2024 WM Phoenix Open Preview, Picks & Analysis
Dig out the earplugs and prepare to take cover. Yup, it’s the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale and the loudest and largest crowd in golf. Traditionalists may not enjoy everything that goes on here but there is no denying that this tournament is second to none when it comes to entertainment value. And the big story this week revolves around whether Scottie Scheffler can win it for a third time in succession.
Last year he held off Jon Rahm and Canada’s Nick Taylor, firing a final round of 65 to secure victory. Many players do not enjoy playing here. Scheffler is not one of them. He said: “I love the environment here. It’s a lot of fun to play. I think the firmness of the golf course really suits me. Having the ability to play a lot of different shots. Hit it high, hit it low.” The fact that he won $3.2m high have helped!
Scheffler became the first player to win back-to-back in Phoenix since Hideki Matsuyama accomplished the same feat in 2016-17 - the Japanese star is also in the field this week. And he joined a list of seven players with at least two consecutive victories at the event, including Johnny Miller, Ben Hogan, Lloyd Mangrum, Jimmy Demaret and Arnold Palmer, who won three in a row.
He will once again face a strong field. Max Homa made his PGA Tour debut in 2013 and has since carded six victories. Homa has really come into his own in the past two years, winning four times including a title defence at last year’s Fortinet Championship. He has had at least one victory in each of his last three seasons, with multiple wins in 2022 and 2023. Homa’s 2023 campaign was good enough for a 9th-place finish in the FedExCup and a 2023 Ryder Cup appearance. Homa will make his sixth start at the WM Phoenix Open in 2024, with his best finish a solo sixth in 2020.
Xander Schauffele had a decent 2023 season that included a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship. He finished 10th in the money list with $8,459,066 from 23 events last season, Schauffele finished in the Top-25 18 times, the Top-10 on 11 occasions, carded a second-place finish at the Wells Fargo Championship and did not miss a single cut. He has seven PGA Tour victories in his six-year professional career to go along with a 2021 Olympic Gold Medal, has been a member of two victorious Presidents Cup teams (2019, 2022) and two Ryder Cup teams (2021, 2023). He will be making his seventh appearance at the WM Phoenix Open, where he has carded two T-10s, a third-place finish and a runner-up in 2021.
Sam Burns continues to make stellar progress, with four wins in two years, including a win at the 2023 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas. He has five total PGA Tour victories including a title defence of his 2021 Valspar Championship victory. Burns was a member of the 2023 Ryder Cup team and will make his sixth appearance here.
Cameron Young is still looking for his first win but amassed five Top-10s during his 2023 campaign including a runner-up finish at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play and a T-8 finish at the 2023 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on his way to a 42nd place finish in the FedEx Cup standings. He will make his third WM Phoenix Open appearance.
This is a big year for Jordan Spieth, He was rookie of the year way back in 2013 and just two years later in 2015, the Texas native put together one of the greatest PGA Tour seasons of all time. He won five times including two major titles (The Masters and US Open) and the season-ending Tour Championship on his way to a FedExCup title and PGA of America and PGA Tour Player of the Year honours.
Spieth has 13 PGA Tour victories and three major championship titles under his belt, was part of the victorious 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2022 Presidents Cup teams as well as being a member on five Ryder Cup teams (2014, 2016, 2018, 2021, 2023). He is making his eighth WM Phoenix Open start in 2024 where he has four Top-10 finishes.
Matsuyama’s career includes 17 worldwide wins, counting the 2021 Masters at Augusta National where he became the first Japanese born player to win a men's major. The eight-time PGA Tour winner - and two-time Phoenix Open champion - is one of only eight players to successfully defend their WM Phoenix Open title the following year. Matsuyama also is the second-leading money winner at the WM Phoenix Open, earning more than $3.7 million in 10 starts. Matsuyama will vie for his third WM Phoenix Open title in 2024, seeking to become only the fourth player in tournament history to win three times.
Matthew Fitzpatrick has two PGA Tour and eight DP World Tour wins to his name during his 10-year professional career, including the 2022 US Open at The Country Club in Brookline. Fitzpatrick picked up his second PGA Tour victory last season at the 2023 RBC Heritage to go along with a T2 at the BMW Championship and five additional Top-10 finishes, a season good enough for a 9th place finish in the year-long FedExCup race. Fitzpatrick has played for Europe in the Ryder Cup on three occasions (2016, 2021, 2023) and will make his third WM Phoenix Open appearance this year.
It was won in 2016 and 2017 by Hideki Matsuyama, in 2018 by Gary Woodland , in 2019 by Rickie Fowler, in 2020 by Webb Simpson, in 2021 by Brooks Koepka and in 2022 and 2023 by Scottie Scheffler.
Scottie Scheffler will surely relish the chance to make a little piece of golfing history by winning this tournament for a third successive year, and he will be cheered every inch of the way. It is also a course and an environment that will suit Cameron Young, who really needs to shake off the nearly-man tag soon - and what better place to do it?
TPC Scottsdale is a par 71 measuring 7,261 yards. Designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, it opened in 1986, was redesigned in 2014 and is a classic PGA Tour stadium-style course. The fairways are pretty generous but there is a lot of sand.
Scottie Scheffler. Looking to write a bit of history
Cameron Young. Great ball striker
Xander Schauffele. Has a fine record here
Five to Follow:
Scottie Scheffler. Imperious
Cameron Young. Must win soon
Xander Schauffele. Wonderful temperament
Sam Burns. Has already showed some fine early-season form
Matt Wallace. On his day he can beat anybody
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