After all the talk at the end of last season about the impending designated events, the week is finally here. The WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale will serve as the first full-field designated event with the world's best players battling against each other to see who's top dog - the Sentry Tournament of Champions was designated but featured a limited field.
Jon Rahm is the betting favorite at most books, sitting at +800. Rory McIlroy, who has yet to make a start on the PGA Tour in 2023 but won the Hero Dubai Desert Classic over LIV Golf's Patrick Reed on the DP World Tour two weeks ago, is behind him at +850.
Overall, 23 of the top 24 players in the Official World Golf Ranking have made their way to the desert.
Par 71 | 7,261 yards | Tom Weiskopf/Jay Morrish design
Course comparisons (according to Data Golf): 1. Southern Hills Country Club, 2. Annadale GC, 3. Silverado Resort and Spa
Chesson Hadley on the 16th hole during the pro-am ahead of the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open at the TPC Scottsdale. (Photo: Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic)
Last week (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am)
We didn't have Justin Rose on the card so we didn't cash an outright. Keith Mitchell (35/1) had a great week, finishing inside the top five. Viktor Hovland was close enough to the lead entering the final round but couldn't get anything going and eventually tied for 13th.
If you're interested in my plays and other coverage throughout the week, follow my Twitter here: @rileyhamel_
My cards drop every Wednesday.
Collin Morikawa (18/1)
Collin Morikawa hits his tee shot on the 2nd hole during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course - South Course. (Photo: Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports)
Collin Morikawa is having a great start to 2023. After a near win in Hawaii, Morikawa finished solo third behind Max Homa and Keegan Bradley at the Farmers Insurance Open.
The California native has made just one appearance at the WM Phoenix Open, tying for 25th in 2020.
Data Golf lists him as the No. 1 course fit for TPC Scottsdale.
Justin Thomas (20/1)
Justin Thomas walks off the fourth hole during the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament at Kapalua Resort - The Plantation Course. (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Whenever Justin Thomas dips to 20/1, it's tough to ignore.
The PGA champion is coming off an okay week at Torrey Pines, tying for 25th with just one under-par round.
His current form isn't outstanding, however, his course history is. Thomas feels right at home in the desert producing finishes of T-8, T-13, T-3, 3 and T-17 in his last five starts in Arizona.
Cameron Young (25/1)
Cameron Young hits his fairway shot on the fourth hole during the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament at Kapalua Resort - The Plantation Course. (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Cameron Young is no stranger to my betting card. In fact, he's a recurring resident - and I'm going back to him here.
Young was in Saudi Arabia last week for the PIF Saudi International, eventually finishing runner-up to Abraham Ancer.
On the PGA Tour this year, Young has a T-13 at the Sentry TOC and T-26 at the American Express.
In his only WM Phoenix Open start, the Wake Forest product finished T-26 in 2022.
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek