2023 WM Phoenix Open Preview: TPC Scottsdale Tournament Insights

Explore insights on the 2023 WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, focusing on course conditions, key players, and past winners. Learn about the strategic challenges players face on the back nine and the significant role of driving distance and approach shots. Stay updated on top contenders like Justin Thomas and defending champ Scottie Scheffler.

The PGA Tour moves inland from the California coast to the desert and the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona for the upcoming WM Phoenix Open. While the setting may have changed, the weather forecast suggests conditions could be similar to what we saw at Pebble Beach, with unseasonably cold temperatures below 60 degrees and rain expected on Thursday and Saturday. However, Sunday’s forecast looks more promising with warmer temperatures and clear skies, avoiding the possibility of another rain-shortened tournament.

The cooler and softer course conditions at TPC Scottsdale could negate the usual advantage of longer hitters, prompting a greater emphasis on driving distance in my analysis this week. The withdrawal of Xander Schauffele and Viktor Hovland from the field has altered the initial research, but has also removed the disappointment factor associated with Schauffele’s past performances in the desert. Instead, the focus turns more towards players like Justin Thomas and defending champion Scottie Scheffler, who is aiming to become the first PGA Tour member to win the same event three times in a row since Steve Stricker‘s John Deere Classic triumph from 2009 to 2011.

Putting struggles have not prevented players from winning or contending at this event in the past, so that aspect may not be as crucial in my model. The emphasis will be on strokes gained approach, off the tee, at TPC Scottsdale, on shots from 250 to 275 yards, and around the green. The large greens and 72 strategically placed bunkers at the Stadium Course make it challenging to get the ball close when scrambling. The back nine is a must-watch, especially the difficult 11th hole, which can lead to big numbers for players making a final push for the title.

The 2023 WM Phoenix Open will be held at TPC Scottsdale‘s Stadium Course, designed by Jay Morrish, Phil Smith, and Tom Weiskopf. Recent winners at this event include Scottie Scheffler (-19 in 2023, -16 in 2022), Brooks Koepka (-19 in 2021), Webb Simpson (-17 in 2020), and Rickie Fowler (-17 in 2019).

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