The Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale near Phoenix is generally played in front of the largest crowds on the PGA TOUR. The last year for which attendance figures were released was 2018, when over 700,000 fans passed through the turnstiles, almost 220,000 on Saturday alone.
This week’s tournament will be played with limited spectators in attendance, although it’s unclear what that number will be.
In last week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, just north of San Diego, Patrick Reed was able to overcome a shaky back nine on Saturday to win by five shots.
His final-round 68 on Sunday led to a 14-under total of 274 on the South Course, which will host the U.S. Open in June. It was Reed’s ninth PGA TOUR victory.
In last year’s Waste Management Open, Webb Simpson defeated Tony Finau on the first playoff hole to win the first of his two titles in 2020. Simpson and Finau were tied at 17-under-par 267 on the par-71 TPC Scottsdale layout. Simpson picked up his seventh TOUR victory later in the year at the RBC Heritage.
It’s hard to believe that past champion and 2019 U.S. Open winner Gary Woodland isn’t better than +6600 this week.
Underdogs to Bet On
Jon Rahm (+600), Justin Thomas (+750), Xander Schauffele (+800) and Rory McIlroy (+1100) are the betting favorites this week. With 133 players in the field, there are plenty of players farther down the list that will find their way toward the top of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.
Ryan Palmer played well in the Farmers and was in the big group that finished tied for second behind Reed. Palmer has a history of success at TPC Scottsdale, with three top five finishes, including two second-place ties.
The 44-year-old out of Texas A&M hasn’t missed a cut since the U.S. Open and has recorded three top five finishes. Palmer had a solid 2020, and even though he didn’t get a win, he qualified for the TOUR Championship and finished 24th in the FedEx Cup standings.
It’s hard to believe that past champion and 2019 U.S. Open winner Gary Woodland isn’t better than +6600 this week. He’s coming off an injury and finished in a tie for 48th at the Farmers and 16th the prior week at The American Express.
Woodland opened with a 66 last week but struggled with a 75 and 77 in the next two rounds.
He commented after the tournament, however, that it was the first pain-free event he’s played since last season. Woodland beat out Chez Reavie in a playoff to win the 2018 Waste Management and followed it up with a tie for seventh the following year. Those odds might be too good to pass up for a player as good as Woodland.
Although he hasn’t shown many signs of snapping out of a two-year slump, Jordan Spieth with odds of +12500 could be worth the gamble. The 2015 FedEx Cup champion and three-time major title winner has been searching for some answers, especially on the greens.
With a $100 bet paying $12,500, it would be exciting to be on the winning end of a great comeback story.