With 22 of the top 25 players in the world rankings teeing it up for this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, we’ve got the strongest field we’ve had for any event this year so far.
Waste Management Phoenix Open Preview: Scheffler can repeat
Among them are the two hottest players in the game in Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy and given their recent exploits, it’s unsurprising the duo are battling it out for favouritism with the Spaniard the marginal 15/2 favourite and Rory 8/1.
Both are in the form of their lives and clearly have excellent chances, but we’ll be taking them on with the defending champion.
Much on the line for Scottie
Much of the talk this week, and understandably, will be around Rahm and McIlroy with the latter hoping to remain on top of the world rankings, while Rahm can displace him if things fall into place. However, another man can also ascend to the top and that’s Scottie Scheffler.
The man ranked number two in the world will be itching to get back to the top of the rankings and this week’s tournament looks a very good opportunity to do just that. Don’t forget that 12 months ago this is where Scheffler opened his PGA Tour account when defeating Patrick Cantlay in a nail-biting play-off and it was the start of purple patch for the American which saw him win four times in six starts, including at the Masters.
We all knew how good he was, but the win in Phoenix seemed to open the floodgates confidence-wise and he has never really looked back having firmly established himself as one of the world’s best.
He hasn’t actually won since the aforementioned Masters, but that’s not to say he’s played badly as he’s finished runner-up four times, including at the U.S. Open. And if you dig deeper into his results, there’s quite a clear correlation between how he fared prior to his win last year and how he’s got on ahead of his defence this time around. He finished second in the Hero World Challenge in 2021 – the same position he achieved in 2022 – before two solid showings at The American Express and Farmers Insurance Open. He chose to play the Sentry Tournament of Champions as well as the American Express his time around, but he fared even better with a tie for seventh in Hawaii and a tie for 11th at The American Express.
Those results show all facets of his game are in really good shape and he’s a big player at 12/1.
Kim and Noren could go well
Of the other contenders, keep an eye on Tom Kim at 25/1. He seems to impress every time he plays and is probably the player with the most potential in the game at the moment. This is a course that should suit him and he comes into this on the back of an excellent series of finishes, after a tie for fifth in Hawaii and a tie for sixth at The American Express.
Also, take note of Alex Noren, who has a habit of turning up in events like this one. He could be worth a second look at 60/1.
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