It’s time for the Rowdy Rocking PGA Tournament known as the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The event has become legendary because of its signature No. 16 Hole that’s lined with stadium style bleaches packed with screaming fans. This week oddsmakers feel that Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have the best shot of navigating the hecklers and tackling TPC Scottsdale.

Rahm, at +700, comes in as the favorite following a solid start to the season with Thomas close behind at +900 while being ranked 4th in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR). The two top a field that includes Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Tony Finau, and Rickie Fowler not to mention last years defending Champion Gary Woodland.

Here’s how the top-five favorites to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open round out according to Intertops.


Jon Rahm+700
Justin Thomas+900
Hideki Matsuyama+1200
Xander Schauffele+1600
Gary Woodland+1800


Last year Woodland carded his first win in almost five years when he and Chez Reavie battled in a one-hole play-off. It was an emotional day coming after a stressful year in which he and his wife Gabby were expecting twins. One of the babies was lost due to a miscarriage while their son Jaxson was born a few months later but ten weeks premature.

See: Be it age or injury, Woods' year now begins at a slower pace

Gabby, holding Jaxson, were there for the win. The moment made for tear-jerking TV as it was noted that Woodland had no idea his family was in the crowd thanks to fellow pro Matt Kuchar. While Woodland focused on getting the win Kuchar drove to gather the family.

“Seeing my son come out onto the green surprised me. I didn’t even know he was there,” Woodland said as they had decided to keep Jaxson away from large crowds as his health improved. “It meant more than I can ever explain, having my family there. The emotions just kind of boiled over and got the best of me. You don’t plan for that. That was something I’ll never forget.”

Can Mickelson Make Another Run?

Phil Mickelson (+2500) made a run for a possible 44th PGA Tour win at the Desert Classic two weeks ago where he finished in sole possession of second place. Mickelson fell short as Adam Long took the win. Mickelson, who’s a fellow Arizona State alumnus with Rahm, came close to finishing with a 59 at the Classic and showed fantastic form.

He had command of his complete set and showed more focus than he did in the closing months of last years schedule. Remember his putt of a rolling ball? Now “Lefty” is returning to a course where he’s already won three times. And it’s a course that favors his game. TPC Scottsdale demands drivers off many of the tees as it plays at 7300 yards. But landing zones are ample in size which will allow Mickelson to use his short irons. Don’t be surprised if Phil notches his 44th win in Phoenix and more on the course below.

Don’t Count out Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama will seek a delayed “three-peat” at the Phoenix Open following a rough start to the event last season. He won back-to-back victories in 2016 and 2017 in dramatic fashion as both ended with a play-off. But, his possible third win, which would have been the three-peat, came to a crashing end when he injured his wrist and withdrew on day one.

He’s coming off a great showing at the Farmers Insurance Open despite a drop from the front to sixth place following a rough third round. Matsuyama powered back to finish the tournament T3 with Talor Gooch. Matsuyama is once again healthy, playing well and returning to a course where he’s been successful.

TPC Scottsdale by the Numbers

TPC Scottsdale opened in 1986 and was designed by Tom Weiskopf who returned in 2014 for multiple renovations which added some new twists to the course. Bunkers provide most of the hazards as the course is short on water due to its obvious desert location. 

The first portion of the course plays through residential areas before players are dumped into the rowdy crowds and stadium seating! The Phoenix Open is one of the highest attended event on the schedule and this year will be no different as more fan venues have been added.

The course plays long at just below 7,300 yards with long fairways and natural curves. The signature hole, according to fan-polling, is Hole 16 which is a short par-three that plays into the massive gathering of screaming 20,000 fans filling the stands.

There’s a saying at TPC Scottsdale coined by Brandt Snedeker (+6000); “Where’s the quietest place on the course? In the parking lot in your car!” 

TPC Scottsdale is 1,400 feet above sea level and is geared towards great tee-shots.  Players who take advantage of short irons approaching the greens will rack up plenty of birdies. The last eight of nine winners have finished between 15 and 18 under.

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Designers: Tom Weiskopf 
Established: 1986
Par: 71
Length: 7,266
Course rating: 74.7
Slope rating: 142 North
Grass: Bermuda, ryegrass, bentgrass, and fescue

Phoenix Open TV - all times ET

•    Round 1: Thursday, January 31 – 3-7p (Golf Channel)
•    Round 2:  Friday, February 1 – 3-7pm (Golf Channel)
•    Round 3: Saturday, February 2 – 1-3pm; 3-6pm (NBC)
•    Final Round: Sunday, February 3 – 1-3pm;  3-6pm (NBC)
•    Streaming: PGA TOUR LIVE: Live featured groups Thursday-Friday.
•    SiriusXM: Thursday-Saturday, 1-7 p.m.; Sunday, 2-7 p.m. PGA Tour channel.

Remaining Field Odds


Webb Simpson+2000
Rickie Fowler+2000
Tony Finau+2000
Matt Kuchar+2500
Phil Mickelson+2500
Cameron Smith+2800
Adam Hadwin+3300
Bubba Watson+4000
Billy Horschel+4000
Byeong Hun An+4000
Chez Reavie+5000
Andrew Putnam+5000
Alex Noren+5000
Cameron Champ+5000
Daniel Berger+5000
Brandt Snedeker+6000
Emiliano Grillo+6600
Tyrrell Hatton+6600
Luke List+6600
Keegan Bradley+6600
Zach Johnson+6600
Abraham Ancer+6600
Patton Kizzire+8000
Ryan Palmer+8000
Sungjae Im+8000
J.B. Holmes+8000
Austin Cook+8000
Scott Piercy+8000
Martin Kaymer+8000
Si-Woo Kim+8000
Martin Laird+8000
Brendan Steele+8000
Talor Gooch+8000
Russell Knox+10000
Kyle Stanley+10000
Kevin Na+10000
Kevin Kisner+10000
Lucas Glover+10000
Jason Kokrak+10000
JJ Spaun+10000
Beau Hossler+10000
Ryan Moore+10000
Kevin Tway+10000
Joaquin Niemann+12500
Andrew Landry+12500
C T Pan+12500
JT Poston+12500
Bud Cauley+12500
Harold Varner+12500
Joel Dahmen+12500
Bill Haas+15000
Aaron Baddeley+15000
Charl Schwartzel+15000
Jimmy Walker+15000
Chris Kirk+15000
Sung Kang+15000
Charley Hoffman+15000
Danny Lee+15000
Keith Mitchell+15000
Kiradech Aphibarnrat+15000
Peter Uihlein+15000
Brian Harman+15000
Nick Watney+15000
Richy Werenski+15000
Ted Potter+15000
Ollie Schniederjans+15000
Harris English+15000
Ryan Armour+15000
Steve Stricker+15000
Sam Burns+15000
Sam Ryder+15000
Russell Henley+15000
Chesson Hadley+15000
Stewart Cink+17500
Vaughn Taylor+20000
Brian Gay+20000
Anders Albertson+20000
Kevin Streelman+20000
James Hahn+20000
Denny Mccarthy+20000
Scott Stallings+20000
Brian Stuard+20000
Robert Streb+20000
Trey Mullinax+20000
John Huh+20000
Brice Garnett+20000
Sean O'Hair+20000
Rory Sabbatini+20000
Patrick Rodgers+20000
Adam Long+20000
Hunter Mahan+25000
Nick Taylor+25000
Adam Schenk+25000
Bronson Burgoon+25000



About the Author

Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles for kids.

Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of culinary history.”

Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network. He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National Barbecue News.

Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL, SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:

·      Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue and Tailgating

·      The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook

·      Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian Barbecue

·      Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing

·      The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.

·      The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A

·      Talladega Superspeedway

·      Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of WWII

·      Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt

·       Why Are the Mountains Smokey?

Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H. Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson, hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50 affiliates nationwide.

Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service Specialist and National Branch Chief.

Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at and Twitter/Instagram @thekentwhitaker.

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