AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am
Analysis and write-up provided by KendoVT. Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to see each player’s tournament history.
The PGA Tour heads up the coast to California this week as golfers get prepared to play the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. Golfers will be playing on three different courses the first three days: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Monterey Peninsula Shore Course, and Spyglass Country Club. This is another event where the cut won’t be until after Saturday and only the Top 60 and ties make it to the final round on Sunday at Pebble Beach. As the name of the tournament suggests, Tour golfers will be paired with an amateur for at least the first three rounds making this tournament a test of patience for the pros since rounds of golf could take over six hours with the amateurs hacking it left and right. This is an important aspect fantasy wise for this tournament. Golfers with little patience who usually play quickly could be adversely affected this weekend. The weather could also play a big factor this week because Pebble Beach and Monterey both hug the shoreline making windy conditions a distinct possibility though I worry less about golfers at Monterey during windy conditions because the course is fairly easy. Looking at the weather forecast as of now, it looks like Saturday will be windy so focusing on golfers that don’t play Pebble Beach on Saturday could be a good idea this week. Also, looking at golfers who performed well at the Farmers a few weeks ago might help you in selecting your golfers for DraftKings this week. Seven of the last eleven winners here have finished T5 or better at the Farmers in the respective year they won this tournament. Now onto the courses.
Pebble Beach Golf Links is a 7,000 yard par 72 with four par 3s and four par 5s. Two of the par 5s are reachable by all golfers (2, 6), one won’t be reachable by hardly any golfer (14), and one is reachable for the long hitters (18). The course hugs the coastline making for breathtaking views but also brutal conditions IF the wind picks up. The fairways are above average in size and the rough won’t be too thick. If golfers miss wildly off the tee, OB comes into play since nearly half the holes sit along side the Pacific Ocean. The greens are TINY and slope severely. Many bunkers and false fronts surround the green as well. Golfers will once again have to deal with bumpy poa annua greens on all three courses this week.
Spyglass Country Club is a 6900 yard par 72 with four par 3s and four par 5s. All the par 5s should be reachable in two by most golfers, plus 17 is a reachable par 4. The course is inland so golfers won’t have to deal with coastal conditions but this course is still the most difficult of the three. The fairways are large but there is trouble off the tee with many bunkers, sand dunes, trees, and water to deal with. The greens are small and have a lot of undulation. Don’t be fooled by the total yardage, it plays longer due to the many elevation changes throughout the holes on the course.
As of now, there is a little discrepancy as to how Monterey Peninsula Shore Course will set up. Last year it was a par 71 with five par 3s and four par 5s. Looking at the First Look article on PGATour.com, it states that this year it is a par 72. This shouldn’t effect anything too much fantasy wise but keep an eye out when the Tournament scorecards are released since they could be adding an extra par 5 to the course this year. The course is around 6800 yards and plays the easiest out of the three courses. It does hug the coastline so weather could play a factor here. The fairways are above average in size and the greens are small. Golfers will have to avoid bunkers, sand dunes, and the ocean to play well here this week.
Looking at the course description above and trends for the course the last few years, a few key stats come to mind. I will be using these stats, current form, and course history to select golfers for my DraftKings lineups this week. I will be putting more emphasis on Course History due to the fact that this is a Pro Am and not your normal tournament. I can see golfers getting frustrated with the long rounds and the carnival type atmosphere with the amateurs playing along side them. If golfers haven’t played well here in the past, this could be a reason why.
Key Stats For The Course
***In order of importance with the most important first. Not including Strokes Gained Tee to Green (SG:T2G) and Strokes Gained Putting (SG:P), which are key stats every week. I will also take a look at Driving Distance (DD) since the courses are so short but I won’t be excluding short hitters this week.
Birdie or Better % (BoB%):
As long as the wind doesn’t pick up too much, this tournament will be a birdie fest. The courses are overall short and easy. In the last six years here 70% of the golfers that finished T3 or better were inside the Top 55 in this stat for that specific year. Last year’s winner, Brandt Snedeker made 23 birdies during his four rounds and still only finished T8 in most birdies made.
Par 5 Scoring (P5):
Depending on the final layout at Monterey, there could be 17 par 5s played this week with the majority of them being reachable in two. Even if there are only four par 5s at Monterey, this stat will still be important. Looking at the trends from the last six years, 70% of golfers finishing T3 or better have been inside the Top 80 in this stat for the specific year they finished Top 3. Phil Mickleson famously went -5 on par 5s during the final round in 2012, which he went on to win.
Proximity from 50-125 yards (Prox125):
The three courses are short so a lot of approach shots should come from this range. Last year over 7,200 approach shots were from the 100-125 yard range. In the last six years 75% of the golfers that finished T3 or better were inside the Top 82 in this stat for that respective year. The greens are small so hitting it close with wedges will be important.
As stated before the greens are small, especially at Pebble Beach. Not only are the greens small but a lot of them have false fronts and are elevated making it even more difficult to have a good green in regulation percentage. Greens are going to be missed and how a golfer performs when trying to get it up and down will be key this week.
High End Picks ($9000 and up)
*** I will be using stats from 2015-2016 but I will take a peak at last year’s stats where needed.
Jordan Spieth ($12,300):
Any week Spieth is under $13,000 on DraftKings, you should use him in all formats. He’s the best in the world and can win any week. The only worry I might have is that this is his first tournament this year in the continental United States but I don’t think it will affect him since he has been playing so much over seas. He has been back in the States for a while so jet lag shouldn’t be an issue. He finished 7th here last year and 4th the year before. I’m guessing he will have multiple wins at Pebble Beach before his career is through. Oh yeah, he’s also my #1 ranked golfer this week. Use him. (GPP and Cash)
Dustin Johnson ($11,400):
DJ has SIX Top 8 finishes here in eight events including back to back victories in 2009 and 2010. His stats for the course are sick. He is 22nd in SG:T2G, 4th in BoB%, 16th in P5, 7th in DD, and surprisingly 11th in Prox125. He will be playing with his father-in-law (Wayne Gretzky) so he might be a bit more comfortable playing with his amateur partner than most others on the course. I like him for a high finish and maybe even a victory this week. If you don’t feel like paying up for Spieth, DJ makes a good secondary option. (GPP and Cash)
Jimmy Walker ($10,700):
Walker has quietly been having a solid season so far this year with FOUR Top 13 finishes in his five events. He is a course horse this week making his last five cuts at Pebble Beach with FOUR Top 9s, a victory two years ago, and his worst finish being 21st last year. His stats for the course are very good. He’s 69th in SG:T2G, 24th in BoB%, 16th in P5, 37th in DD, 31st in SG:P, and 26th in Prox125. I think he is a safe play this week and outside of Jordan Spieth, Walker is my favorite to win. (GPP and Cash)
Phil Mickleson ($10,300):
Lefty comes in as my #2 ranked golfer this week. He missed the cut at the Farmers a couple of weeks ago but I can look past that since a lot of big names didn’t fare too well that week. In his other two starts on Tour this year he has finished 11th (WM Open) and 3rd (CareerBuilder Challenge). Phil loves this course. He has three wins, six Top 10s, and only one missed cut in his last ten appearances at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. His stats line up really well with the course and I think a Top 5 finish or better is in the cards for him this week. (GPP and Cash)
Patrick Reed ($9,600):
Reed has had a couple of down tournaments recently but I think that will keep his ownership low this week, which is a plus. His stats line up nicely with the course. He’s 15th in SG:T2G, 32nd in BoB%, 24th in P5, 3rd in Scr, and 17th in Prox125. He has made all three of his cuts at Pebble with two Top 13 finishes and his worst performance was last year and he still finished inside the Top 30. (GPP and Cash)
Kevin Na ($9,200):
Na has had an up and down career here at Pebble Beach missing four of eight cuts but in 2014 he finished 4th, in 2013 he finished 22nd, and in 2012 he finished 5th so he does have some decent course history here. His stats so far this year correlate very well with the course. He’s 9th in SG:T2G, 14th in BoB%, 64th in P5 (which is amazing given how short he is off the tee), 7th in Scr, and 45th in Prox125. He is also 2nd in Proximity from 125-150 yards which is key since he’s a shorter hitter and he might actually be hitting more approaches from that range rather than from the 50-125 yard range. (GPP only)
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Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.