FBR Open Preview

FBR Open Preview

FBR Open Preview

The Super Bowl isn’t the only game in town in Arizona this weekend. The PGA will also enjoy the warm Arizona weather beginning on Thursday, when the FBR Open tees off at the TPC of Scottsdale-Stadium Course.

Bettors may find it a little harder to pick the winner compared to last weekend’s Buick Open, with Tiger Woods skipping the FBR. Woods completely dominated the Buick, winning by eight strokes after shooting 19-under par for the tournament. The closest player to Woods was relative unknown Ryuji Imada at 11-under par.

With Tiger out this weekend the oddsmakers' favorite is Phil Mickelson at 6/1. Lefty battled through a recent respiratory illness last week to shoot a respectable 6-under par, which was good enough for a sixth-place tie. Not only will Mickelson be the oddsmakers' favorite in Arizona, but he’ll also be the fan favorite. Mickelson, who won the FBR Open in 2005 and 1996, is an alumni of Arizona State University and a big crowd from the college has always showed up to cheer him on in the past. Even with the Super Bowl in town this weekend, the crowd - which has historically been the biggest of any tourney on the PGA Tour - should still be prominent in their support of Lefty.

The defending champ of this event is Aaron Baddeley, and he’ll be back in Arizona to defend his title on Thursday. Baddeley shot a 21-under par last year to edge John Rollins by a single stroke. Jeff Quinney looked like he had the tournament win in the bag last year before bogeying both the 17th and 18th hole to finish in third place at 19-under par. The oddsmakers don’t seem to have a lot of confidence in Baddeley repeating as champ this year after pegging him as a 20/1 underdog.

Mickelson and Baddeley will have a tough field to compete against this weekend with eight of the Top 20 golfers in the world committed to the event. Aside from No. 2-ranked Mickelson and No. 17th-ranked Baddeley, the other Top 20 golfers in the field include No. 3 Steve Stricker, No. 8 K.J. Choi, No. 9 Rory Sabbatini, No. 11 Vijay Singh, No. 14 Geoff Ogilvy and No. 20 Trevor Immelman. Singh is the only other Top 20 golfer to have won the FBR before, having taken home the trophy in 2003 and 1995.

To win at Scottsdale, golfers have to be able to deal with the sometimes-rowdy crowd. This is especially true at the par-three 16th hole, which is completely surrounded by stands that can get loud when filled with students from the nearby colleges. Spectators have been known to boo bad shots and erupt in celebration when golfers come close to the hole. Some of the more famous moments at the 16th include Tiger Woods’ hole in one back in 1997, and Justin Leonard flipping the bird to the crowd after he was roundly booed for a poor shot. If Mickelson can work some magic on No. 16 this year, we could add another memorable moment to the list.

Odds to win FBR Open

Phil Mickelson 6/1
Vijay Singh 10/1
Rory Sabatini 15/1
Steve Stricker 15/1
K.J. Choi 15/1
Justin Leonard 20/1
Aaron Baddeley 20/1
D.J. Trahan 20/1
Nick Watney 20/1
Trevor Immelman 20/1
Mike Weir 25/1
Stewart Cink 25/1
Boo Weekley 25/1
Geoff Ogilvy 25/1
Hunter Mahan 25/1
Jerry Kelly 30/1
John Senden 30/1
David Toms 30/1
Anthony Kim 30/1
Steve Marino 30/1
Troy Matteson 35/1
Stuart Appleby 35/1
Robert Allenby 35/1
Charles Howell III 35/1
Chris DiMarco 35/1
Daniel Chopra 45/1
Carl Pettersson 45/1
Kenny Perry 45/1
Heath Slocum 45/1
Steve Flesch 45/1
Field (all other players) 9/5

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