There are five of the top 10 players in the world traveling to TPC Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but this year they will only be greeted by about 5,000 fans per day versus the usual hundreds of thousands that make this tournament known as “The Greatest Show on Grass.”
There will be a little less buzz, especially around on the Stadium Hole at sixteen, but we should still see plenty of drama on the course.
The DFS sites have set up some big tournaments to allow for the ultimate sweat leading into Super Bowl LV. The one I will focus on in this article is the $750k Flop Shot with $200,000 to first on DraftKings. It will be my reference point for ownership throughout the article.
Last week in the main DraftKings tournament, we saw the importance of ownership, especially when it’s as impactful as it was with the Reed. He was the lowest owned of the top-priced players last week at 6.78 percent, and often that it is a +EV play in lineups as a lot of the time we simply splitting hairs with the top players in the world. In this case he won in convincing fashion, which also translated to DFS where he outscored the next highest player by 27 points.
The winning lineup paired Reed with Hovland at 12%, a surprisingly chalky (at least to me) Will Zalatoris, and Cameron Davis before finding great plays down low with Molinari and Malnati. Overall, the ownership only totaled about 57%, and allowed it to squeak out a half point victory for the top prize.
This week, you will be looking to outpace 58,822 other entries for the top prize and we give you some tools to help put together a plan to find that winning lineup. You can get a quick breakdown of the course in my tournament preview article from earlier this week. Matt Vincenzi also puts together a great writeup on the stats that matter for TPC Scottsdale. Both of these will give you a nice primer for the event as to the detail I will be using to put my model together.
Let’s get straight into the picks.
Justin Thomas ($10,800 DK/$11,800 FD)
All due respect to Xander Schauffele, but he should not be priced above Thomas on DraftKings. The winning upside and pedigree of Thomas will put him ahead of Schauffele nearly every time for me, but I will take the discount.
Thomas comes in off of back-to-back, third-place finishes at the Waste Management, and is annually one of the best iron players in the world. I believe he will win this tournament at some point in his career and there is no reason to think it won’t be now. I am hopeful that his ownership will be held in check by the names around him, the controversy surrounding him, and the missed cut in Abu Dhabi. Right now, things look pretty flat from an ownership perspective with Rahm leading the pack and if that remains the case, Thomas will be my first click in many lineups.
Scottie Scheffler ($9,100 DK/$10,500 FD)
It’s been a frustrating last couple of weeks for DFS fans of Scheffler. He missed the cut at The American Express as the highest owned player on the slate, then after firing one of the best rounds of the day on Thursday at the Farmers, he erased it all on Friday to miss the cut again.
While all of that is concerning, the fact is this course should set up well for Scheffler, and it looks as though everyone has officially jumped ship. He is set to be owned at less than 8 percent currently, as the new shiny toy (that I love as well) Will Zalatoris looks set for more than twice his ownership. I’ll be playing both as you will see, but I will certainly leverage Scheffler in lineups.
Will Zalatoris ($9,000 DK/$10,600 FD)
His skillset fits perfectly for this track, as he is both long off the tee and an elite iron player. Zalatoris’ ball striking will put him in contention more often than not at an event like the Waste Management, and he has shown early in his career that he ready for the stage. It wouldn’t shock me to see him pull off the win. If he does, I know I’ll have plenty of opportunities for it to payoff.
Bubba Watson ($8,500 DK/$10,400 FD)
We all know at this point in his career that there are very specific courses where Watson is in play every time he tees it up. TPC Scottsdale fits that mold for him, as he has a third and fourth in his last two trips to the Waste Management, plus a couple of runner-up finishes back in 2014 and 2015.
Bubba clearly sees things well around this course, and despite him faltering with a missed cut last week at Torrey Pines, I am jumping right back in. It does look like he will garner mid-teens ownership, but I can pair him with Scheffler and others below to get different in my lineups.
Billy Horschel ($8,400 DK/$9,900 FD)
One bad round to start the event at Torrey Pines sent Horschel home early, but I won’t let that dissuade me from going back to the well this week. He was one of the hotter players on TOUR coming into the Farmers, with a solid start to the new year carrying over from his top-five finish at Mayakoba in December.
Horschel now gets back to his preferred Bermudagrass surfaces, at a course he has made five consecutive cuts, including a top-10 finish last year. Add this to the fact he appears to be the odd man out in this range, at half the ownership of Watson, and I love the combination of leverage and upside he provides.
Max Homa ($7,900 DK/$9,600 FD)
There is a lot to like about the way Homa has started the new year. He finished 21st at The American Express, which was actually a disappointing result for a guy playing in the final group and struggling on Sunday. Last week, he bounced back with an 18th-place finish at the Farmers and will roll that momentum to an event where he finished sixth last year.
Homa has shown to be streaky during his pro career, and I’ll look to ride that heater this week. He is getting some attention and will have some ownership, but there are enough options around him to keep him from being full chalk.
Chris Kirk ($7,500 DK/$8,900 FD)
The story of the season thus far comes in the form of Kirk, who has bounced his way back from personal issues and seven months away from the game to earn his TOUR card back in his last opportunity at the Sony in January. He would follow up that tie for second with a 16th at PGA West and brings great form to Phoenix.
Kirk comes in ranking in the top 30 in all my key stat categories, highlighting the state of his game, and also the value he brings at these price points. He has also flashed good results at the Waste Management, making the cut in four of his last five trips, including an 11th place in 2018. He’s a great value for DFS and a better story for golf making him easy to root for this week at TPC Scottsdale.
Byeong Hun An ($7,300 DK/$9,400 FD)
This is one spot where the price discrepancy between sites jumps out a bit. I like An to be in play on FanDuel, but he is even more attractive at a discount on DraftKings. There are often times when I get to this price range where I look at the types of players and how I can get a break for someone with a similar skillset. Corey Conners and An are a good comparison there for me this week as I view them similarly, but the former is $600 more on DraftKings and still garnering more ownership.
I will go to to An for all of those reasons, plus the added benefit of some stellar course history at TPC Scottsdale. He’s made the cut in four consecutive appearances, never finishing worse than 23rd, with two top-10 finishes. Sign me up.
Cameron Tringale ($6,900 DK/$8,500 FD)
This is a battle of form versus course history. Tringale is playing some of the best golf of his career dating back to the end of the fall swing. He’s rolled that right into the new year making both cuts and finishing eighteenth last week at the Farmers. All of this has him rating out as one of my top point per dollar players on the entire slate.
My only hesitation with Tringale this week is that he has missed the cut at the Waste Management in each of his last four trips. I am looking past that based on the golf he is playing now and how that play should translate this week, and give him an opportunity for a solid result.
Nick Hardy ($6,200 DK/$7,000 FD)
I will admit that I usually ignore the Monday Qualifiers, and they don’t even make it into my model much less my player pool. This week I am going to add and play Hardy, who shot 7 under Monday and then won a playoff to be the last man in the field.
He did the same thing earlier this year at the Sony Open, and turned that opportunity into a 14th place finish. The young Illini grad had five top ten finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020, and if he continues to get changes on the big stage, he has the ability to earn a spot to stay on TOUR. He obviously opens up a ton of value this week, but also has some upside to make him an intriguing play on both sites.