Steve Bamford's Tips for the 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach. Follow Us On Twitter @Golfbetting
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is an iconic tournament within the PGA Tour and this week's event has been made even stronger with Tiger Woods making his US season debut in Monterrey, California for the first time since 2002. The classical nature of the host course, where 36 of the holes are played, makes this a difficult tournament to call but to make a profit this week it's important not just to pick the right players but also the right bookmaker. We announced late on Friday to our 500+ facebook Golf Betting System group members that all new accounts opened with Paddy Power via the site will now receive up to £/€200 in free bets. With 3 of my Pebble Beach team best priced with Paddy Power this week there is no better bookmaker to play Pebble Beach with this week.
Pebble Beach is never set up as US Open tough for this tournament, but still provides a truly classical test. It's also worth bearing in mind that the format of the tournament also takes in rounds at the challenging Spyglass Hill Par 72 and the Shore Course at Monterrey Peninsula which is a relatively easy Par 70. Don't be fooled by the fact that both Pebble and Spyglass Hill are short 6,800 yard Par 72s as they ranked as the 4th and 5th hardest non-Major Par 72s on the PGA Tour in 2011. A player who wants to win therefore has to take apart the easy Pro-Am pin positions at Shore Course and there is no doubt that players who play Monterrey in Round 1 have a distinct advantage in order to get a fast start. Unfortunately tee times aren't available at the time of writing these tips!
Pro-Am formats are not to all tastes and Pebble Beach works with a 60 player and ties cut after Saturday play. Unlike the Humana Challenge a couple of weeks back, the Top 30 Pro-Am teams will also play host course Pebble Beach on Sunday and that relaxing factor can help contenders cross the finish line. To win the tournament, players need to shoot a minimum 65 at Monterrey and then 'hang on' to those red numbers on the stricter Par 72s. Dry weather throughout January means that the tournament will play firm and fast with plenty of fairway roll meaning the shorter hitters like 2011 Champion D.A. Points will have a real chance against the power bombers. Ball striking and wedge play will be key and although dry tranquil weather looks set, the wind is set to be a factor on Pebble Beach Sunday. Also extremely worthy of note are the Poa Annua greens which aren't to every golfer's taste.
Naturally the big question is whether to back Tiger Woods this week against a field that, on closer inspection, is lacking in real depth. In my mind there is absolutely no doubt that the former World Number 1 is going to back up his Thousand Oaks win in December with a win very soon. Naturally his US Open win here in 2000 is legendary and he even managed 4th here behind G-Mac when his career was in freefall in 2010. Read below to see how I'm playing Tiger this week. What's crystal clear this week is that these classical golf links courses reward form golfers and naturally those that thrive on coastal tracks. Course experience is critical with big trouble off the short stuff and undulating greens leading to bogies a plenty for the wayward. We won't even talk about the challenges of the super grainy Poa Annua putting surface! I'm looking for players who can hit plenty of greens and who have a history of performing on tough classical tracks. As ever motivation is key...
I tipped Molder at Scottsdale last week at 60/1 and I'm more than happy to roll with him for a second consecutive week at 28s. I first noticed Bryce when walking the fairways at Turnberry in 2009. He shot a magnificent 67 in some of the toughest conditions imaginable and entered Sunday tied for 8th. From then on I've always rated the Scottsdale resident, who was educated in Georgia, extremely highly and his career is littered with results that link to this tournament strongly. Top 10s have been delivered at Trump International, Colonial, St Jude, Congressional and St George's in recent seasons, not forgetting 12th at Whistling Straits in 2010. His last 2 appearances at Pebble Beach have delivered 10th (10) and 6th (11) and, in truth, Molder should have finished far higher in both tournaments with Sunday pressure taking it's toll on both occasions. However Bryce's first PGA Tour win at CordeValle in California last autumn has added the final mental piece to complete the jigsaw in my opinion. It's been no surprise to see him produce 7th at Kapalua followed up with 13th at Torrey Pines and 15th at Scottsdale last week. He's ready to take on the very best and a win this week would lead to a World Matchplay place in a fortnight. RESULT: MDF
I'll keep my reasoning for this tip short because I'd only be stating the obvious. O'Hair had an awesome 2009 which included a win at Quail Hollow, 2nd at Bay Hill, 4th at Cog Hill and 3rd at East Lake. Indeed O'Hair was 15th in the World entering 2010 at Kapalua where he delivered 4th high above the Pacific Ocean. But 2010 was ultimately disappointing and chronic putting woes led to decline which saw O'Hair fall to 114th in the OWGR after another MC at Sandwich last July. However the long-flight to Vancouver from London was a water-shed as O'Hair came from nowhere to win the Canadian Open at the classical Poa Annua greened Shaughnessy and that win has acted as a real catalyst. O'Hair's brilliant ball striking game is now generating end product as his putting continues to improve and 15th at the Seaside Course last autumn has been followed by 17th at Kapalua, 2nd at Waialae and 45th last week at the alien TPC Scottsdale format. An Open Championship resume that contains 15th (05), 14th (06) and 7th (10) highlights a links golf compatibility - his last 3 visits to Pebble Beach have delivered 31st(11), 35th(10) and 10th (09). RESULT: T29
A 2012 form-line of 9 (Kapalua) – 29 (Waialae) – 14 (Palm Springs) shows everything we need to know about Rory Sabbatini at the moment. He's focussed, relaxed and his current 68th World Rank gives him the perfect platform to contend this week and grab a World Matchplay spot at Dove Mountain in 2 weeks. His most wins at PGA National (11), TPC Four Seasons (09), Colonial (07) and Riviera (06) tell us everything we need to know about Rory's love of classical tracks and coastal results like 2nd Kapalua (10), 2nd Waialae (06 & 08), 3rd Torrey Pines (08) and 5th El Cameleon (11) simply add fuel to the fire. Comfortable in the wind, Rory finished 2nd here in 2006 and 15th here last year. There is nobody better on Tour at the moment from within 100 yards with a wedge and he also sits 7th in the Total Putting category. I'd just love to see Sabba going down the stretch with his old mate Tiger this week. It would be pure theatre! RESULT: MC
2008 Masters Champion Trevor Immelman loves classical golf courses and regular followers know I rate the South African who grew up on the seaside courses near Cape Town extremely highly. Positive warning signals started to appear for me during a decent season last year which was by far his best since 2008. Trevor's career rehab started to take shape with 12th at Bay Hill, 15th at Augusta, 14th at Old White TPC, 12th at Atlanta Athletic and 21st at CordeValle. Those results only contain classical / technical golf courses! The McGladrey Classic followed CordeValle and Immelman contended down the stretch for the first time since St Jude in 2008 when ultimately finishing 5th to Ben Crane, Webb Simpson and Louis Oosthuizen and that was backed up by a totally uncharacteristic resort course 6th at season closing Disney. Fast forward to 2012 and you'll find Trevor sitting 14th in Birdie Average, 14th in Par Breakers and 34th in Bounce Back categories. His wedge game is on fire and his putting from 10 to 20 feet is excellent right now. 33rd at Torrey Pines and another uncharacteristic 12th on the TPC Scottsdale resort format last week have the alarm bells cranked up to maximum for me. RESULT: MC
PGA Tour 3rd season pro Cameron Tringale offers some superb value at 90/1 this week. Tringale's formative golfing years were on coastal courses around his Mission Viego home just south of Los Angeles so Poa Annua greens are not an issue. His golfing upbringing in line with his Georgia Tech college golf education has led to Cameron being a fantastic classical/technical course player which is perfect for this week. 2011 was Tringale's break-out season after having to pass through Q-School in December 2010 after a poor rookie year. He delivered 5th at TPC San Antonio, 8th at St Jude (both are technical tracks) and proved that classical courses hold no fears with 13th and 4th at Shaughnessy (Poa Annua greens) and Old White TPC respectively. Tringale continued to mature by travelling to Malaysia and finishing 4th at The Mines last autumn and has started 2012 brilliantly with 30th at Palm Springs leading to a fully contending 4th at the classical Torrey Pines a fortnight ago. 2 previous appearances at the AT&T have led to MCs but don't be fooled as Cameron finished 2nd at the Pebble Beach Invitational held in tough conditions last November, a tournament that takes in 36 holes at Pebble and 18 at Spyglass. RESULT: T61
I make no apologies for closing this week with a small hedge bet on Tiger Woods. My sole focus is to pick the winner every week at whatever price. The swing is bedding in beautifully and his last 2 appearances at Thousand Oaks and Abu Dhabi saw the old Tiger focus and swagger returning. Remember he'd never played Abu Dhabi and what really impressed was his great tactical play over the first 54 holes. If Tiger plays as well this week at Pebble Beach the intimidation factor for the rest of the field will be intense. RESULT: T15
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 19:00GMT 7.2.12 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
Our tips, picks and predictions for the 2013 edition of this event will be published here on the Tuesday before the event - bookmark this page and come back soon!