It’s no mystery who the favorite is to win this week. He’s a man who has done so twice in a row, and hasn’t finished outside of 4th place since 2013. To say Hideki Matsuyama loves this TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course is a supreme understatement. But we’ll get into Matsuyama and all the other players in the field soon enough, what about the track?
Name: TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course
Where: Scottsdale, Arizona
Length: 7,261 yards
When: Thursday – Friday, February 1-4, 2018.
Features: 16th Stadium layout par-3, driveable par-4 17th
That’s the skinny on the event and course. Now who will be aiming to take down Matsuyama’s reign on the WMPO? None better to step to the task than those who have come the closest the past couple years in Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson — both having lost in playoffs to current 5th ranked player in the world. The threesome tees off at 9:47 ET Thursday morning (10th tee), and 2:02 PM ET on Friday afternoon (1st tee). You can follow along with their group via a PGA Tour Live subscription (and I highly recommend it to any serious golf fan).
How about this nugget from Justin Ray for a bit of perspective on just how dominate Matsuyama has been in this event since 2013:
Hideki Matsuyama is a combined 59-under in the @WMPhoenixOpen the last 4 years, 24 shots better than any other player in that span.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) January 31, 2018
Yikes. So it’s obvious Hideki is all about his damn business in Scottsdale.
Though going for the 3-peat will be no small task. After all, it took extra holes in 2016 to beat Fowler, with more extra holes in 2017 to take down Simpson. And this year 5 of the top 7 in Official World Golf Rankings are in the field, including 4 of the top 5. The field is stacked.
NOTABLE 1st/2nd Round Pairings (sorted by Thursday tee times, ET)
9:56 – Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Hudson Swafford
9:56* – Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Phil Mickelson
2:02 – Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Charley Hoffman
2:11 – Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Patton Kizzire
2:38 – Patrick Reed, Adam Hadwin, Emiliano Grillo
* – DENOTES 10TH TEE START.
But, honestly, it was pretty hard to decide which groups to leave out. The field is that stacked. I would suggest just scrolling through the complete tee time list.
Now all you need to know is where in the hell you can watch. No sweat there. We got ya covered.
Watch WMPO Here:
Thursday: 3-7 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Friday: 3-7 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Saturday: 2-3:45 p.m. (Golf Channel); 4-7 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday: 1-2:45 p.m. (Golf Channel; 3-6 p.m. (CBS)
* – Yes, you’ve read that right. Yet another 15-min gap of NO COVERAGE while they switch broadcasts from GC to CBS. Sigh.
Oh, did I mention the Waste Management Open has a $6.9 MILLION purse? With a cool $1.242 million going to the winner. What up, Hideki! Your boy over here got these student loans….
Oh, did I mention that Inside The Grip will fucking be there?! BECAUSE WE WILL BE.
I'm ready to watch @RickieFowler throw some darts around TPC on Sunday. Flying in from Indiana to witness it all from the Loge Skybox.— Dustin Tipton (@Dustin_ITG) January 31, 2018
Let's go, RICHARD! #WasteManagementOpen #Pgatour pic.twitter.com/ChbNxgg8xo
And don’t blow up my mentions with calling me a fanboi. You know damn well we all are ready to watch RICHARD throw some damn darts around TPC.
One last thing. Obviously the par-3 16th gets all the love, but let us not forget how damn huge the par-4 17th can play when it’s all coming down to the wire on Sunday evening.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this little gem from RICHARD. Throwing some darts on 16 and Getting. The. People. Going.
Remember to go check out the Inside The Grip podcast on iTunes (or wherever you get your podcasts).. We throw down some Super Bowl vs WMPO prop bets and also take our picks to click this week in AZ.
Insidethegrip podcast is out “Charr-dog” The guys recap the marathon at Torrey, Jason Day’s win, and Tiger’s performance. Super Bowl vs. WasteManagement prop bets, and more. #WasteManagementOpen #Golf #Insidethegrip #Tiger https://t.co/ojsXT7Oybv— Inside The Grip (@Insidethegrip_) January 31, 2018