Preview: Waste Management Phoenix Open

Published:

Waste Management Phoenix Open: Everything you need to know, including who to back this week 

It's one of the most recognisable events of the year due its notoriously loud 16th hole, and this week there's plenty of storylines to watch out for at TPC Sawgrass this week. 

Hideki Matsuyama is bidding to become the first man to complete a three-peat of victories on the PGA Tour since Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic from '09-'11, having come through back-to-back play-offs in both of the past two years. He's paired this week with Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson for the first two rounds, who just happen to be the two players he beat in those play-offs. 

Elsewhere, Alex Noren and Ryan Palmer come in to the event fresh off play-off losses to Jason Day at Torrey Pines, and World No.2 Jon Rahm will hope to come a step closer to overtaking Dustin Johnson at the top of the World Rankings. 

WMPO: How to watch 

Thursday & Friday: Sky Sports Golf (20:00), Sky Sports Main Event (22:00)
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf (19:00)
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf (18:00), Sky Sports Main Event (19:00)

WMPO: Who to watch

Hideki Matsuyama: The two time defending champion is the most obvious favourite this week, posting four top 5s in his last six starts and a T12 at Torrey Pines last week. This is a course he has an incredible record at, with his last four appearances resulting in 1st-1st-2nd-4th.

Jordan Spieth: Spieth has only played at the Phoenix Open twice in his career, finishing T7 in 2015 and T9 last year, so he could be a real contender this week. The World No.3 has seven top 10s in his last eight starts, with his most recent result being T18 at the Sony Open. 

Rickie Fowler: Another player with a solid record here, Rickie lost out in a play-off to Matsuyama in 2016 and finished T4 here last year. Missed the cut last week but prior to that finished 4th in Hawaii at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, won the Hero World Challenge at the end of December and was 2nd at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

Jon Rahm: The Spaniard was nearing the top of the leaderboard for a fourth consecutive week until he faded during the weekend at Torrey Pines, but he's one of the hottest players on the planet right now. The World No.2 has two victories and a T2 in his last four starts Worldwide, and followed up his T5 in 2015 here as an amateur with a T16 in his pro debut at TPC Scottsdale last year. 

Alex Noren: Runner up last week, and two further T12 finishes in last four starts. Only questionable factor is it's the first time he's played at TPC Scottsdale. 

Marc Leishman: Finished T8 in last week's Farmers Insurance Open, and has three other top 10s in his last six starts. T24 here last year. 

Justin Thomas: Hasn't been worse than 22nd in his last six events which includes victory at The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges, but he's a bit of a risk given that he's missed two straight cuts at the Phoenix Open. Best result is T17 in 2015. 

Harris English: With two top 10s at the Phoenix Open in his last four starts, English is a solid prospect this week. Was T8 in last week's Farmers Insurance Open and 11th at the Career Builder Challenge before that. 

Tony Finau: Finau just signed a new equipment deal with Ping, and his results have been incredibly consistent heading in to this event. He hasn't been worse than T32 in eight outings, which includes four top 10s that culminated in a T6 last week.