If you haven’t, you surely should.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Pebble Beach Golf Links (host)
Monterrey Peninsula, California
|Pebble Beach: Yards (per official scorecard):||6,816|
|Greens:||Poa annua; 3,500 square feet on average.|
|Rough:||Ryegrass at two inches.|
|Bunkers/Water Hazards||118/Pacific Ocean|
|Architect(s):||Jack Neville and Douglas Grant (1918); Ed Conner and Jack Nicklaus (1991).|
|Spyglass Hill: Yards||7,035|
|Greens:||Poa annua; 5,000 square feet on average.|
|Rough:||Ryegrass and Poa annua at two inches.|
|Architect(s):||Robert Trent Jones (1966)|
|Monterrey Peninsula Country Club: Yards||6,958|
|Par:||71; (34-37); Five Par-3 holes.|
|Greens:||Poa annua; 6,000 square feet on average.|
|Rough:||Ryegrass at 1.75 inches.|
|Bunkers/Water Hazards||5 creeks run through the property.|
|Architect(s):||Robert Baldock (1960); Mike Stranz (2003).|
|Purse:||$7.8 million; $1.404 million and 500 FedExCup points (winner).|
|Defending Champion:||Phil Mickelson, -19 (268).|
|Fact of the Week:||Pro-Am field of 156 spread over three courses.|
|Fact of the Week II:||This three course rotation began in 2010.|
2019-2020 Season Winners
*- First-time winner
**- First-time winner AND rookie winner
|A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier||*- Joaquin Niemann|
|Sanderson Farms Championship||*- Sebastian Munoz|
|Safeway Open||Cameron Champ|
|Shriners Hospitals for Children Open||Kevin Na|
|Houston Open||*-Lanto Griffin|
|CJ CUP AT NINE BRIDGES||Justin Thomas|
|ZOZO Championship||Tiger Woods|
|WGC-HSBC Champions||Rory McIlroy|
|Bermuda Championship||Brendon Todd|
|Mayakoba Golf Classic||Brendon Todd (2)|
|The RSM Classic||*-Tyler Duncan|
|Hero World Challenge||Henrik Stenson|
|Sentry Tournament of Champions||Justin Thomas (2)|
|Sony Open||Cameron Smith|
|The American Express||Andrew Landry|
|Farmers Insurance Open||Marc Leishman|
|Waste Management Phoenix Open||Webb Simpson|
Horses for Courses (The Confidence Factor) publishes at PGATOUR.COM Tuesdays. It’s a look who has played well here recently so I suggest reading it as I won’t replicate all of the information here.
Recent Event Winners
|2019||Phil Mickelson, -19||65 to close and won by three for his fifth title. Paul Casey couldn’t hold his 54-hole lead.|
|2018||Ted Potter, Jr., -17||Shot 62 at MPCC Saturday to play in the final group with Dustin Johnson. Beat him by three and cruised to victory.|
|2017||Jordan Spieth, -19||Led by six after 54 and won by four.|
|2016||Vaughn Taylor, -17||Blitzed home in 31 to upset Mickelson.|
|2015||Brandt Snedeker, -22||Set the tournament scoring record for the second time in three years. Second win in three years.|
Facts and Figures:
|Tournament Record:||265(-22); Snedeker, 2015.|
|Course Records (last time):||Pebble Beach, 62: David Duval (1997); Tom Kite (1983).
Spyglass Hill, 62: Luke Donald (2006); Phil Mickelson (2005).
Monterrey Peninsula CC, 60: Sung Kang (2016).
|Recent Defending Champion(s):||Dustin Johnson (2009-2010) only player since 1990.|
|Multiple Winners Entered (event or course):||Johnson, Snedeker and Mickelson.|
|Youngest (this century):||Spieth, 23.|
|Oldest (this century):||Mickelson, 48.|
|First-time – TOUR (last):||D.A. Points, 2011.|
|First-time – Event||Brett Ogle, 1993.|
|Low Rounds 2019:||64; Casey and Brian Gay are the only two entered this year.|
|Best First-timers 2019:||T28: Cameron Champ.|
|Odd Fact:||Only three international winners ever.|
It’s been wet all winter so these short tracks might play a bit longer as it’s not firm nor fast. Also, with temperatures in the upper 50s/low 60s it’s going to be hard to get going early. Cool temperatures will also keep the ball from flying off the club face.
Experience matters here. The courses, although short, are extremely quirky. Go look up rookies here over the years and only the big pedigree players survive. The other angles about experience is knowing how to handle 6 hour rounds, adjusting to temperamental weather and when to hit the brakes instead of the gas on these short tracks.
Poa annua greens and Pro-Am golf are acquired tastes and those here this week have embraced these challenges. Of the last five winners, Ted Potter, Jr. needed the least amount of times (four) before winning.
The order of difficulty is Spyglass, Pebble then MPCC so make sure you’re aware if you’re playing the PGATOUR game. No winner has posted less than 17-under over the last five years so birdies will be needed. Those who don’t strike it great better be able to scramble consistently and rounds above par aren’t going to help.
With a slight field, for my money, there’s a reason big names eat here. Good luck finding the next Vaughn Taylor, D.A. Points or Ted Potter, Jr. There are plenty of SAFE options this week. History says so.
Cliff’s Notes – Thoughts on big-name players
Dustin Johnson: Only concern is the jet lag coming back but he can roll out of bed and contend.
Brandt Snedeker: MC last week should have him fresh for this week. When he plays well at Torrey, he plays well at Pebble.
Jason Day: What back injury? T16 two weeks ago at Torrey suggests there’s nothing wrong.
Paul Casey: Last two years here suggest he’ll be up for it again. Big ball-striker needs a hot putter.
Graeme McDowell: Won last week in Saudi Arabia and has the biggest win of his career here.
Justin Rose: Most will remember MC in his defense at Torrey. I’ll remember solo second to Kuchar in Singapore the week before.
Phil Mickelson: I’m so happy I’ve already burned him in OAD so I won’t have to consider him this week. I guess hoping continents (T3, Saudi Arabia) woke him up after MC X 2 to start in his native California.
Patrick Cantlay: Hasn’t popped here since 2013 but I don’t see why he can’t this time around. His game doesn’t have many, if any, holes in it.
Matt Kuchar: I’m not sure why it hasn’t translated here. Returned in 2017 after last event in 2010 and has cashed MC-T62-T22 the last three years. He’s MC-WIN-T16 in three events this season.
Matthew Fitzpatrick: Five of his last seven worldwide = Top 10.
Max Homa: 7 straight on TOUR plus back-to-back top-10 paydays. Played at Cal so Poa no biggie.
Branden Grace: Super form and never has had much trouble on links tracks.
Russell Knox: Every dollar you can get.
Scott Piercy: Big finish last week, including being in the fight late on Sunday. Trending at Pebble too and fits the crusty veteran winner profile.
J.B. Holmes: He’ll defend NEXT week at Riviera so I’d expect him to enjoy it this week. Ran out of gas the last two Sundays but in the fight the first three rounds at Torrey and WMPO.
Cameron Champ: T28 on debut last year suggests he learned quickly. Mickelson and accuracy are rarely used in the same sentence either. Top 25 first three events of the year plus won in NorCal in Napa.
Tom Hoge: T25 or better in four straight and this will be his sixth trip to Pebble. Hmmmmmmm.
Daniel Berger: Getting closer as he’s trending away T38-T29-T9 last three. Only visit here is T10 as a rookie in 2015.
Patrick Rodgers: T8 followed by MC last year is his career in a microcosm. He’s been close too many times but has never broken through. Back-to-back top-16 finishes and four paydays in a row should have his confidence sky-high.
Adam Hadwin: Ran out of gas in his first start of the new year at home with a new baby. Might do better away from home haha.
Adam Long: Three really solid rounds in the desert last week for solo eighth.
Mark Hubbard: San Jose State product is no stranger to Poa and was 12-under heading into Sunday last week.
Vaughn Taylor: One bad round in the Coachella Valley, one bad round last week. Last three coastal tracks he’s played T2-T10-T12.
Kurt Kitayama: Italy, France, Turkey and Dubai = all top 10s. Worst finish was MC on Bermuda at Shriners.
Other Course Horses (not mentioned in Horses for Courses)
Kevin Na: Plenty of action last decade T22 or better four times with two top-10s. Also three MC.
Sung Kang: T17 and T14 in two of the last four plus he’s the course record holder at MPCC. T16 at Farmers two weeks ago suggests he’s close.
Matt Jones: 10 of 12 here and plays annually.
Lucas Glover: T11 (2016) and T7 (2019) in his last two visits is something. He’s also posted 3 of 7 rounds at 67 or better this season in two events; it’s those other four rounds…
Rob Oppenheim: Never MC in 3 tries including T8 in 2017. So yeah. My boy Jake would be hyped.
Nick Taylor: 5 starts and has cashed three times T30 or better including T10 2017 and T28 LY.
Michael Thompson: First top 10 in seven tries last year as he closed with 66.
Harry Higgs: Back-to-back T25s on ball-striking courses but first time here.
Brandon Hagy: Posted four rounds in the 60s last week and has T34 and T33 in two visits here. Cal grad.
Hank Lebioda: Plays well every-other-event and this is OTHER week! T38 on debut last year with all four rounds in the red #BallStruck.
Maverick McNealy: Grew up NorCal and cashed 8 straight, including the best of the bunch LTO.
Matthew NeSmith: Quietly cashing decent checks, T32-T17-T30 in 3 starts this season.
Jordan Spieth: Folks, he’s on this list until he plays himself off of it. If you want to throw cash on him each week because THIS IS SURELY THE WEEK, please, be my guest.
Kevin Kisner: Dig the length but not crazy about the Poa. Pass.
Chez Reavie: Learned my lesson last week. Three straight MC.
Viktor Hovland: MC in 3 of last 4. Kids, eh? Maybe the vibes of his U.S. Open finish will help him. He’ll have plenty of chances to get it right here.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me email@example.com.