Quick look at the Waste Management Phoenix Open
January 29, 2020
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- A look at the iconic par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. (PGA TOUR)
You may heard of the 16th at TPC Scottsdale. Shortest hole on the course. Enclosed by stands. A packed house. Party atmosphere. Sure, the gallery sometimes can be, well, a bit boisterous, but it’s all in good fun. Yet don’t forget the other 17 holes this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Those are the ones that usually decide the winner.
THREE PLAYERS TO PONDER
You’ve just finished the hardest hole at TPC Scottsdale, the 490-yard par-4 14th. Now it’s time to make your final move on the easiest three-hole stretch on the course. The 553-yard par-5 15th is the shorter of the two par 5s; the 163-yard par-3 16th is the shortest on the course; and the 332-yard par-4 17th is the shortest par 4. Collectively, they played to just under a half-stroke below par last year. The closing hole, the 442-yard par-4 18th, is more challenging, but by then, you’ve got momentum. Right?
TPC Scottsdale - The finishing stretch
Speaking of the drivable 17th … more than 10% of all tee shots struck at that hole in the last 17 years have found the putting surface. Most of the field will try to drive the green – 86% tried it last year, with 18% of those being successful. Even finding the water that guards the left and back side of the green is not terrible, with a par-or-better conversion rate of 40%. No surprise it’s this week’s Aon Risk Reward Challenge hole. A look below at where all tee shots landed last year.
From PGA TOUR meteorologist Stewart Williams: “Breezy conditions may linger into Thursday morning before decreasing and becoming light during the afternoon Thursday. Otherwise mostly sunny skies return with highs in the upper 60s expected. High pressure will build over the region Friday and dominate the weather through the weekend. This will provide a gradual warming trend, with highs returning to the mid-70s this weekend under sunny skies. The next piece of upper level energy will arrive on Monday, bringing a chance for showers and cooler temperatures.”
For the latest weather news from Scottsdale, Arizona, check out the PGA TOUR weather Hub.
SOUND CHECKIt's so hard to control your adrenaline. You have so many juices pumping and your … hands are tingling and it's a little shaky. It's a great atmosphere; it's a great hole. The fans are unbelievable, they are what makes this event what it is.”
BY THE NUMBERS
1,759 – Total tee shots struck at par-3 16th since the last hole-in-one (Francesco Molinari, third round, 2015). Despite the drought, the 16th remains one of the easiest par 3s on TOUR to ace; just eight other par 3s since 1983 have yielded more aces than the 16th.
27 under – J.B. Holmes’ score at the drivable par-4 17th in 48 career rounds. That’s the best of any player since 2006.
+62.85 – Hideki Matsuyama’s Strokes Gained: Tee to Green at TPC Scottsdale, most of any player since 2014.
70 under – Matsuyama’s cumulative score at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, best of any player since 2014.
30 – Weeks that Justin Thomas has led the FedExCup standings in his career, making him the fourth player to reach that mark (Tiger Woods, Jimmy Walker and Dustin Johnson are the others).
Welcome back: Charl Schwartzel is making his first PGA TOUR start in nearly nine months. Schwartzel last appeared on TOUR at the 2019 RBC Heritage in April. He was then sidelined with a wrist injury and didn’t return to action until December at an event in his native South Africa, finishing T3 at the Alfred Dunhill Championship. He missed the cut in his next two starts overseas. Schwartzel, a two-time TOUR winner, starts his season on a Major Medical Extension. He’ll have 12 starts available to earn 262 FedExCup points to keep his card.
Speaking of South Africans: Branden Grace has found his game. He won the South African Open in mid-January, his first win on any Tour since 2017, and he also had a top-3 finish and a top-20 finish to sandwich that victory. A year ago, Grace was solo second to Rickie Fowler at TPC Scottsdale in his tournament debut, leading the field in scoring on the par 3s and par 5s. “I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season,” he said that Sunday. But he was unable capitalize on the momentum, failing to produce another top-10 finish in his next 23 stroke-play starts. That dropped him out of contention for a spot on the International Team, a tough blow given his track record at the Presidents Cup. His South African Open victory not only has him back on track, it also finished off the career slam of South African events. Grace had previously won the Joburg Open, Alfred Dunhill Championship, Dimension Data Pro-Am and Nedbank Golf Challenge. Grace’s lone TOUR win is the 2016 RBC Heritage.
Speaking of winners: In this week’s field are 91 different PGA TOUR winners (for a combined total of 258 victories). Excluding THE PLAYERS Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs events, that makes just the fourth field on the PGA TOUR schedule since 2010 to have more than 90 different winners. The others are the 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in both 2018 and 2019.