Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Tips

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Webb Simpson won at 14/1 last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It turned into a head-to-head between Webb and 33/1 shot Tony Finau, who had a 2-shot lead walking onto the 17th tee. 2 straight birdies to close from Simpson in regulation play was impressive stuff, but again Tony showed weakness when it comes to converting a leading position. For the record it was Simpson’s 6th PGA Tour victory. 35/1 chance Bubba Watson covered the week for this column after a strong closing -5/66, which delivered a full each-way place.

We move from the desert of Arizona to the beautiful Carmel Bay on the Pacific Coast for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which is played across 3 courses. Naturally the host course is the star as we saw at last year’s U.S. Open won by Gary Woodland. Tournament regulars Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker are joined by the likes of Patrick Cantlay, Paul Casey, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Branden Grace, Adam Hadwin, Kevin Kisner, Kevin Na and Viktor Hovland to form a pretty strong renewal of the AT&T.

Before we talk through my AT&T Pebble Beach tips, the number of new visitors to Golf Betting System is increasing in the inevitable build-up to The Masters. Welcome to you all and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published Tuesday) and our hugely popular private group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

2020 Majors Competition Sponsored By bet365:

Following on from the success of the last 8 annual GBS Majors competitions, bet365 have kindly offered to sponsor the 2020 edition with a massive £250 CASH prize fund! Our 2020 winner will receive £150 (or currency equivalent) in cash with additional £75 and £25 prizes for 2nd and 3rd place finishers.

Basically we want you to pick a single player for each of the 4 Majors any time before the start of the 2020 Masters and get those 4 names entered into the competition by one of the methods detailed on our rules page here. Best of luck all!

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Course Guide: The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is a full-field event played over 3 different courses to allow such a large field including amateur partners.

The iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links is the host course and all competitors play the track once before the 54-hole cut is made. At this point, the best 25 Pro-Am teams play Sunday with the top 65 professionals also playing the final round.

Spyglass Hill Golf Club and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club host the other 2 rounds of play. All courses are sub-7,000 yards in length, with the Shore Course playing as a rather unique Par 71 with three par-5s on the inward half making for a lopsided 34-37 course split.

The courses are undoubtedly tricky with Pebble Beach invariably playing the hardest of the three, but in effect they only play as tough as the weather conditions dictate with in-form players always able to shoot low scores on the Poa Annua greens.

Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California: Designer: Neville and Grant 1919 with Connor and Palmer 2007; Course Type: Coastal, Classical; Par: 72; Length: 6,816 yards; Holes with Water Hazards: 1; Fairways: Perennial Rye; Rough: Perennial Rye 2″; Greens: 3,500 sq.ft average Poa Annua; Tournament Stimp: 10.5ft; Course Scoring Average 2012: 71.86 (-0.14), Difficulty Rank 24 of 49 courses. 2013: 71.41 (-0.59), Difficulty Rank 29 of 43 courses. 2014: 73.39 (+1.39), Rank 7 of 48 courses. 2015: 70.24 (-1.76), Rank 45 of 52 courses. 2016: 72.50 (+0.5), Rank 16 of 50 courses. 2017: 71.90 (-0.10), Rank 26 of 50 courses. 2018: 72.02 (+0.02), Rank 16 of 51 courses. 2019: 72.13 (+0.13), Rank of 12 of 49 courses.

Spyglass Hill GC: Designer: Trent Jones Senior, 1966; Par: 72; Length: 6,953 yards; Greens: 5,000 sq.ft average Poa Annua; Tournament Stimp: 10ft; Course Scoring Average 2012: 72.58 (+0.58), Difficulty Rank 18 of 49 courses. 2013: 72.64 (+0.64), Difficulty Rank 11 of 43 courses. 2014: 72.76 (+1.76), Rank 11 of 48 courses. 2015: 71.20 (-0.80), Rank 32 of 52 courses. 2016: 72.51 (+0.51), Rank 15 of 50 courses. 2017: 72.20 (+0.20), Rank 20 of 50 courses. 2018: 71.78 (-0.22), Rank 22 of 51 courses. 2019: 71.72 (-0.28), Rank 20 of 49 courses.

Monterey Peninsula CC – Shore Course. Designer: Baldock and Neville, 1959, with Strantz re-design 2003; Par: 71 (2014); Length: 6,958 yards (extended 2017); Greens: 7,000 sq. ft average Poa Annua grass; Stimpmeter: 11.5ft; Course Scoring Average 2012: 69.88 (-0.12), Difficulty Rank 23 of 49 courses. 2013: 70.24 (+0.24), Difficulty Rank 21 of 43 courses. 2014: 71.25 (+0.25), Rank 22 of 48 courses. 2015: 68.94 (-2.06), Rank 50 of 52 courses. 2016: 70.70 (-0.30), Rank 25 of 50 courses. 2017: 71.26 (+0.26), Rank 19 of 50 courses. 2018: 70.06 (-0.94), Rank 38 of 51 courses. 2019: 70.65 (-0.35), Rank 22 of 49 courses.

Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for Pebble Beach and how they compare to recent courses that we’ve seen on Tour:

  • Pebble Beach: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:33; 300:29; 325:30 350:26.
  • TPC Scottsdale: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:30; 300:28; 325:27; 350:27.
  • Torrey Pines South: 250 yards from the tee: 26 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • TPC Stadium: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26; 350:24.
  • Waialae: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:34; 325:37; 350:34.
  • Plantation Course: 250 yards from the tee: 59 yards wide; 275:61; 300:65; 325:60; 350:62.
  • Seaside Course: 250 yards from the tee: 42 yards wide; 275:40; 300:34; 325:31; 350:23.
  • TPC Summerlin: 250 yards from the tee: 35 yards wide; 275:37; 300:33; 325:30; 350:31.
  • Silverado: 250 yards from the tee: 27 yards wide; 275:26; 300:24; 325:25; 350:24.

Course Overview: There’s an undoubted link between Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines South Course. Yes, Pebble may be over 800 yards shorter than Torrey, but the courses share coastal locations and Poa Annua seeded greens. Green complexes also vary in size with the 5,800 sq.ft. average greens at Torrey a fortnight ago replaced by postage stamp-sized 3,500 sq.ft. average greens at Pebble which are the smallest on Tour.

Naturally though, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is played over a 3-course rota with Spyglass Hill GC and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula ably assisting the famous host course, which has hosted 7 Major Championships. Spyglass and Monterey are similar to Pebble in the fact that they have real teeth if the weather is non-compliant. As per coastal golf in general, in tranquil conditions all 3 courses are attackable.

Wide off the tee, where even the most wayward of drivers can hit over 1 in 2 fairways, host course Pebble Beach is a classical, second-shot golf course. The track is fairly unremarkable statistically unless the elements really close in. Fierce 2014-type conditions throughout are unlikely this year, so instead we should see plenty of par breakers – but only for those who are comfortable on the Poa Annua greens.

Key stats are that the green complexes at Pebble are traditionally some of the hardest to putt on from within 10 feet on the Tour. Miss the green and scrambling from distance becomes a real problem (24th, 9th and 2nd hardest over the past 3 renewals for Scrambling outside of 30 yards), as does making par from Pebble’s notorious bunkers.

All as ever depends on the elements this week with regards target scoring, but the nature of this being a Pro-Am dictates that this only becomes a stiff test when conditions are dour.

pebble beach tips

Winners: 2019: Phil Mickelson (-19); 2018: Ted Potter Jnr (-17); 2017: Jordan Spieth (-19); 2016: Vaughn Taylor (-17); 2015: Brandt Snedeker (-22); 2014: Jimmy Walker (-11); 2013: Brandt Snedeker (-19); 2012: Phil Mickelson (-17); 2011: D.A. Points (-15); 2010: Dustin Johnson (-16).

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats.

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here. You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson, Tom Hoge, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Russell Knox, Daniel Berger, Matt Kuchar and Kevin Na.

Recent Player Skill Rankings: These rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Mayakoba Golf Classic and Nedbank Challenge, which includes PGA Tour, European Tour (where recorded) and the Dunlop Phoenix (Japan Golf Tour) events. Players must have played in a minimum of 2 Tour events to be included and rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Driving Accuracy: 1) Patrick Cantlay; 2) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 3) Adam Hadwin; 4) K.H. Lee; 5) Paul Casey / Nick Taylor; 7) Ben Crane / Chez Reavie; 9) Greg Chalmers; 10) Brian Stuard; 12) K.J. Choi / Matt Kuchar; 13) Scott Brown / Steve Stricker; 15) Joel Dahmen; 16) Tyler Duncan / Viktor Hovland; 18) Scott Piercy; 19) Adam Long / D.J. Trahan.
  • Greens in Regulation: 1) Patrick Cantlay / Paul Casey; 3) Cameron Champ; 4) Max Homa; 5) Chez Reavie / Harold Varner III; 7) Adam Long / D.J. Trahan; 9) Matthew Fitzpatrick / Russell Knox; 11) Matthew NeSmith; 12) Branden Grace; 13) Nick Watney; 14) Kevin Na; 15) J.B. Holmes; 16) Sung Kang; 17) J.J. Spaun / Nick Taylor / Aaron Wise; 20) Kurt Kitayama.
  • Scrambling: 1) Maverick McNealy; 2) Kiradech Aphibarnrat / Paul Casey; 4) Daniel Berger; 5) Tom Hoge; 6) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 7) Alex Noren; 8) Jason Dufner; 9) Pat Perez; 10) Kurt Kitayama; 11) Graeme McDowell / Brian Stuard; 13) Brandt Snedeker; 14) Branden Grace; 15) Rafa Cabrera Bello; 16) Russell Knox / K.H. Lee; 18) Ricky Barnes; 19) Patrick Cantlay / Scott Piercy.
  • Putting Average (Putts per GIR): 1) J.B. Holmes; 2) Richy Werenski; 3) Graeme McDowell; 4) Patrick Cantlay; 5) Brian Gay / Vaughn Taylor; 7) Kurt Kitayama; 8) Branden Grace; 9) Lanto Griffin / Padraig Harrington / Harry Higgs / Henrik Norlander; 13) Dominic Bozzelli / Max Homa; 15) Matthew Fitzpatrick / Adam Long; 17) Rafa Cabrera Bello / Nate Lashley; 19) Steve Stricker; 20) Paul Casey / Viktor Hovland.

Recent Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 20 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Mayakoba Golf Classic and Nedbank Challenge, which includes both PGA and European Tour events where recorded. Players must have played in a minimum of 2 Tour events to be included and rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 20 SG Off The Tee: 1) Cameron Champ; 2) Paul Casey / Viktor Hovland; 4) Max Homa; 5) Patrick Cantlay; 6) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 7) J.B. Holmes; 8) Harry Higgs; 9) Cameron Davis; 10) Adam Hadwin / Tyler McCumber; 12) Branden Grace / Sung Kang; 14) Daniel Berger; 15) D.J. Trahan; 16) Scott Harrington; 17) Chris Kirk; 18) Keith Mitchell; 19) Andrew Landry; 20) Joel Dahmen.
  • Top 20 SG Approach: 1) Branden Grace; 2) Russell Knox; 3) Paul Casey; 4) Kurt Kitayama; 5) Tom Hoge; 6) Alex Noren; 7) Kevin Na; 8) Nick Watney; 9) Kiradech Aphibarnrat / Luke Donald; 11) Jimmy Walker; 12) Matthew NeSmith / Brandt Snedeker; 14) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 15) Daniel Berger; 16) Patrick Cantlay; 17) Graeme McDowell / Sung Kang; 19) Charley Hoffman; 20) Joseph Bramlett.
  • Top 20 SG Around The Green: 1) Alex Noren; 2) Graeme McDowell / Rob Oppenheim; 4) Kramer Hickok; 5) Si Woo Kim; 6) Bill Haas; 7) Luke Donald / Peter Uihlein; 9) Kevin Streelman; 10) K.J. Choi / Padraig Harrington; 12) Aaron Baddeley / Nate Lashley; 14) Jordan Spieth; 15) Tim Wilkinson; 16) Mackenzie Hughes / Brandt Snedeker; 18) Rafa Cabrera Bello / Rhein Gibson / Michael Thompson.
  • Top 20 SG Tee to Green: 1) Alex Noren; 2) Branden Grace; 3) Paul Casey; 4) Russell Knox; 5) Patrick Cantlay; 6) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 7) Daniel Berger / Tyler McCumber; 9) Cameron Champ; 10) Sung Kang; 11) Tom Hoge / Maverick McNealy; 13) Graeme McDowell; 14) J.B. Holmes; 15) D.J. Trahan / Nick Watney; 17) Brandt Snedeker; 18) Max Homa / Kurt Kitayama / Matt Kuchar.
  • Top 20 SG Putting: 1) Graeme McDowell; 2) J.B. Holmes; 3) Cameron Champ; 4) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 5) Branden Grace; 6) Patrick Cantlay / Kurt Kitayama / Kevin Na / Patrick Rodgers; 10) Tom Hoge / Matthew NeSmith; 12) Mark Anderson; 13) Sebastian Cappelen / Brandt Snedeker / Steve Stricker; 16) Rhein Gibson; 17) Beau Hossler; 18) Ricky Barnes; 19) David Hearn; 20) Rafa Cabrera Bello.
  • Top 20 SG Total: 1) Branden Grace; 2) Patrick Cantlay / Matthew Fitzpatrick; 4) Cameron Champ / Graeme McDowell; 6) J.B. Holmes; 7) Daniel Berger / Paul Casey / Russell Knox / Alex Noren; 11) Tom Hoge; 12) Kurt Kitayama; 13) Matthew NeSmith; 14) Kevin Na; 15) Brandt Snedeker; 16) Tim Wilkinson; 17) Viktor Hovland / Sung Kang; 19) Matt Kuchar; 20) Mark Anderson / Rafa Cabrera Bello / David Hearn.

Winners & Prices: 2019: Mickelson 25/1; 2018: Potter Jnr 500/1; 2017: Spieth 9/1; 2016: Taylor 300/1; 2015: Snedeker 25/1; 2014: Walker 28/1; 2013: Snedeker 14/1; 2012: Mickelson 25/1; 2011: Points 80/1; 2010: Johnson 22/1. Past 6 Renewals Average: 148/1. Overall Average: 103/1.

Historical Weather:

  • 2019: Thursday: Mostly sunny. High of 54. Wind SW 8-12 mph. Friday: Mostly cloudy with afternoon showers. High of 54. Wind SSE 10-15 mph, with gusts to 20 mph. Play was suspended for the day at 2:11 p.m. PT due to heavy rain. Saturday: Mostly sunny in the morning with heavy afternoon showers. High of 48. Wind SSW 15-20 mph, with gusts to 25 mph. Sunday: Due to wet conditions, the start of the final round was delayed for one hour. Rain and hail forced a suspension of play from 10:53 a.m.-1 p.m. Play was suspended due to darkness at 5:55 p.m., with two players left on the course. Mostly cloudy. High of 54. Wind NW 15-20 mph, with gusts to 27 mph. Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 54. Wind W 5-10 mph.
  • 2018: Thursday: Sunny. High of 70. Wind WNW 5-10 mph. Friday: Sunny. High of 74. Wind WNW 8-16 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 65. Wind NNW 12-22 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 64. Wind WNW 15-25 mph.
  • 2017: Thursday: Mostly cloudy in the morning with moderate to heavy rainfall in the afternoon. Wind S 10-15 mph with gusts to 35 mph. Due to unplayable conditions, play was suspended at 1:34 PST. Play was later called for the day with a resumption time Friday: Due to further rainfall and unplayable conditions Friday morning, the first round did not resume until 8:30 a.m. PST and was completed at 10:46 a.m. Rainy with a high of 60. Wind WSW 5-10 mph. The second round was suspended for the day due to fog at 4:21 p.m. Saturday: The second round resumed at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and was completed at 10:14 a.m. Third-round tee times began at 10 a.m. Partly cloudy with a high of 59. Wind NNW 10-15 mph. Sunday: Sunny with a high of 61. Wind NW 5-10 mph.
  • 2016: Thursday: Sunny, and warm with a high of 75 degrees. Wind W 5-10 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 64 degrees. Wind NW 7-12 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a high of 63 degrees. Wind WNW 10-15 mph, gusting to 20 mph. Due to fog, the start of round three was delayed 30 minutes. Sunday: Mostly sunny. High of 69. Wind NW 10-15 mph, gusting to 20 mph

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Pebble Beach, California is here. Conditions for the 2020 renewal of the AT&T Pebble Beach look very northern European in their nature. With temperatures reaching a maximum of 14 to 15 degrees Celsius across all 4 days, plenty in the field will find this pretty cold. However calm conditions across Thursday, Friday and Saturday should see some pretty low scoring.

Sunday looks more of a challenge with moderate winds to start, building throughout the final round, potentially to 25-35 mph. Turf conditions should be firmer than 12 months ago on the fairways, with greens speeds kept receptive enough for the tournaments Pro-Am nature.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of the 10 winners of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am since 2010 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this classical test:

  • 2019,  Phil Mickelson (-19). 276 yards (25th), 60.0% fairways (48th), 79.2% greens in regulation (8th), 29’6″ proximity to hole (6th), 53.3 % scrambling (51st), 1.65 putts per GIR (2nd).
  • 2018, Ted Potter Jnr (-17). 283 yards (67th), 76.4% fairways (19th), 73.6% greens in regulation (9th), 26’1″ proximity to hole (2nd), 68.4 % scrambling (19th), 1.64 putts per GIR (4th).
  • 2017, Jordan Spieth (-19). 284 yards (26th), 78.2% fairways (14th), 79.2% greens in regulation (3rd), 27’11” proximity to hole (10th), 73.3 % scrambling (8th), 1.67 putts per GIR (2nd).
  • 2016, Vaughn Taylor (-17). 289 yards (40th), 69.1% fairways (38th), 75.0% greens in regulation (2nd), 25’3″ proximity to hole (3rd), 55.6 % scrambling (60th), 1.56 putts per GIR (3rd).
  • 2015, Brandt Snedeker (-22). 284 yards (48th), 70.9% fairways (38th), 81.9% greens in regulation (3rd), 27’11” proximity to hole (24th), 92.3 % scrambling (1st), 1.68 putts per GIR (16th).
  • 2014, Jimmy Walker (-11). 282 yards (22nd), 56.4% fairways (59th), 70.8% greens in regulation (6th), 35’6″ proximity to hole (26th), 81.0 % scrambling (2nd), 1.75 putts per GIR (14th).
  • 2013, Brandt Snedeker (-19). 277 yards (41st), 78.2% fairways (14th), 77.8% greens in regulation (6th), 27’10” proximity to hole (19th), 75.0% scrambling (6th), 1.64 putts per GIR (6th).
  • 2012, Phil Mickelson (-17). 273 yards (58th), 61.8% fairways (62nd), 75.0% greens in regulation (5th), 29’1″ proximity to hole (11th), 77.8% scrambling (2nd), 1.67 putts per GIR (10th).
  • 2011, D.A. Points (-15). 286 yards (40th), 80.4% fairways (9th), 69.4% greens in regulation (19th), 30’11” proximity to hole (15th), 50.0% scrambling (47th), 1.60 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2010, Dustin Johnson (-16). 303 yards (1st), 75.0% fairways (15th), 80.6% greens in regulation (3rd), N/A proximity to hole, 35.7% scrambling (64th), 1.65 putts per GIR (7th).

Tournament Skill Averages:

Driving Distance: 37th, Driving Accuracy: 32nd, Greens in Regulation: 6th, Proximity to Hole: 13th, Scrambling: 26th, Putting Average 7th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Trends:

  • 2019, Phil Mickelson (-19). SG Off the Tee: 26th, SG Approach: 1st, SG Around the Green: 30th, SG Tee to Green: 2nd, SG Putting: 20th.
  • 2018, Ted Potter Jnr (-17). SG Off the Tee: 15th, SG Approach: 19th, SG Around the Green: 25th, SG Tee to Green: 7th, SG Putting: 24th.
  • 2017, Jordan Spieth (-19). SG Off the Tee: 45th, SG Approach: 12th, SG Around the Green: 33rd, SG Tee to Green: 22nd, SG Putting: 4th.
  • 2016, Vaughn Taylor (-17). SG Off the Tee: 40th, SG Approach: 1st, SG Around the Green: 30th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 52nd.

Strokes Gained Tournament Skill Averages:

  • SG Off the Tee: 32nd, SG Approach: 8th, SG Around the Green: 30th, SG Tee to Green: 8th, SG Putting: 25th.

So let’s take a view from players as to how the 3 courses and tournament format affects play:

Phil Mickelson [on Monterey]: “But the great thing about Monterey Peninsula Country Club is that the fronts of the greens are open and you can run shots up on a number of holes and that makes it –  and the fairways are very generous, which makes it more playable if you were to get some bad weather. So even though the course is exposed, the guys that get to play here in the tough conditions do have a chance to still score.

Phil Mickelson [on Pebble]: “Yeah, I actually thought it was a successful round. It was difficult out there, especially around the turn there, 9, 10 — 8, 9, 10, and that was really the only point where I had a couple of bogeys and it was very difficult, but I was able to come back with a few birdies when it cleared up. And I thought anything in the 60s was going to be a heck of a round, and I was one shy. I just enjoy it here and I think the challenging conditions oftentimes comes into play. I think the grass and the little half shots to get back to some of these pins, a lot of guys struggle with and it’s been a strength of my game, so I’ve been able to make a few more birdies on some of these holes.”

Ted Potter Jnr [on Pebble]: “I was just trying to take one shot at a time, pick a small target on the fairway, pick a small target on the middle of the green. I knew I had a couple shot lead going into the back nine, so I knew that they were going to have to make some birdies and the back nine’s tough, especially with the wind how it is right now. So I just wanted to give myself plenty of opportunities coming in. I just tried not to attack the pins, but give myself good 20-footers to have a chance to make birdie.

Jordan Spieth [on Pebble]: “Yeah, on this type of poa annua, it’s still going to be very soft and spinny. Even on this course I was hitting low 9-irons or 8-irons and they were coming backwards a few feet. Normally those skip five yards forward. So it’s very difficult to throw the ball with a lot of extra club and hit it low and land it back by the pin. It’s difficult to do because we almost never have to do it. So, very rarely do we actually practice it or can trust it in a tournament setting. Holes like number 4 today, when you’ve got to hit an 85 yard shot and you got to hit a gap wedge and fly it 85 when it’s normally just a perfect number for a 63 degree, it’s just an abnormal thing for us to do and to get our brains wrapped around. That’s going to stay that way. The course isn’t going to change much tomorrow, in my opinion. It’s just not getting hot enough, it’s still too early. But, yeah, so it will be kind of dart throwing contest again and who can make the putts. And Sneds has won here I think twice and I think we’re playing with him. He’s going to be somebody who can very easily, I mean, I say very easily, but he’s somebody who can go out there and shoot 7-, 8-under tomorrow. So, I’ve got to set a goal and stay real patient, try not to make many mistakes, hit a lot of greens in regulation.

Justin Rose [on Spyglass]: “That was actually my first look at Spyglass. I came out here the other day and went around a couple of holes checking it out, but I picked the wrong one not to play, because it’s a pretty tough course. There’s some strong holes on it. And I heard some strange reports about Spyglass, like the first few holes are great then it disappears into the hills and it’s not that good. That’s not what I saw. That’s a pretty stellar golf course to me and really enjoyed playing it. All the courses in the rotation have impressed me this year.

Justin Rose [on Monterrey Peninsula]: “The greens aren’t as good here. They’re bouncing a little bit, but they’re also really quick. So kind of quick and bouncy. My last hole of the day I had a beautiful 6-iron in to about seven feet and had maybe a 6, 8 inch break in it. I knew I was trying to lag it and I missed low and suddenly had four feet coming back up the hill. So there was some very awkward putts out there today. But the putts are makeable, but also if you’re not seeing them go in early, it’s the one course that maybe gets in your head a little bit. But the greens at Spyglass and Pebble are a little firmer and they’re rolling really well. I think I need to learn Pebble a bit more, a bit better. This is the course that probably gave me more trouble than the other two. That’s why it’s a U.S. Open venue, because it’s got some subtleties to it. But I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed the whole week, the courses are in great shape the weather was perfect.

Brandt Snedeker: “I love the greens here, I love the golf courses, the greens are poa annua, which I’m a big fan of. And I love the format. I have played the last four years with a good friend. To come out here and play these golf courses, this year, you’re not going to get a better conditioned golf course, perfect weather, everything has been ideal and there’s not a better place to be in the country right now than right here and this tournament. So I have a lot of fun when I come out here and it’s a fun feeling when you’re playing good out on the West Coast.

Jordan Spieth: “I enjoy the pro am part of it. Even though it’s a long round, we get good food, it’s a nice change of pace, good food, you’re kind of laughing down the fairways. It’s like you’re playing around on the weekend. Some guys don’t like the pace of play or a lot of guys just don’t like poa annua greens, guys that grew up on Bermuda grew up in the south or even guys that grew up in the northeast are used to primarily bent grass or Bermuda grass and they, three different golf courses all with poa annua that maybe they think putt a little different. It’s just a tough adjustment when you get in Monday night or something to try and get to know the places that week really quickly. Whether it’s that, whether it’s the changing around a few golf courses or it’s the slow rounds, not sure. I certainly really like this golf course and a lot of the legends of the game have liked these courses.

Jimmy Walker: “I don’t mind the format. The format’s great. I’ve enjoyed all my partners I’ve ever had here. I think everybody that’s here is a good person. I’ve had some good players. We have done well in the past team wise, too. So, you know the rounds are going to be a little longer. But there’s no better place to hang out on a golf course for five and a half, six hours if the weather’s good it’s really nice. If it’s bad it’s a little dicey, but I think it’s a cool format. I enjoy playing golf with friends at home and I’ve made some pretty good friends out here doing the pro am stuff. You just got to get over the fact that it’s going to take awhile. A lot of guys don’t like it.

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the last 10 AT&T Pebble Beach winners:

  • 2019 – Phil Mickelson: Round 1: 3rd, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2018 – Ted Potter Jnr: Round 1: 24th, Round 2: 35th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2017 – Jordan Spieth: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2016 – Vaughn Taylor: Round 1: 48th, Round 2: 18th, Round 3: 8th.
  • 2015 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2014 – Jimmy Walker: Round 1: 6th, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2013 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 5th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2012 – Phil Mickelson: Round 1: 59th, Round 2: 4th, Round 3: 4th.
  • 2011 – D.A. Points: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 4th.
  • 2010 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: 1st, Round 2 1st, Round 3: 1st.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the last 10 winners AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am winners and where they were positioned in terms of shots from the lead during the tournament:

  • 2019 – Phil Mickelson: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: Level, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2018 – Ted Potter Jnr: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 8 back, Round 3: Level.
  • 2017 – Jordan Spieth: Round 1: Level, Round 2: Level, Round 3: 6 ahead.
  • 2016 – Vaughn Taylor: Round 1: 7 back, Round 2: 6 back, Round 3: 6 back.
  • 2015 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: Level, Round 2: Level, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2014 – Jimmy Walker: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 6 ahead.
  • 2013 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: Level, Round 3: Level.
  • 2012 – Phil Mickelson: Round 1: 9 back, Round 2: 5 back, Round 3: 6 back.
  • 2011 – D.A. Points: Round 1: 1 ahead, Round 2: 2 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2010 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: Level, Round 2: Level, Round 3: Level.

Form of winners since 2010:

  • Phil Mickelson: MC TPC Scottsdale/2nd PGA West/17th Silverado/30th Tour Champ.
  • Ted Potter Jnr: 73rd Torrey/MC PGA West/MC Waialae/13th RSM Classic.
  • Jordan Spieth: 9th TPC Scottsdale/3rd Waialae/3rd Kapalua/3rd World Challenge.
  • Vaughn Taylor: MC Columbia/MC Sea Island/20th Sanderson/24th TC.
  • Brandt Snedeker: 19th Torrey/10th TPC Scottsdale/MC PGA West/10th HSBC.
  • Jimmy Walker: MC Torrey/1st Waialae/21st Kapalua/46th HSBC.
  • Brandt Snedeker: 2nd TPC Scottsdale/2nd Torrey/23rd PGA West/3rd Kapalua.
  • Phil Mickelson: 26th TPC Scottsdale/MC Torrey/49th PGA West.
  • D.A. Points: 22nd TPC Scottsdale/8th Torrey/42nd PGA West.
  • Dustin Johnson: 3rd Riviera/MC Torrey/16th Waialae/16th Kapalua.

As a 3 course Pro-Am, it’s well worth looking at the course rotation to see if there’s any draw bias. Since Monterey Peninsula was added to the tournament course rota for the 2013 renewal, traditionally it has played by far the easiest course – 4 par 5s on a par-71 format clearly helps. In calm conditions across both 2013 and 2015, Snedeker took advantage of Monterey in Round 1 to set up his challenge. Spieth on the other hand in 2017 played Monterey when the weather was at its worst on the Thursday, although the full round was never completed. 2019 saw Phil Mickelson shoot a -6/65 in calm conditions to establish himself at the head of affairs on Thursday.

However in breezy conditions, both Pebble Beach and Spyglass become far more of a challenge – Walker avoided both of them when bad conditions hit on the Saturday back in 2014, with both Taylor, in 2016, and Potter Jnr last year, playing Monterey on Saturday when wind conditions were gusting 20 mph.

As far as any bias goes, 4 of the past 7 winners have started on Monterey with the other 3 starting on the host course. The Monterey first situation needs to be stacked-up with the fact that many of the elite players play the Monterey-Spyglass-Pebble Beach course rota for TV broadcast purposes. Make of all of this what you will:

  • 2019: Mickelson: Monterey 65, Spyglass 68, Pebble 70.
  • 2018: Potter Jnr: Pebble 68, Spyglass 71, Monterey 62.
  • 2017: Spieth: Monterey 68, Spyglass 65, Pebble 65.
  • 2016: Taylor: Pebble 70, Spyglass 68, Monterey 67.
  • 2015: Snedeker: Monterey 64, Spyglass 67, Pebble 67.
  • 2014: Walker: Pebble 66, Spyglass 69, Monterey 67
  • 2013: Snedeker: Monterey 66, Spyglass 68, Pebble 68.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Poa Annua and Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 10 – Dustin Johnson.
  • 5 – Phil Mickelson.
  • 4 – Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker.
  • 3 – Jimmy Walker.
  • 2 – Hunter Mahan, Scott Piercy, Jordan Spieth, Nick Watney.
  • 1 – Aaron Baddeley, Patrick Cantlay, Greg Chalmers, Cameron Champ, Ben Crane, Jason Dufner, Bill Haas, James Hahn, Padraig Harrington, J.B. Holmes, Russell Knox, Matt Kuchar, Nate Lashley, Graeme McDowell, John Merrick, Sean O’Hair, Ted Potter Jnr, D.A. Points, Andrew Putnam, Scott Stallings, Steve Stricker, Chris Stroud, Vaughn Taylor, Bo Van Pelt.

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is always a memorable tournament, although the coverage can be extremely painful to watch. Recent winners include Tiger Woods, Davis Love III (x2), Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson (x4), Dustin Johnson (x2), Jimmy Walker, Brandt Snedeker (x2) and Jordan Spieth with Matt Gogel, Aaron Oberholser, Steve Lowery, D.A. Points, Vaughn Taylor and Ted Potter Jnr thrown in for good measure.

My take on the tournament is that a number of elite players always seem to contend – as you’d expect – and in most cases quality vanquishes the lesser opposition, but in the case of Lowery, Points, Taylor and Potter Jnr, they defeated Vijay Singh, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson respectively to capture their career biggest tournament titles.

Experience at Pebble Beach is another key factor. Dustin Johnson’s win here in 2009 came on only his second appearance at the tournament, but his liking for the format was already plain to see as he’d finished 7th on debut the previous year. Johnson went on to defend his title in 2010 and since then players with 4, 16, 6, 6, 7, 8, 4, 3 and 21 previous appearances have triumphed.

The specialist nature of golf here can be seen in the fact that every winner here since Aaron Oberholser (2006) had delivered a top 21 finish at Pebble prior to their victory. That link continued again with 25/1 shot Phil Mickelson 12 months ago, who had the mere matter of 4 wins and a further 6 top-10 finishes at the AT&T prior to capturing his 44th PGA Tour title. The close association with Torrey Pines can’t be overlooked either or the liking for the West Coast swing in general.

Taking that last statement a step further, going back to Dustin Johnson the 2009 and 2010 champion, he’d already finished 10th at Waialae, 12th at PGA West and 7th at Pebble Beach in his rookie season of 2008 before triumphing here in consecutive years. The 2010 victory came off a 3rd at Riviera.

D.A. Points had a liking for Torrey Pines with 2 top-9 finishes and an 8th in San Diego prior to winning this. Phil Mickelson in 2012 had won 17 times on the West Coast including 3 Pebble National titles. Brandt Snedeker had won at Torrey Pines and had a number of high West Coast finishes across Kapalua, PGA West, TPC Scottsdale and a top 10 in the U.S. Open here, whilst Jordan Spieth had won at Kapalua and had finished 4th and 7th here prior to his 2017 victory.

Even Vaughn Taylor had captured both of his 2 PGA Tour titles at Montreux in Nevada and had a strong profile of finishes across Kapalua, PGA West, TPC Scottsdale and a top 10 here at Pebble Beach, although anyone picking him out to win this at 300/1 hopefully bought a lottery ticket the same week! Ted Potter Jnr takes this to even more extremes, but look at his history and there are some West Coast positive results hidden away. 13th at Waialae (2012), 16th at Pebble Beach and 10th at Riviera (both in 2013).

My Final Pebble Beach Tips Are As Follows:

Brandt Snedeker 2.5pts EW 22/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfair

Brandt Snedeker was in my Pebble Beach squad as long as 2 weeks ago, when he finished 3rd at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Simplifying golf betting often delivers rewards as we saw with Webb Simpson last week who prior to winning at TPC Scottsdale had finished 8th, 8th, 10th, 14th and 2nd on the Arizona track, so it was no great stretch to see Simpson win at 14/1.

With Brandt, 14 appearances at Pebble Beach have seen the Tennessee World Number 43 finish 8th (2010 U.S. Open), 1st (2013), 1st (2015), 4th (2017) and 20th (2018). Indeed Pebble has been a bit of a cash cow as Snedeker has earned $3.13 million here in prize money. And yes I’m sure you’re bored reading about the close association between Pebble and Torrey Pines, but actually it’s true, with the Poa Annua greens being a consistent factor across both tournaments. Sneds has finished 3rd (2007), 9th (2008 U.S. Open), 2nd (2010), 9th (2011), 1st (2012), 2nd (2013), 1st (2016), 9th (2017) and 3rd 2 weeks ago. That’s $4.59 million in prize money at the classical Major Championship venue.

Winless in 2019, Brandt finished 5th at The Players Championship, 4th at the RBC Canadian Open played on Poa Annua greens at Hamilton, 5th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, 6th at The Northern Trust and 5th at the BMW Championship. He’s an old-style, classical golf course fan who’s won 9 times on the PGA Tour, so he brings definite win collateral to the California table this week. 2020 form of 12-3-MC is encouraging and in this field he sits 12th-Approach, 16th-Around the Green, 17th-Tee to Green, 14th-Putting and 15th-Total across my 8-week Strokes Gained trackers. Top of this week’s Predictor Model with only Dustin Johnson close in terms of points total, I think Snedeker will see this week as a huge opportunity. Result: MC

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Tom Hoge 1pt EW 66/1 (7EW, 1/5) with Betway

Of the Tour maidens on show this week, I’m drawn in terms of current West Coast Swing form to Tom Hoge and I would not be surprised if he were to join the select group of the likes of Aaron Oberholser and D.A. Points to pick up there maiden Tour victory at Pebble Beach.

Yes the big 200/1+ prices are long gone, but that’s hardly surprising with form that reads 12-6-5-25 across Waialae, PGA West, Torrey Pines and TPC Scottsdale. 66/1 is just about ok for me to back the 30 year-old Texas native, who reminds me of Chez Reavie 2 years ago. Chez arrived off the back of 18th (Sony Open) and 2nd (Phoenix Open) and ended up finishing T2 here at Pebble, tied with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson at a 60/1 each-way price.

With Hoge we get a player who’s both in an exceptional vein of form and who can clearly play well enough on Poa Annua greens, plus perform by the coast. 9th at Sea Island in 2015, 10th at Trump International in 2017, 3rd at Waialae in 2018 and 5th 2 weeks ago at Torrey Pines, highlights a player who plays well with the smell of salt air in his nostrils. His performance at the Farmers Insurance Open, where he outscored Tiger Woods when paired with him in the final Sunday round, highlights a player who gets on ok with Poa Annua putting surfaces. That’s also backed up by his record at Montreux Country Club where in the Barracuda Championship he’s finished 10th (2015), 4th (2017) and 6th (2019) on the Poa Annua greens there which are a mix with Bentgrass.

The cathedral of ball-striking which is TPC Scottsdale for me isn’t ideal for Hoge, who I prefer on a classical and shorter layout, and I think the 3 course-rota this week should be right up his street. He has course experience having played here 5 times, garnering 2 pay cheques for 41st ( 2016) and 39th (2017). But this is a different Tom Hoge who’s by far the biggest price in this week’s Predictor Model top 10 and who sits 5th for SG on Approach, 11th for SG Tee to Green, SG Putting and SG Total in my 8-week tracker. Result: T60

Kevin Na 1pt EW 70/1 (7EW, 1/5) with Betfred

Kevin Na at 70/1 sits outside the top 20 in the betting market, but is the sixth highest World Ranked player in this week’s field. With 3 PGA Tour wins in the past 18 months, he also comes with plenty of win equity and those wins have come at 45/1 (2018 Greenbrier), 70/1 (2019 Charles Schwab) and 70/1 (2019 Shriners Open) respectively.

Na tends to comes alive on short courses where scoring is possible and the 3 sub-7,000 yards courses this week are undoubtedly right up his street. 5th (2012), 22nd (2013), 4th (2014) and 20th (2018) since 2012 here at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am are more than respectable and form this season has been pretty consistent. 14th at Old White TPC when defending, 1st at TPC Summerlin, 20th at the CJ Cup and 17th at The American Express are decent recent outings and there were definitely signs at PGA West that his game was on-point as he shot 2 rounds of -5/67 and ranked 1st for SG on Approach and 15th for SG Tee to Green.

A missed cut at TPC Scottsdale just added a few digits to his price in my opinion and when you look at the mentality of players it’s fascinating to see that Kevin has won his 4 titles off incoming results of MC, 64, MC, MC.

California is a state where Kevin has traditionally performed. His single win on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2006 came at the Empire Lakes Golf Course. 8th (2010), 5th (2011) and 3rd (2016) have come at PGA West, but his results at Riviera Country Club are fascinating. An old-style, classical, layout which features Poa Annua / Bentgrass mix greens, the 36 year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada has finished 10th (2010), 3rd (2011), 3rd (2017) and 2nd (2018).

3rd (2015) at CordeValle plus 2nd (2015) and 7th (2016) at Silverado stamps the fact that Na gets on well with short old, style courses in the Golden State and that he putts well on Poa Annua surfaces. Season to date he has a nice statistical mix of 32nd for Bogey Avoidance, 6th for Scrambling from the Rough, 5th for Strokes Gained Putting and tellingly 15th for Putts made from outside of 25 feet. Fuel to the fire is also provided by my 8-week trackers where he sits 14th for Greens in Regulation, 7th for SG on Approach, 7th for SG Putting and 14th for SG Total. Result: T14

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Ted Potter Jnr 1pt EW 250/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Boylesports

Finally I will have a dabble on 2018 Pebble Beach Pro-Am victor Ted Potter Jnr who has been showing glimpses of a little form recently.

The 2-time PGA Tour winner is a cult figure in professional golfing circles. A 12-time winner on the Hooters Tour and 2-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour, Ted is most famous for his win here 24 months ago where he stared down World Number 1 (at the time) and Pebble Beach hot-shot Dustin Johnson on Sunday. Whilst Johnson in a last group twosome with ‘TPJ’ shot a final round 72, Potter played the best golf of his career with a 69 on a firm golf course to take the title by 3 shots.

7th at the Sony Open at the start of January was Ted’s first top 10 on the PGA Tour since the Rocket Mortgage Classic last July and he backed that up with 37th at The American Express the week after. 10th for SG Approach and 11th for SG Putting in Hawaii, his decent showing at PGA West came courtesy of a great week with the irons (14th SG on Approach) and from Tee to Green (18th for SG Tee to Green).

Ted undoubtedly plays his best golf by the coast and at the AT&T Pebble Beach the likes of Johnny Miller (x3), Mark O’Meara (x5), Davis Love III (x2), Phil Mickelson (x4), Dustin Johnson (x2) and Brandt Snedeker (x2) have all won this title multiple times. It’s a big if I grant you, but if Potter Jnr was to get in contention this week at a huge price, you just never know what might happen. Result: MC

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 18:00GMT 3.2.20 but naturally subject to fluctuation.