This week the PGA Tour heads to Scottsdale for one of the most fun events of the year. The spectacle of the 16th hole can often overshadow what is typically a tightly contested event featuring low scores and, more often than not, a stalwart in the game crowned champion. Having played the course a handful of times, including once when all of the infrastructure was already built for the tournament, the atmosphere truly is special. Also, it serves as a good reminder of how talented these pros are, as I shot 78 from the semi-tips as a 4 handicap and thought I had done really well. On a longer course with tougher greens and tighter pins, 65 will not be an uncommon score this week. These guys are, in fact, good!
Hideki Matsuyama – defending champion, who was also runner up two years ago, finished calendar 2016 as the hottest player in the world. There’s some worry about fatigue or his play tailing off a bit, but his strong record here makes him the play over similarly priced Jordan Spieth.
Jon Rahm – coming off first career win, don’t expect a letdown. Finished T-5 as an amateur in 2015 and fits the aggressive bomber mentality that succeeds here.
Tony Finau – another bomber who has played well to start 2017, finishing T9, T20, and T4 in his three events.
Ollie Schniederjans – another young player with star potential, Ollie has started the year making 4 straights cuts, culminating in a T9 finish at Torrey Pines.
Kyle Stanley – hasn’t been able to build on his breakout win here in 2012, but is starting to play with some more consistency. A bit of a high variance play but the upside is worth it.
Steve Stricker – perennially a Tour leader in birdie average in his prime, the condensed schedule hasn’t had much affect on his results. Some worry about rust as this is his first official event since the 2016 FedEx Cup, but for the price he’s worth the risk.
We’ll be back for a tournament recap on Monday (maybe sooner if something newsworthy happens during the event). For some thoughts during play follow @PushPowerFade on Twitter. Thanks for reading!