Farmers Insurance Open winner Patrick Reed, along with several other top American players, will be making the trip over to Saudi Arabia to play in the European Tour event this weekend. But plenty of talent remains stateside to play another desert event, the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.
Scottsdale resident and OWGR No. 2 Jon Rahm, off a T-7 last week at Torrey Pines, is once again the tournament favorite at 13/2. Justin Thomas, a week removed off a rare missed cut in Abu Dhabi, has finished third the last two years here and is the second choice at 8/1. Xander Schauffele (11/1) finally put together a good finish at his hometown event in San Diego last weekend with a T-2 at the Farmers.
Here are some players who are worth a wager this weekend.
Rory McIlroy (11/1)
Makes his first career appearance at TPC Scottsdale.
McIlroy led the field last week at Torrey Pines for Greens In Regulation despite rating 68th in the field for Driving Accuracy. He should also like the Bermudagrass a little better than the Poa Annua from last weekend.
Daniel Berger (22/1)
Is off to a good start in 2021 with back-to-back top-10 finishes in Hawaii. Now he comes in refreshed from two weeks off to a place where he has very good form. He has four top-11 finishes in just six appearances in Scottsdale.
Will Zalatoris (40/1)
Finished seventh last weekend in his first official start of 2021. In fact, he now has 14 top 10 or better finishes worldwide (Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour) since the start of 2020, the most of any player in the world. Both the Approach and Tee-To-Green facets of his game seem to be on point at the moment since he ranks top 5 on the PGA Tour for both categories.
Bubba WatsonGetty Images
Bubba Watson (50/1)
Has five top 5 or better finishes in the last nine years at TPC Scottsdale.
1 in this week’s field for SG: Tee-To-Green. He showed some good late form in 2020 with back-to-back finishes at Sherwood and Shadow Creek.
Byeong Hun An (80/1)
Has two top 10s in four appearances at TPC Scottsdale and was the 54-hole leader back in 2017 before falling back with a 73 on Sunday to finish sixth. While last week’s finish was not great, he was eighth at the American Express in another desert course setting which he has taken a liking to over the years. New coach Sean Foley seems to have his swing back on the right track.
Matthew NeSmith (125/1)
Ranks first in this week’s field for Greens In Regulation and eighth for SG: Approach (2nd last week at Torrey Pines). While not having as strong of a performance for the Shriners last fall as event winner Laird, NeSmith did finish eighth on a similar desert layout to what he will see at TPC Scottsdale.
Martin Laird (150/1)
The Scottsdale resident has four top 10s in the last nine years here, but this season he comes in as an OWGR Top 100 player for the first time since 2013 courtesy of his victory last fall at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, another desert layout.