2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open - Predictions

Who will win the 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open? Our research staff offers predictions and analysis. The defending champion is Hideki Matsuyama. The 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open is scheduled for February 2-5 at TPC Scottsdale.


Hideki Matsuyama
JScore: 4
⦿ Defending champion, three top-5 finishes in three career starts.
⦿ One win and two runner-ups this season.
⦾ Form has diminished in recent weeks. Could be due to poor course compatibility rather than performance.
⦾ Last player to successfully defend the title was Johnny Miller in 1975.

Jordan Spieth
JScore: 4
⦿ Two top-3s in two starts this season.
⦿ GIR of over 83% in each of his starts.
⦿ T7 in his one start at the Phoenix Open (2015).
⦾ Two-week layoff.

Bubba Watson
JScore: 3
⦿ Best player without a Phoenix Open title. Two second-place finishes.
⦿ Ability to shape shots perfectly suits the host venue.
⦿ Former resident of Scottsdale. Course knowledge.
⦾ First PGA Tour start since Tournament of Champions.
⦾ Recent form is not good.

Jon Rahm
JScore: 3
⦿ Winner last week in San Diego.
⦿ A powerful player in the same vein as a Dustin Johnson. Can go low on any course.
⦾ Only one top-10 finish in five starts this season.

Phil Mickelson
JScore: 2
⦿ 3-time champion.
⦿ Two consecutive top-25s to start the year.
⦾ Last PGA Tour victory was in 2013.


🏆Winner: Bubba Watson. The TPC of Scottsdale is a risk-reward course that favors shot makers with strong scrambling skills. A good shot will lead to an excellent birdie opportunity, but a bad shot will likely end up in one of the course's many natural hazards. Watson's game is a good fit for this course. His ability to shape shots allows him to avoid most hazards. His scrambling skills are quite underrated. Moreover, Watson was a Scottsdale resident until recently. He probably knows more about this course than most players in the field. The two-time Masters champion has been on a good run at the Phoenix Open, finishing second in two of the last three years.

💳Top 10 Finish: Hideki Matsuyama. Some courses just fit a golfer's eye and TPC Scottsdale is just that for the Japanese star. Matsuyama has played this course three times with three top-5 finishes. The defending champion would have been our top pick to win if not for a recent string of poor ball striking performances. His mediocre finishes at the Sony and Farmers are not really a concern, since he has never done well on those courses. What is more troubling is his below-average iron play since the start of the year. His stroke gain average for approach shots ranks 86th on tour compared to 7th last year. His proximity to the pin ranks 35th compared to 15th the previous season. In another word, we are not seeing his usual shot-making genius the last three starts and that's a huge concern. Nonetheless, Matsuyama's affinity for the course will allow him to again contend here.

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