The PGA Tour heads into February with one of the oldest established tournaments on the circuit. The Phoenix Open was first held in 1932 and has tended to draw one of the more competitive fields in the early part of the year.
For 2020, Rickie Fowler arrives as the defending champion and, after a reasonable start to the season, he is widely touted to add to the list of multiple winners.
We claimed a return last week as Tony Finau made it into the top 10 but a spectacular slump from Ryan Palmer on the final day denied us a second profit at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Let’s see if we can build on these results with this Phoenix Open preview and its predictions as we head to TPC Scottsdale.
Jon Rahm (+650 or 13/2 with Bovada online bookmaker) leads the outright betting this week after a productive four days at the Farmers Insurance Open. The Spaniard would have been disappointed with a two-under final round that saw him finish just one shot behind Marc Leishman but the result continued an impressive run for the popular European.
Rahm is yet to win the Phoenix Open but he is four for four at TPC Scottsdale and those four finishes have all come inside the last 16.
Behind the outright favorite is Justin Thomas (+900 or 9/1) who returns to the fairways after a strong start to 2020. JT has won three of his last seven tournaments but unlike Jon Rahm, he doesn’t have a great record in this event.
Gaps start to open up behind the top two as we move out several points to third favorite Webb Simpson (+1400 or 14/1). The 34-year-old lost out in a playoff to Hideki Matsuyama (16/1) in 2017 and he has converted six top 5 finishes in his last 16 outings.
Matsuyama’s win in 2017 was his second in succession and those two Phoenix Open titles came on the back of a runners up slot in 2015. The Japanese golfer is rated highly, both by the best and trusted U.S. sportsbooks and the Power Rankings but that is largely based on his record here rather than on current form.
Reigning Champion Rickie Fowler is also at 16/1 and with two top 10 finishes at the start of the New Year, he is in the mood to make a successful defense.
Other golfers to consider from the chasing pack include Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau and Gary Woodland. Of those three, Woodland is a former champion having claimed the Phoenix Open in 2018 while Schauffele is two for two here with a top 10 finish twelve months ago.
Phoenix Open Outsiders To Consider
It is one of the stronger fields of the year so far but could there be some value among the outside bunch? There is some interest around Bubba Watson (28/1) who was a runner-up in two consecutive years from 2014. Bubba has been an ever present since first qualifying for the Phoenix Open in 2007 and he showed a welcome return to form at Torrey Pines.
At the same betting odds as Watson is Tony Finau, who gave USAbetting that top 10 profit on Sunday. Also in the mix are Brandt Snedeker, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Branden Grace and Ryan Palmer. Snedeker has been a profitable player for us in the top 10 markets and we should have got on him last week. Palmer can also convert a profit but needs to recover from that final day slump.
It’s a good looking field with the potential for value but what will it take to win?
Phoenix Open Course & Betting Trends with Picks & Predictions Verdict
The tournament is back at TPC Scottsdale this year on a course that will be very familiar to the field. This is one of the longer par 71s on Tour at 7,266 yards so it can have a tendency to suit the power hitters on specific holes.
Aggressive play tends to be rewarded with wide greens on most holes and little in the way of punishment on the fairways. Having said that, the fiendish par 3 16th can finish any challenge while 2019’s winner Rickie Fowler tied for third in terms of fairways hit.
Despite its long history, the record for the number of wins at the Phoenix Open is just three. Of the four golfers to have achieved that mark, Arnold Palmer’s successes are the most notable as they were delivered over three consecutive years in the 1960s.
We have, however, seen five multiple winners already this century so the stats may be encouraging for the likes of Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland.
As for the winner in 2020, we don’t like to take short prices but it’s hard to overlook Justin Thomas. His record this season is encouraging and his scheduling is also giving him the best chance of winning when he does compete. JT also has the relevant stats so we will take him at relatively short win odds and look for the top 10 picks to lift an overall profit. These are the Phoenix Open predictions for this golf preview:
- Justin Thomas to win @ best odds of +900 (9/1) with Bovada.
- Thomas for a top 5 finish @ +200 (2/1) with Bovada or BetOnline.
- Xander Schauffele (best +175 with BetOnline), Brandt Snedeker (+350 with BetOnline) and Viktor Hovland (+500 BetOnline) for top 10 finishes.
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.