AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Defending Champ: Brandt Snedeker
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AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview
On paper, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is one of the year’s best tournaments. A strong field, impressive lineage, and beautiful scenery separate Pebble Beach from your standard PGA affair, as does the wealth of legitimate celebrities wandering the grounds. There’s just one problem: It’s awful to watch.
Since the first three rounds are spread across three different courses – Pebble Beach GL, Spyglass Hill GC, and Monterey Peninsula CC – the coverage simply can’t keep up, both on television and online. With Pebble Beach GL playing host course, all the cameras and shot tracker are set up there, and there only. If you have a player going on MP or SH, you may as well just check in after their round is complete; you’ll go insane trying to get an accurate live update. It’s maddening. Even worse, Sunday, when you’re dying to see if Dustin Johnson can save par on 13, you’re more apt to watch Jim Nantz yucking it up with the stars. It’s fine when it’s Bill Murray, he’s this event’s official mascot, or even Justin Timberlake or Mark Wahlberg, they’re real stars, but when they start cutting away from live action so Jake Owen can shower Nantz, and us unfortunate viewers, with a five-minute acoustic serenade, you’ll begin to wonder why you ever thought there needs to be a waiting period to get guns.
Now, it’s not just celebrities hitting the links this week, although there are a lot, a bounty of big names are making trek to the Pacific coast. Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, DJ, and Patrick Reed will all be in attendance, and they’re just the ones inside the Top 10 in the world rankings. Phil Mickelson, Kevin Na, Jason Dufner, Brooks Koepka, Jimmy Walker, JB Holmes, and defending champ Brandt Snedeker will also be milling about.
AT&T Pebble Beach Key Stats
Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green
Proximity/Birdie Average 50-125 Yards
Par 5 Scoring
All 156 players in the field will get the opportunity to play the three layouts before the cut is made following Saturday’s third round.
Year | Scoring Average | Season Rank in Difficulty in Parentheses
Spyglass Hill GC
2015: -0.801 (32/52)
2014: +0.755 (11/48)
2013: +0.641 (17/43)
2012: +0.581 (18/49)
2011: +0.462 (15/51)
Pebble Beach GL
2015: -1.760 (45/52)
2014 +1.385 (7/48)
2013: -0.588 (29/43)
2012: -0.143 (24/49)
2011: +0.381 (17/51)
Monterey Peninsula CC
2015: -2.064 (50/52) *Par 71*
2014: +0.252 (22/48) *Par 71*
2013: +0.244 (21/43) *Par 70*
2012: -0.117 (23/49) *Par 70*
2011: -0.160 (25/51) *Par 70*
With all three courses measuring less than 7,000 yards, bombers that can take deadly aim with a wedge are going to end up on the first page of the leaderboard. Those same bombers can find themselves in peril, well, in the trees at the very least, at Spyglass Hill, but one tough round can be overcome if the scoring conditions are ripe at the other courses.
In the Yahoo! game, bench your players the day they play Spyglass Hill. It’s not that they can’t dominate that course, they can, but it’s just easier for players to go really low on Pebble Beach or Monterey Peninsula, why fight that? Tee times will be posted here on Wednesday morning.
AT&T Pebble Beach Picks
Dustin Johnson & Jordan Spieth
When you have 16 of the world’s Top 30 players in the field, there’s little reason to start searching for sleepers in standard Fantasy Golf formats. It’s simply not necessary. On DraftKings, constructing a squad of stars and scrubs is the proper play with everyone guaranteed three rounds. While I like Jason Day and Phil Mickelson this week, it’s never difficult talking yourself into Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth. DJ is a two-time winner at this event (2009 & 2010) and has six Top 10s in eight career starts. Spieth has almost been as good. While he’s never won this tournament, he’s never finished worse than 22nd in three starts, and has breached the Top 10 the last two years.
Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker, JB Holmes & Jimmy Walker
Over 40-percent of the winners at Pebble Beach have been previous champions, generally American too. So doubling down on two-time winner Brandt Snedeker and 2014 novelty check hoister Jimmy Walker is pretty simple. After that, targeting two different styles of players, who still check the key stats, is the move. JB Holmes is just going to dominate off the tee. JB is second from the key distance in proximity and converts birdies 32.61% of the time he has an approach from 125 yards and in off the fairway. And, when you have a player who averages 319 yards with the driver, on courses that are all under 7,000 yards, with wide fairways, he’s going to get A LOT of opportunities from his comfort range. Toss in his recent form (T6/T6), and you have a potential winner. Jason Dufner didn’t do much last week in Phoenix, but will have a much easier time at Pebble. Already a winner this year, Dufner’s lack of length from the tee box hasn’t been an issue because his championship-level iron game has returned. He’s 20th in SG: T2G, eighth in birdie average, 29th in GIR and, shockingly, fourth in Par 5 scoring.
Kevin Na & Greg Owen
I refuse to quit Kevin Na just yet. No, he didn’t quite meet expectations at the Waste Management Open, but a T24 is nothing to scoff at either. It’s just, when you’re consistently posting elite finishes (Four T3s or better in his last seven starts), T24 seems like a giant bummer. Na is still generating birdies at an elite rate (10th), and may not have the distance to exploit the easy wedge range, but, that’s not an issue. Being slightly shorter with the big stick (126th) actually works to Na’s advantage on these courses since he sits second in proximity on 125-150 yards approaches. Finally, I can’t go straight chalk for every pick, so Greg Owen gets a spot. The big hitting Brit has made three of four cuts in 2016, and kills it from less than 125 yards (21st). Probably why he has three Top 10s at this event in ten career starts. It’s a risk, definitely, but it’s so easy to build a safe team this week that gambling on a player no one else has is a great way to differentiate your team on gain Fantasy points on the field.