is a purpose built venue designed to accommodate the massive crowds. Expect numerous references to why can’t other tournaments have more of the 16th’s atmosphere. That’s what football is for.
Scottsdale was given a facelift last year by none other than Tom Weiskopf – who stats fans might like to know hit 69 greens in regulation on the way to his 1973 Open Championship win at Troon.
I doubt anyone will hit 60 greens this week let alone 69. That aside this does have the feel of a filler event with only Ricky and Bubba inside the top ten teeing it up.
Last week we opposed Ricky on the basis that backing up is hard to do. What we saw then was a man whose putting deserted him at Torrey Pines. The travel can’t have helped last week and missing the cut was probably a blessing given the damage the final round conditions can inflict on a swing. He looks though like he needs a break.
Bubba? How can you fathom him? On the face of it he looks to have a perfect profile. He loves the hoopla and whatever else it is about the place it works with consecutive runners up finishes the last two running’s along with 2 other top 10’s in nine appearances. Coupled with his end of year form Bubba looks certain to be in the mix. Except its Bubba and he’s 12/1. No.
Sneds tee’s it up for the 4th week in five and as with Ricky last week we’ll oppose him seeking consecutive wins.
Brooks Koepka won here lest year and has good recent form but his 14/1 quote seems too short even for an event devoid of Jordan and Rory.
A case could be made for a handful of others amongst them: Matsuyama (runner up last year , 4th the year before..great stats…just doesn’t win enough for the price to warrant backing him), Dufner (last two appearances aside he liked this place and is back in form..again the price doesn’t appeal), Milky Phil (his 2013 Open Championship is looking more and more like the zenith of an amazing career. Not saying he won’t ever win again…just not this week). Ryan Palmer, Graham Delaet, Webb Simpson – enough!
Lets start with two-time winner J B Holmes. True his wins came way back and he’s since only managed one top ten – but he is back in form with a manful 6th last week. He strikes me as man with a swing that a hurricane couldn’t put out of whack so no concerns over the damage from Torrey Pines. J B won 4 of his 17 million dollars he’s amassed as a pro last year with a win and 2 second place finishes and it has to be remembered he did have a wilderness period with brain surgery. So he looks like a man back to his best at a place where he has won twice.
Our second pick is a man who has like Holmes won over 17 million dollars on tour. Unlike Holmes he hasn’t won for five years.
Enter Aaron Baddeley.
Why? A great effort last week was Badds’s 2nd top ten in six events this season and he has won around here. Yes his win was eight years ago and his performances since have been modest but he did finish 17th last year. A superb putter his game nosedived to some extent with his experiment with stack and tilt. The process of this now seemingly faddish approach destroyed his long game with some of his play verging on laughable. Scottsdale of course requires good tee to green play but like any PGA Tour event requires that your putter is hot. We will speculate on Baddeley’s good recent form igniting a week on the greens here.