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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: WM Phoenix Open

Strap on your beer hat and prepare your worst taunts! Twofer Tuesday joins the maelstrom better known as the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Defending champion Rickie Fowler

TPC Scottsdale is a par-71 course measuring 7261 yards long and with a decibel rating similar to a rock concert. That raucous 16th hole, aka "the Coloseum," is one of the most famous holes in modern golf and the beginning of a three-hole finishing stretch than can easily destroy a player's nerves. The water bordering the 17th and the "church pew" bunkers on the 18th play a major role in determining every winner at this event.

Rickie Fowler has felt the heartbreak often enough, and probably felt the course owed him the win he snagged last year.

The WM Phoenix Open is such an unusual event that I can't use the normal criteria to make picks. This event tests players in a way that no other can match; it's about embracing chaos that pros never see at other events... except maybe at the Ryder Cup. (And there they have teammates to lean on!) So let's see if I can pick a couple of Top10ers who might get the job done.
  • Despite that win in Singapore, Matt Kuchar hasn't done quite as well on the PGA Tour this year. But Phoenix seems to agree with him -- while he hasn't won here, his last three finishes have been T9, T5 and T4. Despite his 2020 PGA Tour starts, that Singapore win means his game is in pretty good shape. And since he's clearly comfortable here, he gets a nod from me.
  • Likewise, Jon Rahm has never won in Phoenix. But his last three appearances -- his whole pro career -- have been T16, T11 and T10. And going back to the US Open, he's only been out of the Top10 in PGA Tour events twice -- a T11 at THE OPEN and a T12 at the Tour Championship. Given his steadily improving record in Phoenix and his amazing performances over the last half year or so, I think he'll be high on the scoreboard come Sunday.
GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 3pm ET. Let the catcalls begin!

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