Last Updated: 2019-02-04
Violent winds ripped through Pebble Beach Golf Links last weekend, but tournament officials have assured the players and the PGA that everything will be copacetic for this weekend’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. We go from one event that isn’t everybody’s cup of tea to another one with this week’s Pro-Am event. This tournament will be played on three different courses and features the annual distraction of celebrities and socialites teamed up with the pros.
That’s not to say that this is a bad event by any means. It is simply to say that a lot of players probably like the more traditional events. That will have to be part of your handicap this weekend as the California/desert swing rages on.
Three’s A Crowd
With such a big field of pros and amateurs, this event is played on three different courses. Pebble Beach Golf Links will be played on Sunday by the remaining field, but the first three days are spread across Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club. All three of these are on the shorter end as far as PGA Tour courses go, as all of them come up short of 7,000 yards. Monterey Peninsula is the only par 71, with the others playing as a par 72.
The format for this event is different as well. Over the first three days, teams of Pro and Am will play a better ball format. The pros are also participating in their regular stroke play event. The final day will feature the best teams battling it out on the signature course for the win. The cut is after 54 holes for this event, hence the need for three different courses.
We’ve got a solid field, as you can see from the odds on the right side for desktop viewers and below the comment box on mobile. Dustin Johnson is back stateside after spending quite a bit of time on the European Tour side of things. He is the favorite at +560. Jason Day is the second favorite at +930 and those are the only two below 20/1 per the early-week odds at 5Dimes.
There are some notable omissions this week, including Tiger Woods, last week’s winner at TPC Scottsdale, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, and Bryson DeChambeau, who, like Johnson, has been playing overseas.
This is a massive field and some long shots have come in, including Ted Potter Jr. last year at 300/1 and Vaughn Taylor back in 2016 at a triple-digit price. Big names have won here, too, including Jordan Spieth (+2000) in 2017, Brandt Snedeker (+5000) twice, and Phil Mickelson (+2500) four times.
Usually I would label this heading “Course Form”, but with three different courses in play here, the players have to conquer three different tracks and best Pebble Beach twice. Mickelson is really strong here, including last year’s second-place finish. He was also second in 2016. He hasn’t won here since 2012, but he’s been in pretty good form overall over the last several months.
There is also a reason why Day is such a big second favorite. Day hasn’t finished lower than 11th over the last four years in this event and has three top-five finishes, including last year’s runner-up.
As we look down the board a little bit, Kevin Streelman is +12500 and he plays very well here. Streelman was sixth last year at 13-under, 14th in 2017 at 7-under, and 17th in 2016 at 8-under. While he hasn’t quite been in striking distance of a victory, he’s been extremely reliable at this event.
Jimmy Walker is another guy to watch this week. Walker (+10000) was the winner here back in 2014 and has had some strong finishes since. He tied for eighth last year and was 11th in 2016.
Play from the Short Grass
With the shorter length of these three courses, it doesn’t help as much to be a big hitter as it has at most of the early-season events. There are some winners that are big hitters, but that is one of the reasons why we’ve had some longer shots hit the board in recent events.
That opens the door for a lot of guys. There are a lot of players that have popped up near the top of the leaderboard in this event because they can hit the ball and start walking towards the center of the fairway.
As a result, there are some long shots to consider. Brice Garnett (+20000) is one of them. Garnett’s lone win is on a coastal course at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship during one of last year’s alternate events. He’s also played extremely well in his career at Mayakoba, where he owns three top-10 finishes. Garnett ranks eighth in percentage of fairways hit over a large sample size of drives so far this season. He hasn’t played well the last two events, but he’s a guy that could be a live long shot this weekend.
Graeme McDowell hits a lot of fairways as well. McDowell (+10000) heads into this week 10th after other players fell behind him last week. McDowell hasn’t played a PGA Tour event since the RSM Classic, but he was 11th there. He was seventh here back in 2014.
The price is terrible on Chez Reavie at +2600, but he’s off to a terrific start this season and ranks seventh in hitting fairways. There isn’t much equity in this price, but it is a testament to how Reavie has played and how he played last year finishing second.
Paul Casey has hit a lot of fairways in the PGA Tour events he has played and is getting a better price than Reavie at +3300. He has four top-20 finishes and a missed cut, but this looks like a good event for him to get back on track.
I really do like the long shot on Brice Garnett here, as long shots have come in at this event. Some are tipping Jordan Spieth, who doesn’t hit it as long as his counterparts, but I’m not in love with the +2000 price tag. I’ll look to grab him with some in-tournament wagering as the event goes along. Pat Perez, another guy who plays well close to water, is +12500 and a decent grab at this price point.
You probably want to try some long shots this week, as this is not an event dominated by the big-hitting favorites.
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