Waste Management Phoenix Fantasia
By James Dalthorp III
BEAST DOME NATION.
This is my home game – and we all know that typically this is a rowdy week of golf. I’m just going to pick the guys I think truly have their absolute stuff when they come here – with a grain of salt removed for not having any ASU guys on this list. It was my dream to play golf at ASU and this was a course I played here and there. It’s a track that you shouldn’t take for granted. You can make as many bogeys as birdies – but the exciting holes are out there.
It takes a steady nerve to avoid all the desert, bunkers, water, and trouble here. It can be tough to get things going if you aren’t using the right angles to make an approach. That being said, make sure to pick someone steady.
1. Rickie Fowler –
One could argue this is Rickie’s golden goose on Tour. He could have probably won here at least four times. Despite the promise that this event has teased us with over Rickie’s career, I also tend to believe that the state of Rickie’s game has been peaking. I expect him to contend.
2. Wyndham Clark –
Having a quietly steady run of late. A second in Bermuda, three made cuts in a row, and what I like most is that he went deep here last year. At one time the leader, he played under high pressure and fought hard to make a good check. He’ll come back fresh this year with new eyes and I believe the course will invigorate him.
3. Louis Oosthuizen –
There’s a lot of players to watch in this field, but some aren’t usual entrants here. The reason, I assume, is that this is typically a raucous event. Louis returns along with many other international stars and I believe he has the best chance to win. His last trip to Scottsdale resulted in a solo third place finish. On top of that, his game suits the Weiskopf design. He flips it around the green with high loft and makes mid range putts. He’ll cruise.
4. Luke List –
Here’s a player whose stock is about as volatile as Game Stop. Here’s why you need to pick him: T25 here in this event last year with a top 10 last week at Torrey Pines – not to mention I’ve been waiting to take this pan off the stove for about a year. He bombs it – which comes in handy here. And he’s in good enough form to redeem the type of golf that gave him a KF tour win last year and a whole lot of “what if’s.” I think this will be his best year on Tour.
5. Charley Hoffman –
It’s easy to overlook Hoff. He doesn’t present himself as ironclad. But on certain courses, he comes alive. This is one of them. Despite some lackluster play of late, there are 2 courses where I always give Hoff the benefit of the doubt: TPC Scottsdale and Memorial. Both have lots of water, require towering long irons, and demand focus with so many distractions. I think the lower crowds might help the Seagull crack the code.
E-MAIL [email protected] to get James Golf Picks for the Weekend