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Steven’s Weekly PGA Primer: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

 

Weekly Primer: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

The goal with my weekly primer is to provide you with a one-stop guide to equip you with all of the information that you need to make your picks and assemble your lineups. From course previews, to history, stats, and pick suggestions, this guide will provide a concrete base as you conduct your own research and submit your winning picks and lineups.

2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Recap

A year ago the final group comprised of two very different golfers, Ted Potter Jr. and Dustin Johnson. Potter had left the game of golf for three years after injury and multiple surgeries, missed over 20 cuts on the Web.com tour, and then found himself standing as the winner of the Pebble Beach Pro Am having outlasted the, at the time, world’s number one golfer. Potter finished at -14 three shots ahead of Dustin Johnson, Chez Reavie, Jason Day, and Phil Mickelson. An incredible feat to be sure, but it would be even more incredible to see a repeat with another stacked field playing this weekend. This is where the tour will revisit for the US Open this year so it is not surprising to see some golfers getting in a tournament before the course becomes tougher and more penal later this year.

Course Preview

Dates: February 7-10

Where: Pebble Beach, California

Course: Pebble Beach Golf Links (host course), Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Monterey Peninsula Country Club

Architect: Jack Neville and Douglas Grant/1986 (Pebble Beach), Robert Trent Jones, Sr./1967 (Spyglass Hill); Rob E. Baldock (Monterey Peninsula); redesign: Mike Strantz/2003

Par/Yards: Pebble Beach Golf Links: Par 72; 6,816 yards

Greens: Poa Annua

Fairways: Perennial Ryegrass

Field: 160 golfers, Top 60 and ties make the cut; 54-hole cut

Defending Champion: Ted Potter Jr.

Purse: $7,600,000 ($1,368,000 to the winner)

FedEx Cup Points: 500 points to the winner

Withdrawals: Patrick Cantlay, Joel Dahmen, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na, Kyle Stanley, Chris Kirk, Peter Uihlein, Charl Shwartzel, Bill Haas, Carlos Ortiz, Michael Hoffman, and Vijay Singh

One of the most iconic golf courses, Pebble Beach golf course is hosting both the AT&T Pro-Am and the US Open this year. Running along the Pacific Ocean and tee boxes atop dramatic cliffs, make for some picturesque views as we all tune in this week. This is not a long course so driving distance is nullified, as everyone will be teeing down. This brings into play some of the shorter hitters and some of the better wedge players. The greens are smaller than average on tour so hitting greens and setting up scoring opportunities are also crucial. If the small greens are missed then short game and around-the-green game become very important as well. Every golfer will get three full rounds and rotate on the three courses for the first three days. There will then be a 54-hole cut and the final round will be played at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

 

Weather Outlook

Weather is going to be huge this week. I am targeting some of the player starting at Monterey and playing the other two courses on Friday and Saturday. Although Spyglass is considered to be a tougher course, Pebble will be playing even more difficult with the bad weather and tough conditions.

 

OWGR: Top 50 Golfers in the Field

 

Key Stats From Past Winners

The stats that stick out from the last three winners of this tournament and that I will be keying on this week are:

  • SG: Around-the-Green
  • SG: Approach
  • Greens-in-Regualtion
  • Bogey Avoidance
  • Par 4 Scoring

A few other important stats that I may factor in are also opportunities gained, Par 5 Scoring, SG: Putting, and Proximity from 100-150 as a majority of the approach shots will be in this range.

Course History Targets

Course history can be extremely insightful when evaluating how a course fits a particular player and if a player has “an eye” for the course itself. Here is a breakdown of some notable players that have performed well and finished inside the Top-30 at this tournament in the past.

 

Recent Performance Targets

Just as important, if not more so, when selecting a roster is recent performance. You will see certain golfers go on a tear and post consecutive high-finishing results. This can translate to good form and a mental advantage as they tee it up the next week. Here is breakdown of some notable players that have been performing well as of recent and have at least one Top-20 in their last five starts.

 

The Approach

Before I even begin making picks I will break down the field into six tiers A-F. When you have fields of 100+ golfers then it can be overwhelming to scroll back-and-forth and up-and-down when making picks. DraftKings has a useful tool where you can export the entire DK roster with salaries to a CSV and open in Excel which I would highly recommend and then break down the picks from there.

When I am assembling my lineups or placing my bets, I will look at just about every stat that I can while also looking at course history and recent performance. There are certain players that just perform well at certain courses. Webb Simpson at the Wyndham, Zach Johnson at the John Deere, Jordan Spieth at the Master’s, Bubba Watson at any course that he has won, etc. You also have to look at how players are performing leading up to the tournament.

Two other factors that I take into account are the OWGR and the betting odds. Vegas always knows something that you don’t, so when I see a golfer in the sub-8k range and see he has the same odds as golfers in the 9-10k range then he is someone that I have to consider.

The Picks

I am not hesitating in rostering the highest salaried player this week in Dustin Johnson. He has course history, recent performance, and stats all going for him which is not surprising since this a recurring theme almost every week. But he is the only player in the Top 10 OWGR playing this week and also rates out 6th in SG: Par 5s, 2nd in opportunities gained, 1st in Proximity from 100-125, and 2nd in Proximity from 125-150 over the last 50 rounds. I’m all in on DJ.

Also Consider: Matt Kuchar—$10,000 (OWGR: 20, 20/1)

From the $9,000 range, I am rolling with Jordan Spieth. His stats do not look stellar which is fully expected considering how he has played over the last year or so. If I get Jordan Spieth under $10k and at a course where length is not crucial and approach and putting are important, then I am going to gamble with Spieth. He is also comfortable here and won here two years ago in tough conditions that will be present this week. His proximity stats are decent but this is more of a gut play and could be a good GPP play if the community is still fading him.

Also Consider: Paul Casey—$9,100 (OWGR: 24, 33/1)

The first player I thought of when I saw the weather conditions for this week paired with the fact that players will be teeing down on the tee was Russell Knox. He is 9th in Proximity from 100-125 yards over the last 50 rounds and has a solid approach game that will suit him well here. When it comes to a player that you need to make it through tough conditions, make the cut, and have great potential to post a Top 20, then this is your guy. He is coming off a Top 10 finish and finished T-15 here last year.

Also Consider: Sungjae Im—$8,400 (OWGR: 82, 45/1)

Andrew Putnam hasn’t had great finishes here with two missed cuts but we have seen repeatedly in this tournament’s history where players have bounced back from a Cut and won or finished Top 10. Putnam’s stats and how he lines up with this course. His accuracy and proximity will supplement his ranking as 9th in SG: Putting over the last 24 rounds.

Also Consider: Lucas Glover—$7,700 (OWGR: 131, 100/1)

Personally one of my favorite golfers for tracks like these is Russell Henley. His approach game has been off a little recently but really picked up last week with a Top-15 finish at the Waste Management Open. Over the last 50 rounds he is 1st in Proximity from 125-150 yards and 17th in Proximity from 100-125 yards. I have no concerns about his accuracy off the tee with less-than-driver and expect him to be setup for plenty of scoring opportunities.

Also Consider: Talor Gooch—$7,200 (OWGR: 152, 110/1)

My final play is Adam Svensson. He has been a pretty good run lately making the cut in his past three starts including a Top 20 at the Desert Classic. His approach game is solid and ranks in the Top 30 in SG: Par5s over the last 24 and 50 rounds as well as Top 35 in opportunities gained over the last 24 and 50 rounds. Anyone you look at Sub-7k you just need to make the cut and score. I think Svensson is a great play for salary relief if you are rostering some of the higher-priced golfers this week.

Also Consider: Johnson Wagner—$6,500 (OWGR: 465); Wyndham Clark—$6,400 (OWGR: 317, 250/1); Jerry Kelly—$6,700 (OWGR: 1262, 250/1)

 

That’s it until next time! Good luck this week and, as always, let me know what other tools or information would be helpful for your weekly picks!

 

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