The “Greatest Show on Grass” gets underway in the early hours of Friday morning (AEDT) as the 82nd annual Phoenix Open tees off from TPC Scottsdale in Phoenix, Arizona.
Known for its relaxed attitude and raucous crowds, the Phoenix Open is one of the premier events on the PGA calendar, a tournament that has been won by three Aussies in the past. There’s a cool $7.1 million up for grabs for the overall winner, and while there’s a handful of big names missing, this year’s field looks wide open with three of the World’s Top 10 in contention.
Be sure to check out everything you need to know in our complete 2019 WM Phoenix Open Preview below.
Jon Rahm: $8.00
For the third tournament in a row Rahm starts as the odds on favourite. The 24-year-old Spaniard was on the money last week in the Farmers Insurance Open, leading by the end of Round 1 after carding a beautiful -14 under 62. Things quickly turned as Rahm struggled on Day 2 falling 10-shots behind. He bounced-back to finish tied for fifth however, extending his streak of Top 10 finishes to three in 2019. Now making his fourth appearance at the Phoenix Open, fans should rest easy knowing Rahm has finished no worse than 16th, including a fifth-place finish during his first year on Tour.
Justin Thomas: $10.00
Thomas returns to Phoenix after carding a final round 66 to finish tied for 14th at last year’s Open. The American has played some tidy golf to start the New Year finishing third at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and 16th at the Sony Open in Hawaii this month. Currently No.4 in the world, Thomas enjoyed three wins last year in the CJ Cup, the Honda Classic and the World Golf Championships, while he also remains one of the most successful players from tee-to-green, ranking second in 2018 and third so far this season.
Hideki Matsuyama: $13.00
The 26-year-old Japanese sensation can join some pretty elite company this weekend. A win would place him alongside Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler, Mark Calcavecchia, and Phil Mickelson as the only players to win the Phoenix Open on three separate occasions. Matsuyama won this event on back-to-back occasions in 2016-2017, both of which came in clutch playoff scenarios. After a slow start to 2019 that saw him finish tied for 51st in Hawaii, Matsuyama bounced-back tremendously last week to finish tied for third at the Farmers Insurance Open. To make this story even more compelling, he’ll also tee off alongside Mickelson on Friday.
Gary Woodland: $17.00
The defending champ returns to Phoenix a year after winning a playoff hole over Chez Reavie. The win marked Woodland’s first since 2013, and if you fast-forward, he’s started 2019 in promising fashion. Woodland finished second at the Sentry Tournament last month and ninth last week at Torrey Pines. Known as one of the bigger hitters on Tour, the wide open fairways suit a long driver like Woodland perfectly, but he’ll no doubt have his work cut out for him if the putter lets him down.
Xander Schauffele: $17.00
The FedEx Cup leader had another luckless performance at Torrey Pines last week, a course that has caused Schauffele plenty of problems. The good news is the World N0. 7 showed plenty of promise in last year’s Phoenix Open, finishing tied for 17th after a brilliant third-round 66. Schauffele, who is currently becoming somewhat of a fan favourite, felt the pressure last week teeing off alongside Tiger Woods and Tony Finau in front of his home crowd. A week later, he’ll need to calm the nerves after being paired with Jon Rahm and the ever colourful Bubba Watson.
Tony Finau: $21.00
You certainly can’t knock Finau’s play last week. Three straight rounds of 69 saw the American finish tied for 13th in the Farmers Insurance Open, but unfortunately TPC Scottsdale has been less than kind to the 29-year-old. Finau has failed to make the cut in each of his last three tries here, and since his last win on Tour came way back in 2016, you should probably wait until we see a little more.
Top 10 Finish
Rickie Fowler: $2.63
Things got off to a rough start for Fowler last week at Torrey Pines. A first round 73 made life tough for the American, and after bouncing back on Day 2 with a second round 66, Fowler finished just -1 under tied for 66th. Since it was Fowler’s first tournament of the New Year however, he does deserve a mulligan. His history at the Phoenix Open is chequered at best, failing to make the cut twice but also finishing second on two separate occasions (2010, 2016). Fowler’s putting game looked a little off last week in California but with so much experience on this course, he’s a great bet to finish somewhere towards the top.
Phil Mickelson: $2.63
Lefty returns to his old stomping ground having won this tournament three times already. If Mickelson adds another, he’ll surpass Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler, and Mark Calvacecchia to become the all-time leading Phoenix Open champion. After a second-place finish at the Desert Classic a fortnight ago, you really have to like his chances. Phil has been competing in this event for over 30-years, so if you’re looking for an experienced hand that can still be around the finish on the final day, Mickelson is as good a bet as any.