Designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish and set in the rugged Sonoran Desert surrounded by the stunning McDowell Mountains, the world famous Stadium Course plays host once again to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, made famous by the 20,000 fans that surround the par 3 16th, where golf meets football and WWF.
Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, probably never dreamed it would become famous throughout the world. “Really it was designed as just a little bridge hole to get to the 17th and 18th,” said Weiskopf. “Here is this little par 3 that doesn’t seem to be much of a challenge.” Morrish said the hole has become a “rallying point for the unduly enthusiastic and sobriety-challenged portion of the gallery.”
Some of the professionals competing in this week’s tournament will bring gifts to try and appease the crowd that surround this hole. A tee shot that misses the green or a putt that is left short is greeted by a crescendo of boos, it’s not a hole for the faint hearted.
The 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th are what make this an exciting tournament course. The 17th is a drivable par 4, “Short par 4s are hard to do correctly,” Weiskopf said. “If you are going to lay up, I want the players to have the pressure of a tough chip and putt”. So remember while watching this tournament your money isn’t safe until your player has holed out on the 18th.
My tips to win:
It’s hard not to stick with Brandt Snedeker 14/1 again this week, especially if you are having him as an each way bet. We’ve tipped him three times this year and he’s been in the Top 5 in two of those events and at these odds he still represents good value. Brandt lead the field after day one with an opening round of 65 at the Farmers Insurance Open, but a second round 75 saw him slip down the leaderboard, but two solid 69s saw him take joint runner-up, showing plenty of guts along the way.
Nick Watney 16/1 is another player who had a solid display at last weeks Farmers Insurance Open, adding a Top 5 finish to the Top 15 finish he had in the Tournament of Champions at the beginning of the season in Hawaii. Nick had a Top 5 finish here in 2011 shooting rounds of 66, 65 along the way.
Next up is 2010 winner of this event Hunter Mahan 28/1 who shot two final rounds of 65 to take the title that year. Hunter is another player who had a solid if unspectacular week at last weeks Farmers Insurance Open, but he did make the Top 15 and I feel he will challenge here this week.
My each-way tips:
We did tip Josh Teater 66/1 at the Humana Challenge as our outside tip, but it seems we tipped him a week too early as he moved up the leaderboard with a final round 69 at last weeks Farmers Insurance Open to tie for the runner-up spot. Three starts and two Top 15 finishes so far this year sees the lad from Danville, Kentucky in confident mood and at good odds.
Although JB Holmes 66/1 missed the cut in last weeks event — his first tournament of the season, it would be hard to discount him in an event he has won twice in 2006 and 2008. Those two wins represent his only wins on the PGA Tour, he’s also had another Top 5 finish in this tournament.
My Outside tip:
Another past winner of this tournament is 2011 Champions Mark Wilson 80/1. We tipped Mark earlier in the year as he seems to enjoy the early season events, in fact all of Marks five wins have come in the first four months of the year. He has missed the cut in his last two tournaments but finished with a pair of 66s at the Humana Challenge after opening with a 77, so his game isn’t in that bad a shape.
For updated betting odds during the tournament go to planetgolfreview.com