Just when you thought we were clear and free from multi-course events, we head back to California for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
The first thing we notice is that we’re back to a full field at 156 but only Top 60 and Ties will play the fourth round this week. With roughly 60% of the field missing the cut, it brings up plenty of questions in terms of DFS roster construction. That will depend largely on how they decide to price the field, since the last few weeks they’ve been “experimenting” with super soft salaries.
Next we see the weather forecast calls for plenty of rain before the weekend and temps in the upper 50s. Could be a battle with Mother Nature before the cream rises to the top over the weekend. We saw Dustin Johnson win this event in 2009 when sloppy weather shortened it to three rounds. He also returned the next year and won it playing four rounds. Definitely one to target this week.
The three courses this week are Pebble Beach Golf Links (played twice), Spyglass Hill (hardest of the three), and Monterey Peninsula (easiest of the three). If we’re looking for a common link among the three, they all feature poa annua greens and check in under 7,000 yards.
The next thing I found notable about this event is the rough. Because of the pro-am nature of the event, we don’t see the typical gnarliness that we’re used to seeing week-to-week on TOUR. It’s no surprise to see the numbers back this up, as it’s one of the smallest gaps in terms of penalty for missing the fairways.
Since the courses are so short, the plodders are certainly in play this week. At the same time, the big hitters still have a nice edge because of the point we just talked about, they just aren’t punished heavily for getting errant off the tee. For stats, that leads me to leaning heavily on Driving Distance and Birdie or Better Percentage. Pretty common.
Check out the Fantasy Golfanac for more event history and golfer quotes. If you head to the bottom of the page, you’ll see a Google Doc link that includes scoring averages at each course since 2003.
For correlated events/courses I am looking at the Farmers, the Open Championship, WM Phoenix Open, the Masters, Doral, and Riviera.
Players to Watch
Phil Mickelson… A four-time winner at this event and he’s off to a superb start in 2017. Last year when he was asked about how these courses suit his game he answered, “…the greens being poa annua are what I grew up on, so it’s a grass I feel comfortable. Not just putting on, but chipping on, chipping into and hitting full shots into. It can be challenging for guys if they’re not used to it. It’s something that I’ve become very comfortable with over the years.” Would not be surprising to see Phil “Poa Annua” Mickelson finally back in the winner’s circle by week’s end.
Jason Day… A T12 and MC to kick off 2017. Color me not impressed. May be overreacting on my part, but I’m going to hold off until he flashes something special. That explains why he’s dropped to ninth in my power rankings. Plus, with daily highs barely reaching 60 degrees this week, there is a tiny more risk backing someone with a history of back issues. Could be a fatal decision to fade him, but that’s how I’m leaning. Okay, not fatal, this is just fantasy golf we’re talking about.
Jon Rahm… His breakthrough win followed by a decent week at his ASU stomping grounds. Seems like a week where some veterans might opt to rest and regroup. Rahm is still young, and ready to take on the world though. Fatigue (physical and/or emotional) cannot be ruled out this week, but he’s still one of the best birdie makers on TOUR at the moment, so we can’t ignore him.
Hunter Mahan… His form is slowly showing signs of life and he always enjoys coming back to Cali. Worth a few GPP Dabbles.
Matt Jones… Has no PGA TOUR card so he needs to a big finish somewhere to get his name back toward to top of the FedExCup list. With four top 15s at Pebble, this is a good venue to pop back up.
Cameron Smith… If we look at performance in sub-70 degree weather, then you’ll notice a lot of Aussies show up on the wrong side of the spectrum. However, Smith finished T11 here last year so maybe he is one of the Aussies that doesn’t like the cold (like Matt Jones we just talked about). Could be worth a look this week, but I will wait a littler longer to fully unload on him. He just missed out on my top 25. Others that just missed out include: Jonas Blixt, Roberto Castro, Pat Perez, and William McGirt.
Jim Furyk… Also not in my power rankings, but this one is intentional. He’s been dormant since The RSM Classic and he owns just one top 25 at this event over his last seven appearances. I will let him play his way back into form before re-investing.
Patrick Cantlay… He’s back! The layoff has been too long to jump back on him but I’m excited to see how he fares this week.
Scott Stallings… Going the boom-or-bust route, Stallings is our man this week. He’s 0-for-2 at this event but hasn’t played here since 2012. What’s popping is his success in Cali. He’s a two-time podium finisher at the Farmers (correlated event) and has a couple top 10s at the CareerBuilder Challenge as well. For someone with just 13 career top 10s, that’s an awful lot of success in one state.
Sean O’Hair… Rarely finds my radar but he’s got sneaky-good history at this event. He’s 9-for-11 with eight top 35s. That works for me since he’s playing pretty alright over the past year, as well.
Luke Donald… Missed the cut on the number last week so that’s not too alarming. Now he heads to a venue with short courses that is played in chilly conditions. Sounds like a good week to jump aboard the Englishman. He’s posted five top 30s in seven tries at this event.
Brian Campbell… He’s a SoCal guy so not exactly a local, but should still enjoy a nice return to the Golden State. With five top 10s in 17 starts on the Web.com Tour last year, I like his upside this week playing in his home state.
Brett Coletta… The PGA TOUR of Australasia proved to be to be too easy for the youngster (5-for-6 with a win and two other top 10s) so he decided to turn pro. Lost to Curtis Luck by one stroke at the Asia-Pacific Amateur, or else he would have punched his ticket to the Masters. Instead, he gets to make his PGA TOUR debut a bit earlier. So many talented Aussies making there way up right now, worth throwing on one or two GPPs this week in case he comes out guns a blazin’!
My Top 25 for the 2017 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
1. Dustin Johnson
2. Phil Mickelson
3. Jordan Spieth
4. Justin Rose
5. Patrick Reed
6. Jimmy Walker
7. J.B. Holmes
8. Brandt Snedeker
9. Jason Day
10. Sean O’Hair
11. Shane Lowry
12. Luke Donald
13. Adam Hadwin
14. Jon Rahm
15. Matt Jones
16. Matt Kuchar
17. Tony Finau
18. Jason Kokrak
19. Webb Simpson
20. Robert Garrigus
21. Stewart Cink
22. Daniel Summerhays
23. Gary Woodland
24. Brian Campbell
25. Vaughn Taylor