AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Pebble Beach Golf Links (host)
Spyglass Hill Golf Club
Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore Course)
Pebble Beach, California
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Yards: 6,816 as per the scorecard
Par: 72 (36-36)
Greens: Poa annua (3,500 square feet on average)
Rough: Perennial rye grass at 2”
Water Hazards: 1, Pacific Ocean
Course Architects: Jack Neville and Douglas Grant (1919); Jack Nicklaus (1991)
Winner’s Share: $1,224,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Dates: February 12-15
Notes: Field of 156; Pro-Am; Play all three courses and cut to the top 60 and ties.
Notes II: Amateurs will play Sunday with the pros to determine the Pro-Am champion. The final round is played on Pebble Beach. If there are more than 60 players, the field will be cut to the top 60 and the remaining players will be awarded FedExCup points and official prize money but MDF.
Spyglass Hill Golf Club
Yards: 6,953 as per the scorecard
Par: 72 (36-36)
Greens: Poa annua (5,000 square feet on average)
Rough: Perennial rye grass and Poa annua at 2”
Water Hazards: 4
Course Architects: Robert Trent Jones (1966)
Notes: Since the new rotation in 2010, SH has been the toughest of the three layouts every year except last year.
Monterey Peninsula Country Club
Yards: 6,867 as per the scorecard
Par: 71 (34-37)
Greens: Bentgrass and Poa annua (7,000 square feet on average)
Rough: Perennial rye grass and Kentucky bluegrass at 2”
Water Hazards: 1
Course Architects: Robert Babcock and Jack Neville (1960); Mike Stranz
Notes: This course has FIVE par threes and THREE par fives.
After 28 wins in 45 events last season Brooks Koepka joined Bill Haas, Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed join the 2014 portion winners Charley Hoffman, Bubba Watson, Ryan Moore, Robert Streb and Ben Martin as the USA have won nine of the first 11 events. Last week at Torrey, Jason Day added to the foreign contingent as he, Sang-moon Bae (Korea) and Nick Taylor (Canada) are the international winners. The USA has won nine of the 12 events in the 2015 season.
In the first 10 events Bae, Martin, Moore, Walker* and Haas have closed their 54-hole leads. *Walker is the only person on BOTH sides of his list as he couldn’t close out his Monday lead at Kapalua.
After 13 first-time winners in 2013 there were only 10 last year. After 11 events in 2015, Koepka joined Martin, Streb and Taylor in making the breakthrough.
I love this tournament for multiple reasons and since it’s my column, let me count the ways.
For those who haven’t made the trip to this part of the world, save your money and DO IT. There doesn’t need to be any golf played or any tournaments going on, just go get lost among some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. Enjoy some unbelievable food, wine and views and watch time slip into the deep blue Pacific.
For fantasy gamers, this is the last multi-course tournament of the season so that means one last week of tracking course rotations. For Yahoo! purposes, Spyglass Hill, the catchiest name of the bunch, is the one to avoid since it’s been the toughest of the three since going to this rotation in 2010.
The iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links will determine the champion as half of the rounds will be played on this seaside masterpiece. The tiny, slow greens will test the best ball-strikers and most patient short-gamers. Remember, since this is a Pro-Am, the greens will run as slow, 10’, as to avoid six hour rounds. The other “best part” of this tournament is that this will be the last time amateurs are involved during play in 2015. That being said, Pebble will play difficult but this will NOT be like last week.
Get ready for the Andy Garcia-Chris Berman-Don Cheadle Konica-Minolta BizHub Swing Vision breakdowns and watch out for the dead shanks, tops and putts that are five feet short! The forecast calls for perfect weather for golf and clambakes so sit back and enjoy!
I’ve gone back to 2010 when the new rotation began for a glimpse at history.
2014: Jimmy Walker -11
2013: Brandt Snedeker -19
2012: Phil Mickelson -17**
2011: D.A. Points -15
2010: Dustin Johnson -16
*Won in a playoff
**Not playing this week
One of these is not like the other but D.A. Points should get full marks as he won with Bill Murray.
This event began in 1937 and the only non-Americans to win are Aussies Bruce Crampton (1965) and Brett Ogle (1993) plus Fiji’s Vijay Singh in 2004. That’s it.
Multiple players have won back-to-back titles but Johnson was the last to do so in 2009-10.
Brett Ogle is the last player to win in his first time at the event.
No rookie has ever won this event in the last 30 years or so. After 30 years, it’s a trend, not a competition to be right!
Jimmy Walker didn’t make a bogey here until Sunday last year.
Spieth and Walker shared the 36-hole lead in 2014.
Tournament and Course Records
Brandt Snedeker posted 267 in 2013 to set the event record.
Monterey Peninsula: 61; Charlie Wi (2012)
Bizarre Stat of the Week:
Mickelson has the tournament record, 20-under, but Snedeker has the low gross 267.
In order, these are the players that I believe project the best this week (Yahoo! group in parentheses). They include premium ball-strikers and dudes who have fared well in this format over the years. This SHOULD be a very chalky week.
Jimmy Walker (B): The defending champ didn’t make a bogey until Sunday last year but needed all of his six-shot lead to win by one. A year later he’s still playing fantastically so there’s no surprise he’s No. 1. His 2015 has been P2, a nine-shot victory and T7. If that’s not enough, he was in the bottom third in fairways here last year and didn’t make any bogeys until Sunday. His last four starts here are T9, T9, T3 and WIN.
Jason Day (B): Similar to Walker, Day overpowers these short tracks and his masterful short game gets him out of any trouble he might find. His win last week just adds fuel to the fire and a pair of solo sixths and a T14 in five starts suggest he’ll be on the leaderboard come Sunday. Not many guys win back-to-back weeks (Horschel BMW/TTC) but there’s not questioning his talent and class. I’m not scared!
Dustin Johnson (B): This is his spiritual home as he’s won here twice, finished T2, T5 and T7 in seven tries. He’s won in bad weather and good because his piercing ball flight doesn’t really care. He led the U.S. Open here after 54 holes as well. He knocked off the rust last week on a tough track at Torrey and this week picks up his father-in-law for the Pro-Am part. He’ll be quite comfortable with this combination.
Jordan Spieth (B): The kid shot 78 and three putted SIX TIMES in round three last year and still finished T4. He was T22 in 2013 and has put seven of eight rounds at 70 or better minus that monster on Saturday last year. He’s never missed two cuts in a row on TOUR and his eye seems to fit this three-course test.
Patrick Reed (C): He’s followed up his come-from-behind playoff win at Kapalua with T24 and T40 but I’ll point out none of those rounds are worse than 71. Like Spieth, he’s played eight rounds in this event and seven of them have been 70 or better minus his Saturday 75 clunker last year. He was T7 in 2013 and T13 last year so he knows how to get it around these classic tracks. He hits it a mile and has a great short game. Does that sound familiar? Hint: Rhymes with “Jason Day”. A few weeks ago an article came out suggesting some not-to-pretty parts of Reed’s past. Reed wasn’t happy about the categorizations and we’ll see how he handles the off-the-course action. There’s nothing wrong with the action inside the ropes.
Brandt Snedeker (B): His form before missing the cut here last year was poor and that’s not the case in 2015 as he was T10 in Phoenix and a very solid T19 last week with over 76% of GIR at Torrey. Remember what happened when Jimmy Walker started working with Butch Harmon? Well, Snedeker is currently in the stable and also loves golf on the coast of California and holds the tournament gross strokes record here of 267 in 2013 BUT YOU ALREADY KNEW THAT.
Ryan Palmer (A): This is a recording. He posted a 63 in finishing T17 at Sony. He backed that up with a 61 at Humana but he’ll remember the triple he made when tied for the lead on Sunday and finished T10. He took the show on the road to Phoenix and opened with 64 and closed with 66 to share second. He’s made four of five cuts here but nothing better than T29 but his form is without question. He’s second in scoring and in the all-around. He’s 10th in strokes gained: tee-to-green and 15th in SGP. Think Jimmy Walker as he hits it a mile, maybe a little crooked, but finds plenty of GIR.
Shane Lowry(C): He was in the form section last week after his impressive run of form in Europe to close out 2014. He’s promoted this week after finishing T7 at Torrey in his maiden voyage last week. If that monster didn’t bother him I doubt a bunch of sub-7,000 yard tracks will scare him off. He’s put 11 of his last 16 finishes worldwide in the top 25 and half of those are top 10s.
Hunter Mahan (B): Big Daddy returns to the TOUR to a place he absolutely loves as he’s finished second, T15, T16 and sixth in his last four. Baby No. 2 has arrived and Mahan should be stoked that he arrived before the California swing ended. Mahan has played eight rounds this year and they’ve all been 71, 69 or 68. That’ll do just fine for another top 10 again this year! His steady tee-to-green game translates here.
J.B. Holmes (A): I’ll ride a hot hand here to see if the playoff loss last week got his attention. He returns to a course that he’s played the last eight years. He’s made seven cuts including a T2, T13 and T16. He’ll overpower these courses and the rough won’t be nearly as penal as it was last week at Torrey.
Ian Poulter(B): I’ll take a look this week after his very solid T19 on the monster South Course at Torrey. He tweeted that he needs to pay for a couple of Ferraris and his form is solid with worldwide finishes of T6, T2, T21 and T19 in his last four. He was T17 at the 2010 U.S. Open and T50 on his only Pro-Am in 2012.
Colt Knost: Back-to-back weeks in the Form section and deservedly so after his T19 last week at Torrey. He rolled in 17 birdies and was third in SGP. His form at Torrey was just as bad as it is here but that doesn’t interest me this week. He’s turning a corner with T17, T10 and T17 to begin 2015.
Nick Watney: I have so much Watney scar tissue that I can pound a nail through it and not feel ANYTHING. He’s finished T14 and T7 in two of his last three with a MC sandwiched in between or he’d be up one section. His ball-striking has been off the charts because he’s made NOTHING on the greens the last three weeks. This is 12 in a row at AT&T for the Sacramento native and he’s played eight of the first 11 weekends but MC in the last two.
Kevin Na: In 2015 he’s posted T64, T48 and T26. His last three here are T5, T22 and T4 with all 12 round par or better. He should find plenty of fairways and his lack of distance hasn’t bothered him the last three years. If his putter gets hot…
Rory Sabbatini: He’s made six cuts in a row heading back to last fall and 2015 has seen him post 34-under in three events with finishes of T6, T24 and T22. If his record here was better he’d easily be higher up the list.
Zac Blair: This rookie has racked up six cuts in eight tries including T6 and T11 in two of his last three. The T11 was impressive at Torrey and he’ll putt the dimples off the ball given the chance. He needs to be on your radar.
Spencer Levin: Another Sacramento lad who began the final round last week just one shot off the lead, Levin closed with 74 to finish T11. He was T4 in GIR and T14 in fairways so he’s moving in the proper direction. He’s also hit the top 14 three times in his last five. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Daniel Berger: He’s racked up T13, MC, T10 and T24 to open up 2015. He’s a rookie but I like the way he rebounded at Torrey last weekend. He fired 77 on Saturday but bounced right back with 70 to close. It would have been real easy to mail that in. Eyes open.
Jason Kokrak: He’s hit six cuts on the bounce and seven of eight this season plus he closed with 67 his last time out in Phoenix. He was T9 in 2012 and T19 last year. #solid
Aaron Baddeley: Sneak in the side door with Badds this week as he rocks this track. He was T17 in Phoenix as the rough, similar to this week, is not as penal as Torrey where he MC last week. T6, fourth, T12 and T56 in the last four in the new rotation works for me.
Horses for Courses
Bryce Molder: He’s hit the top 10 in four of his last five here but he’s HFC because he’s MC, 70th and MC in three starts in 2015. He’ll be the most popular man in GC Group 4 this week!
Steven Bowditch: He finished T9, T15, MC and T19 last year and only two of those 15 rounds have been over par. Super solid course form.
Greg Owen: In nine tries he’s bagged three top 10s including solo third in his maiden voyage. He added a T4 and T9 down the road and has played the weekend in his last five tries. Aren’t there games where making the cut is a good thing? J Thought so!
Pat Perez: He’s played 12 and seen 10 weekends. His 77-83 weekend on the course where he grew up last week has me scared to death.
Sean O’Hair: He’s seen the weekend in six straight here and five of these are T35 or better and include T16 and T10. He has nothing better than T41 in three events in 2015.
Off the Radar
Outside of the OWGR top 100; AKA “long shots”
Chesson Hadley (139): Arrived here last year on the back of three MC in a row and bagged a T10. He’s MC his last two in 2015. We’ll see if he’s a true course horse.
Michael Putnam (219): He has one round over par in his last 10. Hits a ton of greens and is three-for-three here in his career.
Michael Thompson (243): He was 13-under on the par fives last week as he finished T11 at Farmers. He’s made his last two here so stretch a bit!
James Hahn (309): T3 in his first appearance but had a case of the Saturdays last year as he blew up for 81 after entering the day three-under. He’s four-for-four in 2015 with two good Sundays and two bad Sundays.
Charlie Wi (451): He won the 1990 California State Am here. He was second in 2013 and T16 in 2014 before shooting 80 on Saturday last year to MC. He’s off a MC last week in Colombia.
Vaughn Taylor (543): T15 two weeks ago in Panama and T12 last week in Colombia. Hot golf is hot golf.
Out to Sea
Jim Furyk: He hasn’t finished better than T30 in five tries since the new rotation began in 2010. Bizarre. I don’t like guys in their first start of the year usually and this confirms it. Furyk doesn’t tumble in any formats so patiently wait until next time.
Chris Stroud: In seven events he has six MCs and a T6. He’s began 2015 MC, MC and MC. #KillingSalaryGamers
J.J. Henry: His T11 last week was very nice but he has one top 20 in his last 11 here.
Fabian Gomez: He’s never played Sunday in three tries. He’s never put a round in the 60s either.
Billy Horschel: In four starts he’s MC twice and his best finish is T28. Wait until he gets back to the South. In seven starts this year his best finish was T22 in a 34-man field; T30 at Phoenix was the other notable. COME ON SPRING!!!
Jim Renner: He’s missed 21 cuts since his T2 here last year.
Rookie/Up-and-Comer of the Week Last Week
Once called the “Jordan Spieth” of the week, I had to retire that name after his last two seasons on TOUR. Now, we’ll keep a broad view of newer names/faces that gamers should pay attention to as the season moves on. Some former examples in this column include Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed and Chesson Hadley.
Shriners: Tony Finau, T7
McGladrey: Robert Streb, WIN
CIMB: Cameron Smith, T5
HTOC: Nick Taylor played his sixth event as a pro. He’s won 1/6 of the events he’s entered. That’s worth keeping an eye on for the foreseeable future.
WMPO: Koepka won so he graduates from this column like Reed, Spieth and Matsuyama before him. Justin Thomas is now the current mayor. Daniel Berger was T10, Thomas T17 and Finau returned with another top 25.
Coming Later TUESDAY Afternoon
Playing the Tips will be up and running this and every Tuesday afternoon and will list all of the Rotoworld experts picks in the GolfChannel.com game, the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game, DFS plus the European Tour! Oh, and my One-and-Done feature. Look for it around 4ET every Tuesday for the rest of the season.
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat WEDNESDAY at NOON ET. We will be breaking down the field at the AT&T Pebble Beach and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob (http://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (http://twitter.com/MikeGlasscott) on Twitter.