Waste Management Phoenix Open Betting Guide (2020)

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is an annual golf tournament held by the PGA at the Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. The tournament takes place each year in late January or early February.

Famed for its unique atmosphere, due to it being one of the most fan-friendly tournament venues on the tour, the Phoenix Open not only attracts an army of fans from all over, but also many of the biggest names in golf. For these reasons it has become known over the years as The Greatest Show On Grass.

The Phoenix Open, formerly known as The Arizona Open, was first staged in 1932 when it was held at the Phoenix Country Club. Throughout its colourful history, it has also been staged at the Arizona Country Club before moving to its current home in 1987. These days this wildly popular event draws in half a million fans over its four day run.

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Waste Management Phoenix Open Betting Tips

Waste Management Phoenix Open Golf Betting Types

There are not many sports better than golf for the placing of bets as it can be the ultimate game in which to extract value. What’s more, there are countless betting options available to golf bettors such as picking the tournament winner, first round leader, two or three ball and others like the examples we have listed below.

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Six Shooter

In golf, a six shooter bet works by the bookmaker picking six golfers from the field before pitting them against each other. Unlike three balls and two balls, these players do not need to be matched up together in the tournament, but simply competing in it. For your bet to be successful, you will need to select the golfer that emerges victorious from the six on offer with the lowest under-par score and sitting highest up the leaderboard. This is a handy bet because, in essence, these players are competing in their own mini-league and do not need to actually win the real thing for you to make a profit.

Top Nationality Betting

Another idea for betting on golf is to pick, from what is a huge field of players before the first tee, the winning nationality. This means to simply pick the nation that the tournament winner calls home. A quick glance at the former winners of the Waste Management Phoenix Open over the past 30+ years tells you that this event has, for the most part, favoured the American golfers. So, you can expect the American nationality to head up the betting before most tournaments get underway. You can also bet by region such as top European or top USA player for example. For this bet though, remember that with this bet you will need to name the player, i.e.; top American to be Rickie Fowler. Whereas with nationality betting you can simply pick Spain, for example, and hope that any Spaniard, such as John Rahm, wins the tournament.

Golf Match Betting

With golf, and other sports for that matter, you will often find that many online bookmakers will offer up match betting markets. In these markets, bettors are tasked with picking the winner of a matchup between two players rather than an event. This isn’t the same as betting on the three or two balls as your two players do not even need be playing together. Instead, they need to outscore each other over the course of the tournament or a round with the winner being the player with the lowest score. You can also back a draw should you so wish. This bet can be laid over 18 holes, 36 holes, 54 hole and 72 hole match betting. In some cases you may need to request a bet to get a price on your chosen match up.

Hole In One

This particular bet is a much rarer thing because it predicts a brilliant, but ultimately unlikely, sporting occurrence, such as a 147 break in snooker or nine-darter in darts. As you will most likely be aware, a hole in one is where a golfer gets the ball into the hole straight from their first shot off the tee. That’s it, one drive, one score. As such, these bets will usually apply to the tournament as a whole. For each event, you can bet on there being a hole in one or not. While this is a rare occurrence, you do have the advantage of betting on the entire field to get a hole in one rather than backing a particular player to do so (although you can bet on that too). It’s simple and straightforward and the hole in one can be scored by anyone at any time. Of course, it’s far more likely that no player will score a hole in one and, happily, you can bet on that too.

Tiger Woods

Waste Management Phoenix Open Guide

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is an annual event held, between the end of January and start of February, at TPC Scottsdale that just gets bigger and better each and every year. Famously one of the PGA tour’s most fan-friendly events, the tournament raises money for youth charities and other such programs. As of 2019, some $147 million has been raised for local non-profits.

Where is it?

The tournament takes place in the same venue it has been held at since 1987, the Tournament Players Club (TPC) of Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.

Tournament Structure for Waste Management Phoenix Open

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is, like the majority of golf tournaments, held across four days from Thursday through Sunday. At the end of each day’s play, many of the field will miss the cut and thus be eliminated from the tournament as it whittles down the field before Sunday’s big finish. The remaining players will establish an aggregate par score over the four days, the lowest of which will be deemed the winning score and a new champion will be crowned. Should the event end in a tie, a three hole play-off is staged over holes 16, 17 and 18 to find a winner.


When Jerry Lewkowitz joined a Phoenix civic group called the Thunderbirds in 1962, Arnold Palmer had just won his second consecutive Phoenix Open. The following year, Palmer won it again, and in ’64, some guy named Jack Nicklaus prevailed.

That was before the enclosed par-3 16th hole, before the raucous party atmosphere, before the Phoenix Open became the wildest scene on the PGA Tour calendar. The tournament was then held at Phoenix Country Club, and there were no grandstands filled with rowdy fans chugging beers, only a few tents and no big name players.

By 1971, when Lewkowitz, now 86, chaired the tournament, Nicklaus and Palmer were two of the biggest sports stars on the planet and the little tournament in the desert, run by the Thunderbirds, was hardly even on their radar. Lewkowitz flew to California to try to convince the game’s headliners to make a stop at their desert event after playing in the Crosby Clambake at Pebble Beach.

Nicklaus was unfazed by the pitch. “He didn’t hit me with a 9-iron or anything, but Jack said, ‘I’m not coming there. The tour should start in Florida and end in Phoenix,'” Lewkowitz said. Palmer offered a measured response: “We’ll see.”

But after playing well at Pebble, Palmer’s pilot, doubling as his personal assistant, called Lewkowitz to say Palmer would come to Phoenix.

Palmer wouldn’t need a rental car because he has a deal with Lincoln, and his hotel was also already taken care of. Arnie’s lone request: to play in the pro-am with Dell Webb, Bob Goldwater (the founder of the tournament and less-famous brother of Barry), and Bob Hope.

Lewkowitz panicked. The Thunderbirds had been trying for years to get Hope to come out and were rebuffed each time. “Jerry, don’t worry about it,” Palmer’s pilot mused. “We’ll take care of it. He’ll be there Wednesday.”

It’s hard to believe now that a tournament that gave $9 million—all of the event’s profit—to charity last season and has become one of the most popular stops on Tour ever had to beg big-name golfers to make the trip.

More people can now fit on the famous 16th hole than would come to the tournament back in the 1970s. The explosion of the Phoenix Open into the most fan-friendly, fun-filled atmospheres in the sport is a success story that should make many other PGA Tour stops envious. The “people’s major,” as it’s been dubbed, has become the biggest, baddest bash in golf, part by necessity and part by design.

The West Coast swing featured heavy hitters in the golf world: Pebble, Torrey, the myriad courses in Palm Springs. They were the power players of the early season. But a small group of players liked coming to Phoenix because it had a unique energy. The Thunderbirds, a mainstay in the community dating back to the 1930s, ran the event with the goal to raise as much money as possible. Today, the chairman is swapped out yearly, so the guys running the show are constantly trying to one-up each other.

The biggest hero at the Phoenix Open works in the parking lot, not on the golf course.

“Beat last year’s figures, that kind of attitude, has really enhanced the tournament,” Lewkowitz said. “Some civic groups have the same leadership forever and it gets better,” former chair Mike Kennedy said. “Some do, some don’t. But you basically eliminate the complacency factor the way we do it. The status quo is not typically acceptable.”

Witness the Bird’s Nest, a social event built around the tournament. At first it was just a tent over the tennis courts with live music and “energy” (in this case, potentially a code for “booze”). It attracted a certain type of fun-loving tour pro and became a staple of the tournament. In many ways, the growth of the Phoenix Open mirrors its host city. The tournament moved to TPC Scottsdale in 1987, an area Phoenix had left mostly undeveloped.

“I said ‘This is absolutely ridiculous no one’s going to come out here.’ Obviously I was wrong about that,” Lewkowitz said. “We wondered if people would come,” Kennedy says, “but one of the primary objectives was to try to continue the energy beyond the golf. Not only did that happen – it happened immediately – but it’s been the last 10, 12 years that this thing has exploded.”

“Energy beyond the golf.” More code. The party, and not just the Bird’s Nest. In order to entice players and spectators, the Phoenix Open had to adapt or risk becoming obsolete. A niche market among players as a fun spot to have a couple Rob Roys and play some high-desert golf isn’t a long-term business model. Players and fans still had to want to come. The tournament still had to matter.

Thanks to one magical Tiger Woods moment in 1997, the tournament reached a new level. “The skyboxes around 16, you know what made that? Tiger’s hole in one.” Lewkowtiz says.

“If you look at the video when Tiger Woods hit his hole in one, you’ll see that there are some tents,” Dan Mahoney, 2016 tournament chair, explains, “there’s a lot of people just standing around and it was really more just a spectator hole.”

As that par-3 drew more attention, the Thunderbirds decided to build the skyboxes that have become synonymous with the Phoenix Open. Like other sports, golf has learned that big money comes from luxury boxes for sponsors, advertisers, and corporate heavyweights.

Before the 2016 tournament, the fire marshal told Mahoney and the T-birds that the 16th hole had reached capacity. Their solution would make a Manhattan resident proud: go up.

They’ve added yet another deck (now three) to create an even grander stadium stage. The hole can easily fit 15,000 spectators and regularly draws capacity crowds, creating one of the most unique and raucous settings in golf. It’s the closest thing the PGA Tour has to a student section. “People have been calling us the people’s major,” Mahoney says. “We obviously want it to be an acceptable environment for the players and not have them constantly harassed, so we always try to wonder how to balance the frivolity, with the proper respect for the players.

“We have to adhere to our roots as a golf tournament. It is a golf tournament first, not a party first, but there’s no reason that people can’t come out and have fun at a golf tournament.” The “fun” results in a self-building win-win: more people and pros want to be a part of the event because it’s such a great time. That in turn creates more revenue for the community while also allowing the Thunderbirds to upgrade the tournament to make it bigger and better every year.

When the Thunderbirds mulled changing the tournament from Super Bowl Sunday, the PGA Tour insisted they were the perfect tournament to go head-to-head with the biggest day in sports. The numbers back them up. Each of the last two Super Bowls in Phoenix have buoyed revenue numbers for the Phoenix Open, and Kennedy was even chair of the 2008 Super Bowl committee before helping the city make a bid to the NFL for the 2015 Super Bowl it eventually won.

Kennedy expects the 2016 tournament to match the 2015 revenue levels, despite usually seeing a decline post-Super Bowl years. And as far as Kennedy sees it, there’s no ceiling in site for the growth of the wildest party on the PGA Tour.

“We’re nowhere near out of room. The sky’s the limit. The drama is at the end, but for the week and social events, there are still enormous opportunities out there. I don’t think there’s anybody out there who’s saying we’re out of anything.”

Past Winners (from 1987 at the Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale onwards)

2020Webb SimpsonUnited States
2019Rickie FowlerUnited States
2018Gary WoodlandUnited States
2017Hideki MatsuyamaJapan
2016Hideki MatsuyamaJapan
2015Brooks KoepkaUnited States
2014Kevin StadlerUnited States
2013Phil MickelsonUnited States
2012Kyle StanleyUnited States
2011Mark WilsonUnited States
2010Hunter Mahan
United States
2009Kenny Perry
United States
2008J. B. Holmes
United States
2007Aaron Baddeley
2006J. B. HolmesUnited States
2005Phil Mickelson
United States
2004Jonathan Kaye
United States
2003Vijay Singh
2002Chris DiMarco
United States
2001Mark Calcavecchia
United States
2000Tom Lehman
United States
1999Rocco Mediate
United States
1998Jesper Parnevik
1997Steve Jones
United States
1996Phil Mickelson
United States
1995Vijay Singh
1994Bill Glasson
United States
1993Lee Janzen
United States
1992Mark Calcavecchia
United States
1991Nolan Henke
United States
1990Tommy Armour III
United States
1989Mark Calcavecchia
United States
1987Sandy Lyle

The Phoenix Open dates back to 1932 but in its initial run it only lasted a mere 3 years before finding itself being discontinued after 1935 event. The tournament would later have new life breathed into it thanks to Bob Goldwater, a member of Thunderbirds, a local special events committee formed in 1937. Many of Goldwater’s fellow members weren’t all that enthusiastic about the event but were persuaded by an over-eager Goldwater to help run the revived event all the same.

By 1939, the Phoenix Open was up and running once more at the Phoenix Country Club with Byron Nelson the inaugural winner. Over its lifetime, this event has gone by many names including the Western Open, the Arizona Open, the Ben Hogan Invitational, the Phoenix Open, the FBR Open and today the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It has also been staged at the Phoenix Country Club, Arizona Country Club and TPC Scottsdale where it has called home since 1987.

Today it is widely acknowledged to be the most fan-friendly venue on the PGA TOUR, attracting the largest galleries of any golf tournament in the world with the world famous 16th hole the seats of choice for many spectators. Stellar names to have won this event include Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Tom Lehman, Mark Calcavecchia, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler, just to name a few.

Key Stats

  • Mark Calcavecchia scored the most birdies in 72 holes when he landed 32 in 2001
  • The lowest ever start recorded by an eventual winner was the 60 scored by Phil Mickelson in 2013
  • However, the highest start by the event winner was Harold McSpaden’s 74 way back in 1944
  • At 48-years-old, Kenny Perry became the oldest ever champion of the Phoenix Open in 2009
  • In 1975, Johnny Miller’s 14 stroke win over Jerry Heard became the highest ever margin of victory and has yet to be bettered

Hideki Matsuyama


Is the Phoenix Open a major event?

No, this event is not a major tournament, there are only four of those, the US Masters, US Open, Open Championship and the USPGA Championship. This is still a pretty big deal in golf though.

Why is the Phoenix Open such a big deal then?

Mainly because of the fans. This is a very well attended event and one of the earliest in the PGA Tour’s calendar. This event has developed into the most fan-friendly occasion, as fans gather together in the desert to create a unique fun-filled, drink fuelled atmosphere that other PGA Tour stops simply cannot replicate, nor would some want to. This has led to two nicknames for the event, The People’s Major and the Greatest Show on Grass. Also, the par3 16th hole at the Phoenix Open, dubbed The Colosseum, is perhaps the most iconic hole of the entire PGA tour.

Isn’t weather a factor in golf?

Massively so, but in the Sonoran Desert, we pretty much know what the weather will be like even in January – hot!

Can I bet each way on the Phoenix Open?

Yes, we haven’t listed it here, but you can, of course, bet each way on the Phoenix Open golf championship.

Don’t Americans usually win the Phoenix Open, should I bet on a US winner?

That would be wise but be warned such a bet will come at a much shorter price.

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ThePuntersPage Final Say & Predictions

We can all agree that Golf is a bettor’s paradise of a sport, with massive fields teeing off in numerous golf tournaments each and every week of the year, meaning that there is always something happening to place to a wager on. Furthermore, each and every golf tournament throws up a huge range of betting options, far more varied in format than in many other sports. So, with a little common sense your end, you can definitely make golf betting work for you and boost your return on investment and have some fun while you’re at it, just the way we know you like it.

And that, after all, is what the Phoenix Open is all about, fun! Fun in the desert as we banish the post-Christmas blues. And there really isn’t a better event in golf than this one for letting fans of, what can often be described as a slightly stuffy sport, letting their hair down, enjoying a drink or two and watching some top quality golf in decent temperatures.