This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
TPC Scottsdale - Stadium Course (7,261 yards, par-71)
$1,278,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner
Be sure to hydrate because a party in the desert is on tap for this week's PGA Tour event at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where a record-breaking number of fans will flock to TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course for what is considered the People's Open. The frat stars of Arizona State University will unite with the retired snowbirds of Scottsdale as a raucous crowd celebrates and/or boos each player who steps up to the one-of-a-kind par-3 16th. The field isn't quite as elite as last week's Farmers Insurance Open, but 23 of the top-50 in the Official World Golf Ranking plan to be in attendance while four of the top-5 questionably tee it up overseas at the Euro Tour's Saudi International. The weather in Scottsdale looks perfect for the first two rounds before cooler temps arrive throughout the weekend, with the possibility of rain during Saturday's third round.
Recent Past Champions
2018 - Gary Woodland
2017 - Hideki Matsuyama
2016 - Hideki Matsuyama
2015 - Brooks Koepka
2014 - Kevin Stadler
2013 - Phil Mickelson
2012 - Kyle Stanley
2011 - Mark Wilson
2010 - Hunter Mahan
Key Stats to Victory
Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
Probing the list of recent champions, it becomes obvious that ball striking has reigned supreme over flat-stick performance with someone like Kevin Stadler serving as Exhibit A. Matsuyama led the field in SG: Tee-to-Green during each of his sequential wins, preceding Woodland's ranking of second in SG: T2G when he reached the podium last year. Such ball-striking prowess is a key predictor of GIR percentage, which is essential to perform well at TPC Scottsdale. Matsuyama has been able to excel here as one of the best iron players in the world, proving the importance of SG: Approach and proximity in order to collect a plethora of birdie opportunities.
FanDuel Value Picks
Jon Rahm, $12,500 - Rahm, who won 11 college golf tournaments as a member of Arizona State's team, heads back to TPC Scottsdale as the betting favorite following back-to-back top-6s at the FIO and Desert Classic. The sixth-ranked player in the world finished his 2017-18 campaign at fifth or better in birdie average and par-4 scoring. He's a collective 34-under-par in three trips to the Phoenix Open, including a T5 as an amateur in 2015.
Hideki Matsuyama, $11,800 - Prior to a withdrawal due to injury at last year's WMPO, Matsuyama had gone Win-Win-T2-T4 in his first four starts at the event. He's just about as safe a bet as there is this week, fostering heaps of attention in one-and-done formats. Fortunately on FanDuel you're allowed five additional selections, so repping the chalk play in Matsuyama isn't too much of a hindrance. He ranked third in SG: Tee-to-Green and led the field in scrambling last week on the way to a T3 at Torrey Pines.
Gary Woodland, $11,300 - The defending champion racked up a mighty 27 par-breakers en route to his 2018 victory at TPC Scottsdale, also leading the field in par-5 scoring. Woodland bounced back from an MDF at the Sony Open with his sixth top-10 of the season at the Farmers Insurance Open, where he fired a six-under 66 during Sunday's final round.
Phil Mickelson, $11,100 - A three-time champion and local favorite, Mickelson is a horse for the course with 11 career top-10s at the Phoenix Open. Sun Devil blood flows through the player-caddie tandem of Phil and younger brother Tim, as the duo possesses significant ties to ASU. Mickelson took a week of rest following his T2 at the Desert Classic, though he still leads the Tour in birdie average.
Longer Shots Worth a Risk
Chez Reavie, $10,300 - Yet another former Sun Devil, Reavie disappointed with three consecutive missed cuts at TPC Scottsdale before earning runner-up honors in 2018 when he fell to Woodland in a two-man playoff. The former is 7-of-7 in cuts made this season, climbing to fourth in SG: Approach and third in SG: T2G thanks to top-notch ballstriking.
Lucas Glover, $9,700 - Glover has finished no worse than a T17 in six starts dating back to his runner-up result at the Web.com Tour Championship. His 2019 debut included a T12 at the Desert Classic where he ranked T6 in GIR percentage, though he's also second on Tour in scrambling. He should be a cash-game candidate as well, having made the cut in nine of 11 WMPO showings.
Ryan Palmer, $9,300 - Palmer posted a couple duds during his last two voyages to TPC Scottsdale, but he notched a pair of top-5s at the WMPO in 2013 and 2015 and has made the cut in eight of 12 appearances. The 42-year-old carded a 68 or better in three of his four rounds at the FIO, ranking top-3 in both birdies and SG: Approach. Examining a larger sample size, he's top-8 on Tour in birdie average and SG: Approach this season.
Trey Mullinax, $7,600 - Mullinax put on a ball-striking clinic at the Farmers Insurance Open, finishing second in SG: Approach, fifth in SG: T2G and T4 in GIR percentage. He's improved in each of his last four starts, culminating with a top-25 at Torrey Pines after beginning the season with a trio of MCs from the Safeway through the Shriners Open.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)
Although ball-striking statistics will become the main focus this week, there are several habitually intriguing DFS weapons who could make for compelling fades. For example, Justin Thomas has missed two cuts while also failing to finish top-15 in four appearances at the WMPO, so is a $12k-plus price tag worth the lofty investment without a proven track record? Tony Finau finds himself in a similar situation with three straight missed cuts at the event, as his power off the tee isn't a major advantage at TPC Scottsdale. Meanwhile, Rickie Fowler has finished 12-under or better in three consecutive Phoenix Opens, but has been horrible in terms of SG: Approach as of late. Thanks to a smaller 132-entrant field, a lesser percentage of players will miss the cut and therefore provide gamers with additional opportunity to deploy a studs-and-duds lineup.