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Scott Pianowski

Phoenix rising - Handicapping the Waste Management Open

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

My feeling is that you'd probably rather discuss general fantasy strategy here rather than go looking for deep sleepers, so with that in mind, here's how I'm playing the Yahoo game this week.

A-List: It's really hard to pass on Phil Mickelson when he's on a course he likes and in an area he likes; even with two missed cuts in the last three stops in Phoenix, Lefty has two wins, a second and eight Top 10s at the event since the mid-90s and the galleries adore him. I don't see how we get past that. Kenny Perry is another chalk pick in this pool - he won this event last season and he's grabbed four heavy checks here (1, 12, 7, 2) since 2002 - but I'd prefer to look elsewhere, given that he hasn't teed it up since the second week in January. Zach Johnson's resume in Phoenix is nothing special (12, WD, MC, 24). Ryan Moore had two MCs in the desert before last year's T6. I'm generally up for a Steve Marino play but he hasn't shown much here (MC, MC, 34). Verdict: Mickelson, Moore, unless you guys talk me out of it.

B-List: J.B. Holmes is a forced play for all of us; he's won this event twice and he's improved significantly around the green. Next step - playing a little faster. Kevin Na should be on your dance card, too; he's got three Top-4 checks in four visits here. Start with those two, then let's figure out the rest of it.

Geoff Ogilvy's name always jumps out at you in this pool - why's he in the B-group, anyway? - but his results are just so-so in Phoenix (four missed cuts, against checks of 17, 20, 27, 40). At least he got some rest last week after his surprisingly-early exit from the Accenture Match-Play. David Toms has 10 checks in his last 11 stops to Phoenix, including a fourth last year and seven Top-20 cashes. He doesn't look like a rowdy guy on the outside, but the party atmosphere of Phoenix apparently agrees with him. Camilo Villegas looks tempting after last week's run at the Accenture, but playing six draining matches in five days makes me less interested in going back to the well. He ran second here in 2006, but hasn't done much since (MC, 34, MC). Sean O'Hair? I'd like to see a show of good faith first. Verdict: Holmes and Na are automatic, Ogilvy as a name grab, and Toms for the consistency.

C-List: I'm as big an Ian Poulter fan as you'll find, and I had a blast watching my Accenture pick roll to a decisive victory last week. Normally you'd automatically roll back with Poulter the following week, but deep runs at the Match Play tend to take more out of a golfer than a stroke-play event, and he's never been to this event. I realize the C-List isn't particularly deep and I'm probably spitting into the wind on this one, but at minimum I think we have to strongly consider leaving Poulter on the bench for Thursday, if not passing on him entirely.

Brandt Snedeker looked like a completely different guy over the first two months and although he missed the cut in Phoenix last year, that came on the heels of two strong showings here (T23, T9). Sign me up. Matt Kuchar is a little more hit-and-miss - his T6 last season followed a pair of Arizona trunk slams. Let's put Snedeker in the driver seat, and we'll check in with Kuchar Friday.

Tap the keg, have a few sips, and get back to me with your picks. Party on, Phoenix.

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