He’s Back! All of the buzz this weekend is about the return of a certain Tiger, fresh from a trip to the dentist after a mysterious incident with a camera. Away from Tiger-hysteria, the TPC Scottsdale has recently undergone serious renovations that total more than $12 million.
All 18 holes have received strategic changes which include new green locations as well as major changes at the par 5 13th. There are also fairways that have been realigned and bunkers have been reshaped making them more punishing. The Bermuda greens were resurfaced and may run quite swiftly depending upon the weather conditions. The fairways are wide as well as forgiving, but should a tree shot go slightly inward, it could possibly find its way into a deep bunker or in the desert.
The signature 16th hole is an area that is enclosed and holds approximately 20,000 spectators and offers a feel that is reminiscent of a football stadium. Once the crowd erupts, the atmosphere can be quite the boost to a person’s ego. The course also features three par 5’s that all measure between 550 and 560 yards and should be reachable in two by some of the bigger hitters within the field.
The course will require ball striking that is solid and will favor those that can bomb the ball. With all of the changes to the course, it is best to look at players that have the greatest overall consistency. Not simply success at the course.
Aside from mentioning some of the changes to the course, let us take a look at the true contenders.
Bubba Watson 14/1
The Waste Management Open will mark Bubba’s second PGA event of 2015. He played well at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions where he finished solo 10th. Over the course of his last four competitive events, Bubba has been able to finish no worse than T11, which includes a WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai win.
Bubba’s record at TPC is actually quite impressive being that he has a duo of top 10’s as well as a top 15 within his last three starts. He was extremely close to a win last year but lost on the first playoff hole to Kevin Stadler.
Tiger Woods 18/1
Although the tournament is sure to be bombarded with film of Tiger’s iconic hole in one at the 16th hole in 1997, the course and Tiger has changed. Most recently finishing, in a tied for 17th way back in 2001, Tiger is not favored to win, but still represents a bit of value at this price. He’s 2nd favorite for the Masters already!
Rickie Fowler 18/1
TPC will be Fowler’s first event of 2015 and within his last 10 competitive starts he has nine top 10 finishes which includes five top 5’s. This run began last June where he was able to finish T2 at The US Open.
Hideki Matsuyama 28/1
His season began with a T3 at the Frys.com Open and that was followed with another top 10 at The Shriners finishing T10 on 13 under par. Matsuyama has recently recorded two top 15’s in his last three starts, finishing solo 13th at The Hero World Challenge and T3 at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where he lost to Patrick Reed by a single stroke.
Brenden Steele 33/1
Steele has played good golf thus far and has not missed a cut in his last nine events. He also had a great week at the Humana Challenge shooting a final round 64 to finish on 21 under par and T2 for the Tournament.
First Round Leader Bubba Watson 20/1 pt 1pt EW
Bubba has shot no less than a 70 in his opening round at TPC Scottsdale and that has improved steadily over the past trio of years. In the opening round last year he shot a 64 and shared the round with Y.E. Yang.
Outright Winner Selections
Bubba Watson 14/1 2pts EW Tiger woods 18/1 1pt ew Rickie Fowler 18/11 1pt EW Hideki Matsuyama 28/1 1pt EW Brendan Steele 33/1 1 pt ew
Total Staked = 12 pts