2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open betting preview


The PGA Tour makes its way to Arizona this week for the Waste Management Phoenix Open and its traditional Sunday finish right before the Super Bowl kicks off. The tournament will take place at TPC Scottsdale, a familiar stop on tour, and often providing exciting/close finishes. Seven of the last eight tournaments have been won by one stroke, with four of those going to a playoff. Only Rickie Fowler’s victory was by multiple strokes (2), but the weather that year made for an extremely interesting final round.

The course is most 16th hole, the famous par 3 surrounded by stadium seating and rowdy fans who boo any shot that isn’t inside 15 feet. Whatever you think of the gimmick (I love it), it cannot be denied that it adds to the close of the tournament as the leaders enter the tunnel. It follows a reachable par 5, made less reachable if the fairway is missed, having to cross water to reach the green and then the drivable par 4 17th, with the risk of pulling it into the water or blasting it over the green into the water. The 18th takes the excitement back slightly as most pro just blast it out to the right to avoid the church pew bunkers up the left but there is some risk. 


TPC Scottsdale

Par 71 | 7,261 Yards

You will read all about distance and “ball strikers” paradise and the course truly is set up wonderfully for them to excel. However, I will caution you to not overlook a bit of accuracy off the tee. The rough itself isn’t super penal, but the greens are so easy to hit from the fairway (81%) than being in the rough makes it much more difficult to get high quality birdie chances compared to those playing from the fairway. Another hazard is the desert outline/rocks if drives stray even further from the fairway and things can get dicey rather quickly. Distance is still more important that accuracy off the tee, but some shorter hitters can still succeed off the tee here but taking the route of extra fairways. 

The field arriving in Phoenix is fairly deep, and we see when the talent shows up to PGA Tour events, it’s rare we get the outlier winners; you have to go back to 2014 to find a surprise winner, Kevin Stadler. With the course requiring a mix of distance off the tee and precision long iron play, a lot of the field feels like long shots before the tournament begins. Obviously, that is a generalization but the point I’m trying to convey is that I would be cautious getting wrapped up looking far down the list of golfers to find your winner. 

Overall, TPC Scottsdale seems to play relatively the same year after year so we can narrow the focus on our predictions. It will start with off the tee play, something we have not factored heavily to start the season, and golfers will see a fair amount of mid-iron approaches. 

Below you will a free pick for this week’s tournament. For all of my picks, check out the Bet Tracker and use code AXIS for 20% of a premium subscription.


Top 40 | Russell Henley

-110, FanDuel Sportsbook

Normally the top 40s come a bit further down the board, but I am very high on Henley this week, and the number is quite off what I make it. At a ball-striking paradise, Henley’s game fits perfectly. About tour average in distance and above-average accuracy should play out well for Henley, who has been one of the best iron players on tour over the last year. As I mentioned earlier, distance will be important but the GIR% from the fairways at TPC Scottsdale is well above tour average from the fairways, which Henley can take advantage of. He has been playing extremely well early in the season, finishing inside the top 40 in every start except at Mayakoba, and 6 of 7 have been inside the top 25. His history at this event is a bit of a mixed bag, having been let down by his driver, but his OTT game has steadily improved since last summer. Henley is currently on one of his best stretches of golf in years and if even just part of these recent skill bumps he’s shown continue to carry over, a T40 is will within the expected outcomes. 

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