The Waste Management Open will take place in Scottsdale, Arizona, this week in its usual spot on the PGA TOUR schedule. The last putt should drop shortly before the kickoff of the Super Bowl.
Traditionally, the event boasts the largest spectator totals of any TOUR stop, with more than 700,000 in weekly attendance in 2018, the last year the tournament reported daily or weekly statistics.
This year, tournament organizers are taking a scaled-back approach, with limited spectators in attendance. The Thunderbirds, the non-profit organization that manages the Waste Management Open, has not indicated an exact number that will be allowed access to par 71 TPC Scottsdale, the host course for the tournament.
Patrick Reed captured last week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, firing a final round 68 for a 14 under 274 total to defeat five players who finished at nine under par. Reed overcame a controversial embedded ball ruling on Saturday to grab his ninth PGA TOUR title, but he is not in the field for the Waste Management Open.
The defending champion at the Waste Management is Webb Simpson, who defeated Tony Finau on the first hole of sudden death after they tied at 17 under par through 72 holes. It was Simpson’s sixth TOUR victory and his first of two wins in the 2020 season, the other one coming at the RBC Heritage.
Rahm’s worst finish in the Waste Management is a tie for 16th, and he’s posted three Top 10 finishes in five tries. It’s only a matter of time until he adds to his five TOUR wins.
Favorites to Bet On
For the third week in a row, the No. 2 player in the world, Jon Rahm, is the betting favorite at +600. He withdrew from The American Express before the beginning of play but then managed a tie for seventh at the Farmers last week, his third consecutive such finish in the 2021 season.
The 26-year-old Spaniard played his college golf at nearby Arizona State University and recorded a Top Five finish at the Waste Management in 2015. Rahm tied for second at the ZOZO Championship @ Sherwood, giving him four Top 10 finishes in a row.
Rahm’s worst finish in the Waste Management is a tie for 16th, and he’s posted three Top 10 finishes in five tries. It’s only a matter of time until he adds to his five TOUR wins, and his success at TPC Scottsdale would indicate he’ll again be in the mix this week.
The No. 6 player in the Official World Golf Rankings, Xander Schauffele, has been knocking on the door throughout the 2021 season. He’s consistently been near the top of the betting odds recently, and the Waste Management is no exception at +800.
In six 2021 events, the 27-year-old has four Top 10 finishes and a pair of 17th place ties. After struggling to make the cut last week, Schauffele went 68-69 on the weekend to get into the group that tied for second behind Reed.
Rory McIlroy is making his first-ever start in the Waste Management following a disappointing tie for 16th last week after a closing 73. His ball-striking looked sound at the Farmers, but his short game and putting were suspect. He should be over the jet lag after traveling from Dubai to California to play in the Farmers.
At odds of +1100, the 31-year-old four-time major champion could be a strong bet. He’s still ranked seventh in the world and is 15 months removed from his last TOUR victory. If he gets the putter going, he could go low in the desert.