They say all good things must come to an end, and this week is no different as the 2019 WMPO has came and gone. With that being said, what a special week it was for us to attend as patrons. The “People’s Open” is certainly a must-see event and to watch Rickie Fowler and Joe Skovron secure victory #5 together made it even more memorable. Let’s see how last week’s Power Rankings turned out before we turn our attention to Pebble.
Waste Management Phoenix Open Power Ranking: A-
Same grade as I gave my Farmers performance last week, but this week’s performance has taken over the top spot thus far. I had the aforementioned winner Rickie Fowler slotted at #4 in the rankings, his biggest challenger throughout the week in Justin Thomas slotted at #1, and five other men in my top 12 finished the tournament T10 or better (Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Gary Woodland, Jon Rahm, and Xander Schauffele). I did have Tony Finau at #6 and Phil Mickelson at #8 and neither saw the weekend, but those were really the only hiccups for the week. Hideki was solid but never really contended as I predicted, and Webb Simpson and Alex Noren both grinded to respectable finishes.
-10 of my 12 golfers ranked made the cut.
-9 of the 12 finished in the top 20.
-7 of the 12 finished in the top 10.
Those are numbers we like to see and look to keep firing. Head to the grindstone and back to work this week. Pebble presents a new challenge, and we are ready to attack.
Admittedly, this week could be a more exciting one if some changes were made, but anytime you get some of the golf’s best teeing it up at one of the world’s most iconic golf courses it’s hard to really complain. The lack of a shot tracker and the three course rotation will frustrate some, but I don’t envision a scenario where there is not an exciting finish on Sunday at Pebble.
Standard Disclaimer: For non-major Championships I will be ranking 12 golfers a week, and for the Majors I will be going 20 deep. I don’t rank for guys that I think will be in the mix, I rank solely on likelihood of winning the golf tournament. Thus, whoever I give the #1 spot to each week, is the guy I feel is most likely to reach the winner’s circle, and so forth down the list. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
1. Dustin Johnson- Easiest #1 choice I’ve had this year. A winner last week, a freak talent, and a man with a track record of tearing Pebble Beach apart. Don’t overthink it, DJ will be a factor in this event yet again.
2. Jordan Spieth- Moved outside the top 20 in the OWGR after last week. Don’t expect that to last very long. Jordan is close to rounding into form, and don’t be surprised if the results reflect that this week.
3. Tony Finau- Not going to overreact to one MC last week. This dude can have success at any course, and he will be rested as he makes his 2nd career start at Pebble. Should eat up the Par 5’s.
4. Phil Mickelson- Just as with Tony Finau, a missed cut in Scottsdale does not change my stance on Phil this week in the slightest. The all-time earnings leader is very sporadic at this stage of his career, and he will have no trouble shaking off a poor Friday round in the desert. Lefty is always worth a look here.
5. Shane Lowry– Checks all the boxes here as his game is very well suited for windy/rainy conditions. Already a winner on the European circuit in 2019, Shaner will have plenty of motivation to add a 2nd trophy and reclaim his PGA Tour card.
6. Tommy Fleetwood– A world-class talent. I don’t care that this is his first trip to Pebble, he has had plenty of success on courses he’s seen for the first time. If Tommy can find the short grass off the tee, he will be right in the thick of things this week.
7. Jason Day– Continue to be less bullish on JDay as compared to others. Just haven’t seen the type of ball-striking he possessed in late 2015, and that putter can only do so much.
8. Patrick Reed– One of the more interesting cats on Tour, but a man that simply loves playing golf and competing each week. For most guys the heavy travel would’ve caused a late WD, but Patrick is doing what he loves–playing. Always tough when he finds himself in contention on the weekend.
9. Branden Grace– One heckuva performance from Gracey last week in the desert. I think he builds off it and darn well could finish one spot higher than he did a week ago. That low ball flight is always valuable when things get windy.
10. Matt Kuchar-Continues to roll along stockpiling solid finishes left and right. Struck it well all week in Phoenix and zero reason to believe he won’t continue the trend. Can he putt better on Sunday?
11. Brandt Snedeker- Sneds loves Pebble like Papa John’s loves making mediocre pizza. Twice a winner here and always dangerous with how he rolls in on these greens. Look out for Brandt.
12. Kevin Kisner- Still settling in to the start of the 2019 season, but Kiz wouldn’t be out here if he didn’t think he could contend. Ball-striking will need to improve for him to have a real shot at the trophy, but I expect a strong showing from Kizzy.
-Rafael Cabrera Bello
With the likes of Bill Murray, Aaron Rodgers, Jake Owen and many others lacing em up in the Pro-AM, this week certainly won’t be lacking star-power. I expect some great golf to be played and a drama-filled Sunday finish.
“If I had one round to play, I’d go to Pebble Beach.” -Jack Nicklaus