The PGA TOUR heads to Arizona this week for a showdown with TPC Scottsdale.
This course has been used since the 1987 edition so there is plenty of history to dive into. What we know from the past is that golfers can pull driver on most of the par 4s here in the desert. We also know the greens are typically firm which means approaching from the fairway can be a nice advantage.
When you look at the career money leaders for this event we see a lot of elite drivers populate the list. Here is that top 10 in all-time earnings at the WMPO:
Four of those 10 names also show up on the top 10 in Wells Fargo Championship career earnings so perhaps give Quail Hollow performance a slight boost if you are looking for comp courses.
We can utilize course history to our advantage but we can also look at some split stats to see which golfers might have only played here once or twice (or not at all) but should be a good course fit.
TPC Scottsdale lets you wail away with the big stick.
"I love coming out to a course like this where you can pound driver." -Keegan Bradley
"Around this golf course my driver stays in play." -Bubba Watson
"You basically hit drivers out there and try to carry all the bunkers." -Byeong Hun An
"The greens being so firm, you kind of forced to hit driver at tee shot." -Danny Lee
Let's see who has performed best on driver-heavy courses, over the last two years:
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We can also look at a golfer's performance versus their baseline to see who over-performs their expectations. Here is that list:
As you can tell by name likes Kuchar and Hubbard, it's not always just about distance when it comes to playing a course that demands good driving.
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Performance out West
Whether it's climate comfort, local knowledge, or turf familiarity, there are always golfers that play better out West. I'm talking about the entire West region which includes the California, Vegas, Arizona, and Hawaii events.
Performance across these events often crosses over and you see the same group of golfers popping up in contention.
Here are the top performers out West, over the last two years:
We can also look at a golfer's performance versus their baseline to see who over-performs most. Here is that list:
Perhaps these golfers like the overseeded conditions that usually come with playing out West in the winter. Maybe they like the architecture of the courses built in the region. Or maybe they just pick and choose the right golf courses to play out West. Whatever the case is, we should give them a slight boost if they have a history of playing well out the western region of the country.
Max Homa ($9,600): The California kid arrives with three straight top 25s, two since the return from the holiday break. He gained 2.5 strokes putting at The AmEx and then got the job done with the irons last week (+4.5 strokes gained approach). He now calls Scottsdale home so this will be a laid-back week for him playing at home. He's performed well here with finishes of T26 (2019) and T6 (2020) in two appearances.
Mark Hubbard ($7,600): Similar to Homa, he's comfortable out West. Hubbard grew up in Denver and went to school at San Jose State. He's not the longest off the tee, or even close to the longest, but he performs well on driver-heavy courses by striping fairway after fairway. He ranked 34th on TOUR in distance from the edge of the fairway last year. Even when he misses the fairway it's usually not by much. That should help him avoid trouble in the native area this week. He is 3-for-3 at the WMPO with a T9 last year being the obvious highlight. Most importantly, he saves a load of salary to allow you to fit a few stars into your lineups at the top.
Good luck with your lineups this week and check back tomorrow for some more course-fit analysis.