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BlogAT&T Pebble Preview and Picks

AT&T Pebble Beach

February 12 – 15, 2015

Pebble Beach G.L.

Pebble Beach, Ca.

Par: 72 / Yardage: 6,816

Purse: $6.8 million

with $1,224,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jimmy Walker

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 14 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with three players #4 Jason Day, #6 Jim Furyk and #9 Jordan Spieth from the top-ten. The other top 50 players are #13 Jimmy Walker, #15 Patrick Reed, #17 Billy Horschel, #22 Chris Kirk, #23 Dustin Johnson, #26 Hunter Mahan, #28 Kevin Na, #29 Ryan Palmer, #32 Ian Poulter, #40 Shane Lowry and #49 J.B. Holmes.

Last year there were 13 top-50 players in the field.

The field includes 6 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2014.  Those players are #1 Jimmy Walker, #7 Jason Day, #9 Patrick Reed, #17 Kevin Streelman, #21 Steven Bowditch and #25 Nick Taylor.

The field includes 7 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list.  Those players are #1 Jimmy Walker, #7 Jason Day, #11 Patrick Reed, #17 Kevin Streelman, #21 Nick Taylor, #24 Steven Bowditch and #25 Ryan Palmer.

The field includes 6 past champions: Jimmy Walker (2014), Brandt Snedeker (2013), D.A. Points (2011), Dustin Johnson (2010 & ’09), Vijay Singh (2004) and Davis Love III (2003 & ’01).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

**NOTE**

We have made a lot of changes in Golfstats and one of the biggest is that every on-going event gets updated every hour.  It’s not real time scoring, but after each day you will see our database change.  This will help look at things like good scores in a row and how each player does after every round.

Another change is our new feature, “Who will win on Sunday”.  Just like our previews, this will not only preview the final round but also look at players who shoud win.  All of these will enhance GOLFstats and encourage you to check our stuff over the weekend and during play.

Another thing to look for in the next couple of weeks is 24/7 Golf.  This is a new app that you can get with your Iphone so that you can take a lot of GOLFstats which you when your away from your computer.

So join us a couple of hours after play on Saturday night or Sunday morning for our “Who will win on Sunday” feature in which you can see who shall win during the final nine.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the AT&T Pebble Beach

Player Farmers Insurance Malaysian Open Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Humana Qatar Masters Sony Open Abu Dhabi Hyundai T of Champions South African Nedbank Challenge
Jason Day
(214 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP
Jimmy Walker
(209.67 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP
Ryan Palmer
(162 pts)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Patrick Reed
(124 pts)
DNP DNP T40
(10)
DNP T24
(26)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP
J.B. Holmes
(104.67 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP T66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 33
(11.33)
DNP DNP
Sung Joon Park
(103.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T30
(20)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Colt Knost
(95 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(40)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Rory Sabbatini
(94 pts)
DNP DNP T22
(28)
DNP T24
(26)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Steve Wheatcroft
(93.33 pts)
T64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Nick Watney
(81 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Daniel Berger
(80.67 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ernie Els
(72.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP
Zachary Blair
(69 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Graham Delaet
(68.33 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP T30
(20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Shane Lowry
(68 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 11
(13)
Pat Perez
(66 pts)
74
(0)
DNP T26
(24)
DNP T30
(20)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Alex Prugh
(63.33 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(61 pts)
T19
(31)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Chris Kirk
(58 pts)
T32
(18)
DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP
Brian Davis
(56 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 75
(0)
DNP T24
(26)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Chad Collins
(55.33 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(9)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
James Hahn
(55 pts)
T41
(9)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
J.J. Henry
(54.33 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP T48
(2)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Streelman
(47.67 pts)
DNP DNP T30
(20)
DNP T41
(9)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP
Jordan Spieth
(45 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the AT&T Pebble Beach

Player Farmers Insurance Malaysian Open Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Humana Qatar Masters Sony Open Abu Dhabi Hyundai T of Champions South African Nedbank Challenge
Jim Renner
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mike Weir
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
John Merrick
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kyle Reifers
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Carlos Sainz Jr.
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jon Curran
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Derek Ernst
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Hudson Swafford
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Andrew Putnam
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Oscar Fraustro
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Billy Casper:

I wrote about Billy Casper and how much of an undervalue player he was on Saturday in who would win on Sunday.

Just another couple of items. It’s nice to see the interest in Billy, I have known him for 15 years and he was a simple man who cared about the perception of his career but it wasn’t an ego trip for him.  Billy was a regular man that you could hang out with and not feel overwhelmed.  He knew what a great player he was, but at times Casper felt overshadowed by the attention given to Nicklaus, Palmer and Player.  He was always the fourth cheese mixed in with Trevino and Watson, but he knew that on any given time in the late 60s, or early 70s he could beat them all anytime.

Billy loved Masters week, he lived for those seven days to go there and wear his green jacket.  He loved hanging out with other players, swapping stories on that bygone era he was a part of.  It was a special week in which he would rent two and sometimes three houses and bring as many of the Casper clan as possible.  That is a lot considering that he had 11 children and over 70 grandchildren.

One story I remember the most was in 2005.  Billy was hell-bent on playing, the first time in three years.  At 73 his game was past it’s prime, but he thought he could shoot in the 80s.  That wasn’t the case, starting on the back nine he made triple on 10 and 11.  Things got worst when Casper made 14 on the 16th hole and when he was playing the back nine you could tell he was hard pressed to break 100.  Since I am in charge of keeping records for the Masters, I didn’t want to see the high score of 95 shot by Charles Kinkle in 1956 broken on that day.  On top of that, the last time a player didn’t break 100 in a major was at the 1941 U.S. Open when Walter Ratto shot 100.  So the last thing I wanted was another 100 shot, but mostly by thoughts were I didn’t want the last thing we remember about Billy Casper was that he shot over 100 in the Masters, I wanted people to always remember Casper for the great Hall of Fame player that he was.

After Casper finished the 7th hole and we knew a round of 100 was in the cards, I thought the best course of action was to go see whether I could maybe quietly coax him or someone in his family to not let him finish and post the score.  If you knew me back then it took a lot to coax me away during the first round to leave the press room, but I felt I should.  I got to the ninth tee when Casper teed off and remember getting a warm greeting from him with a nice smile and him saying “nice that you could joy us.”  I started up the fairway with him and didn’t know want to say to him.  First thing that came to mind was “hey Billy, nobody has shot 100 or more in a major since you were born so do you want to reconsider finishing this hole?”  I thought it wasn’t best to do that so I caught up to his son Bob and told him, and he also agreed it wasn’t the best.  Bob got to his best friend Brian Taylor who was Billy’s caddie for the day, hopping that maybe Brain would get Billy not to finish.

Casper putted out at nine for a 105 and he avoided everyone and went into the scoring trailer with playing partners Tommy Aaron and Charles Coody.  When he exited the trailer, he had a big smile on his face and said what a pleasant day he had.  I asked whether he realized what he had just done, and he said that a weird thing happened in the scoring trailer.  Seemed that neither Aaron nor Coody had Casper’s scorecard and when they couldn’t find it, everyone felt the best thing to do was for Casper to withdraw, which he did.  When Billy came out and saw us he said “can you believe that we couldn’t find the card,” then he started laughing and reached into his pocket and out came the mystery card.  As Casper said, he had about a half dozen of his kids and another half dozen of his grandchildren following him and he just wanted to show them one last time that he could play in the Masters.  He also wanted to feel the magic of going around the course during the competition.  He knew that he wasn’t taking a space of anyone and that despite what the score was, it would be a magical day for him.

That scorecard was in his study the last time I was in his house and it kind of showed us what kind of a person Casper was, that he just wanted to show off to his wife, kids and grandchildren that one last time.

Golf will miss Billy Casper.

The Buzz:

The PGA Tour season is officially a quarter of the way over, and with 12 players winning 12 events so we are seeing a lot of parody.  Now the good folks at Ponte Vedra smile with that word but for the fans having winners like Sang-Moon Bae, Ben Martin, Robert Streb, and Nick Taylor it’s fine but not memorable.  But we have also seen some marquee winners like Bubba Watson at the WGC-HSBC Champions and in 2015 we can’t get any better winners than Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker, Bill Haas, Brooks Koepka, and Jason Day.  We could be at a new junction on the PGA Tour as we have seen Phil Mickelson miss two cuts, and Tiger Woods miss one cut and withdraw after 12 holes last week in San Diego.  The tournaments are fun to watch, and you can see some interest in golf.  It’s also interesting to see the change at the top of the World rankings.

This is the way the world rankings looked like before the AT&T Pebble Beach pro-am in 2013 just three years ago.  We are giving you the top-ten, with their rankings today:

2013 rankings          Today’s ranking

  • 1 – Rory McIlroy                  1st
  • 2 – Tiger Woods                 62nd
  • 3 – Luke Donald                  47th
  • 4 – Brandt Snedeker          63rd
  • 5 – Justin Rose                    8th
  • 6 – Louis Oosthuizen          44th
  • 7 – Adam Scott                    7th
  • 8 – Lee Westwood               27th
  • 9 – Bubba Watson                3rd
  • 10 – Phil Mickelson             18th

 

Just look at some of those on top in the world rankings and were they were before the AT&T in 2013:

  • Henrik Stenson                Ranking today: 2nd       Ranking before 2013 AT&T pebble: 52nd
  • Jordan Spieth                  Ranking today: 4th        Ranking before 2013 AT&T Pebble: 692nd
  • Matt Kuchar                     Ranking today: 10th      Ranking before 2013 AT&T Pebble: 22nd
  • Jimmy Walker                  Ranking today: 13th       Ranking before 2013 AT&T Pebble: 78th
  • Hideki Matsuyama          Ranking today: 14th       Ranking before 2013 AT&T Pebble: 134th
  • Patrick Reed                    Ranking today: 15th       Ranking before 2013 AT&T Pebble: 367th
  • Victor Dubuisson             Ranking today: 16th       Ranking before 2013 AT&T Pebble: 132nd
  • Billy Horschel                   Ranking today: 17th       Ranking before 2013 AT&T Pebble: 230th
  • Brooks Koepka                Ranking today: 19th       Ranking before 2013 AT&T Pebble: 436th
  • Chris Kirk                          Ranking today: 22nd      Ranking before 2013 AT&T Pebble: 71st

So we can see that golf is in a better place right now.

Things you need to know about the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am:

  • This and the Humana are the only events played on three different courses. Each player and team will play one round at Pebble Beach (which is the host course), Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula C.C. After Saturday the cut are made and the final round is played at Pebble Beach.  The AT&T is really two tournaments in one.  The field is paired with an amateur partner and played the first three rounds together.  After 54 holes a cut is made, approximately 25 low teams of the best amateurs/pros will make it to the final day at Pebble Beach.
  • This is the last of the big time pro-celebrity events on the PGA Tour.  The Humana, which use to be the Bob Hope use to have a good field of celebrities, but now the only one left is this event.  The good news is that crowd favorite Bill Murray is back after not playing last year.  He has been the highlight of the tournament for over two decades, the best was when he won the pro-am in 2011.   Some of the celebrities playing are Don Cheadle, Chris O’Donnell, Matt Cain, Andy Garcia, Craig T. Nelson, Wayne Gretzky, Huey Lewis, Buster Posey, Ray Romano, and Kenny G.
  • For some, the AT&T Pebble Beach pro-am is the greatest.  Played at one of the most speculator places in all the world, on three of the greatest courses in the world.  On top of that the Monterey area offers a lot to do with great places to go like the Monterey aquarium, some great restaurants and bars plus you can’t beat a walk around the village of Carmel after the tournament is over.
  • For others, playing with amateurs in foursomes with rounds sometimes going six hours this isn’t their cup of tea.  Still it’s a staple on the PGA Tour.

 

Course information:

  • Pebble Beach Golf Links
  • Pebble Beach, Calif.
  • 6,816 yards     Par 36-36–72
  • Course has a 74.4 rating and slope rating of 142 from the championship tees Pebble Beach Golf Links is resort and open to the public.
  • In 2014 the Pebble Beach was the 7th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 73.385 average.

Course designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant in 1919,  Revised in 1928 by Henry Chandler Egan.  Between then and 1997 there were little minor changes done to the course.  But in 1998 the biggest changed happened when the par-three 5th hole was rebuilt.  The redesign was done by Jack Nicklaus and the hole was relocated about 100 yards away, along a 50-foot cliff over the Pacific.  At the cost of $3 million, the new hole could be one of the most expensive holes that hold a PGA Tour event.  It’s funny to compare the cost.  $3 million for one hole in 1999, the total cost to build the course in 1919 and that included the money spent on at the time was the first automatic sprinkling system in golf was a mere $66,000.

The course is situated on the Monterey Peninsula, its 120 miles south of San Francisco, Pebble Beach is considered the most spectacular golf course in all the world.

Despite it official name, the course is not a true links course because it is set on craggy cliffs above Carmel Bay.  Eight of the holes skirt the coastline and it’s these holes that distinguish Pebble Beach.

The land was owned by Samuel Morse who was the nephew of the inventor of the telegraph and Morse code.  Morse had an eye for the natural beauty of the Monterey Peninsula and bought 7,000 acres of the Peninsula, including seven miles of Pacific oceanfront for $1.3 million in 1915.  Morse then formed the Del Monte Properties company and had a vision of a resort with a golf course on prime acreage that ran along the bluffs above Carmel Bay.  Instead of selling the ocean front property for homesites, Morse built his golf course.  One of his real estate agents was Jack Neville who won the California Amateur Championship and although Neville had never built a course before, Morse decided to give him a chance to handle the design.  Neville asked another California Amateur Champion, Douglas Grant, to help him on the project and they spent a month routing the 18 holes.

In 1918 the course was opened for play, but in the inaugural competition the course was deemed to be unplayable for the average golfer and was closed for revision.  Neville and Grant softened it up and in 1919 it was again open for play.

Over the course of the next ten years the course was modified by Neville and Grant, and in 1928 H. Chandler Egan, Robert Hunter and Roger Lapham strengthened the course for the 1929 U.S. Amateur.  Since then the course has remained the same, except for the redesign of the fifth hole, which is surely an endorsement of the sound design of Neville and Grant.

Nine holes at Pebble are set along the rocky shores of Carmel Bay.  They are the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 17th, and 18th.  The 18th hole is considered by many as the best finishing hole in golf.  It was originally a par 4 of 379 yards until Egan changed it into a par 5 of 550 yards.

Pebble Beach has held many tournaments, the U.S. Open (1972, ’82, ’92, 2000 and in 2010), the PGA Championship (1977),  four U.S. Amateurs (1929, ’47, ’61 & ’99), the 1989 Nabisco Championship and is the host course for the annual AT&T Pebble Beach pro-am which at one time was the Bing Crosby.

The average green size at Pebble is 3,580 square feet that make the greens the smallest that are used on the PGA Tour.  The course has 92 bunkers, and water comes in play on nine holes along the Pacific.

 

Other courses used in the rota:

  • Spyglass Hill Golf Course
  • Pebble Beach, Calif.
  • 6,953 yards     Par 36-36–72
  • Course has a 75.3 rating and slope rating of 148 from the championship tees.  The course is resort and open to the public.
  • In 2014 the Spyglass Hill was the 11th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 72.755 average.

The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones and opened in 1966.  The course was the built thanks to Samuel Morse who had originally thought of building it as part of the Lodge at Pebble Beach.  The course was to be called Pebble Beach Pines Golf Club but Morse changed it to Spyglass Hill.  That was partly because of his friend Robert Louis Stevenson who got his inspiration for his book Treasure Island while visiting the area in which Spyglass was built.

Spyglass is a mix of several different courses.  The first five holes go down through sand dunes and offer magnificent views of the Pacific.  The next couple of holes play back into the pines, still offering ocean views.  The last nine you wouldn’t even know that the ocean is a mile away, the holes play through Monterey pines.  Spyglass is a totally different course than Pebble.  While the greens at Pebble are small, those at Spyglass are large and undulating.  Weather is a big part of Pebble, while it can be blowing up a storm there, Spyglass that is just a couple miles away could be calm.  When Spyglass first opened up it annually would drive the pros that played in the Crosby crazy and would be among the hardest courses on Tour.  It’s still one of the toughest courses on tour, but the course has softened with time, and now there is nothing but praise about the course.

  • Monterey Peninsula C.C. Shore Course
  • Pebble Beach, Calif.
  • 6,867 yards     Par 34-37–71
  • Course has a 73.3 rating and slope rating of 133 from the championship tees.  The course is private.
  • In 2014 the Shore Course was the 22nd hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 71.252 average.

Monterey Peninsula Country Club was founded on January 19, 1925. Samuel Finley Brown Morse, president and general manager of the Del Monte Properties Company.  The club has two clubs; the Dunes Course was originally designed by Charles B. MacDonald and Seth Raynor in 1925. The Dunes Course was redesigned and rebuilt in 1998 by Rees Jones and was the site of the Bing Crosby Pro-am for 18 consecutive years beginning in 1947, and then shifted to the Shore Course in 1965 and 1966. In 1967, the tournament was moved to Spyglass Hill Golf Course. The Crosby later returned to MPCC in 1977.

The Shore Course, site of this year’s AT&T was originally designed by Robert Baldock and Jack Neville. Construction began in 1960, and the course was opened for play in 1961. Reconstruction of the Shore Course began in February 2003, and the new course was opened in June 2004. Golf course architect Mike Strantz created a links-type golf course on the Club’s ocean-side property. For the AT&T, the course will play at a par 71 and at 6,867.

Two things will come into play this week at the Shore course; one is how it won’t be protected from the elements of wind off the ocean.  The course it replaced, Poppy Hills was very well protected with big pines but that won’t be the case here, so if you get unlucky and are paired on this course on a poor day it could put you out of the tournament.  The second tough element will be the greens, they average 7,000 and Mike Strantz made them tough and it will take much local knowledge to be able to read them.  Most of the pros in the field are making sure to play the Shore Course and they all are saying the same thing; the greens will be tough this week.

Golf’s DL injury report:

The last we saw of Tiger Woods he looked in bad shape saying he was sore with glute deactivation.  The first thing many including myself wondered was what in the hell is glute deactivation?  I thought that it was something that you weren’t allowed to eat, but it seems that it’s the muscles in your butt.  It was as foggy day and play was suspended so Tiger probably got tight and felt some pain.  Sorry but I just think that the pain was caused by of his poor chipping and that he may have a case of psychosomatic.  That word sounds so dirty but it’s not.  It’s a physical illness, or other condition caused or aggravated by a mental factor such as internal conflict or stress.

Tiger had been saying all week that he is fretting over his chipping, wouldn’t surprise me if his mind caused the back spasms.  The big question could psychosomatic end a career?  Yes and we know of one; there was an old time golfer by the name of Ralph Guldahl who in the late 30s was the Tiger Woods of the time.  In a span of nine years he won 19 times including in-between 1937 and ’38 two U.S. Open’s, a Masters and two Western Open’s which then was considered a major.

The story goes that at the height of his great play in 1939 he was asked to do a book on his golf swing.  They took high-speed pictures of his swing and when Guldahl saw them (first time he had ever seen his swing) he thought the swing was really ugly and not functional. Things got worst when he started to write about his swing and all of a sudden he tried doing different things with his swing to make it look and function better.  He got himself completely lost and soon found himself getting psychosomatic in which everything in his life was impossible to accomplish.  As he said, it was easy for him to play well in his early years on tour because he was doing things that were natural to him.  But a combination of looking at his swing and thinking for once what he had to do, drove him crazy. Between his poor play and the war years Guldahl retired in 1942.

Could the same happen to Tiger Woods, who knows.  But, he is having a tough time chipping and that is something that could take months to sort out, so although it’s early in the year who knows whether this could be a sign that Tiger won’t play well in 2015?  Right now, Tiger is supposed to play at the Honda and some speculation was that he could play at the Northern Trust.  He has fallen like a rock down the world rankings and is 62nd which means that there is a good chance he won’t be qualified to play at Doral in three weeks.  So if he does play in L.A. the thought is that he would have two qualifying tournaments to get back into the top-50 of the world rankings and play in the WGC-Cadillac.

Tim Clark wasn’t doing very well at the Sony Open with a tender left elbow, he still hasn’t played on tour and we all are wondering if he is doing better or what.

Graham DeLaet who was injured last year and got back on tour withdrew at the last minute from San Diego and isn’t playing at Pebble Beach.  Hopefully, he will be back for Northern Trust.

Thorbjorn Olesen who played on the PGA Tour in 2014 announced that he had surgery on his left hand to repair tendon done.  He didn’t provide a time table for returning, but it doesn’t matter on the PGA Tour since he is no longer a member and is playing just on the European Tour in 2015.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am:

Key stat for the winner:

The AT&T Pebble Beach brings on some special problems; it takes a lot of patience to endure this week with amateur partners.  Another problem is the luck of the draw, someone could be playing at Spyglass that is tree lined on the back nine and may not get the brute of a heavy wind that some player’s encounter at Pebble Beach and Monterey Peninsula.  For some that play in the late afternoon the conditions of the greens get dicey, especially since Poa Annua greens get bumpy and hard to predict.  So it takes a special breed of player to endure this.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • Unimportant stat:  With the exception of  Brett Ogle in 1993 and Dustin Johnson those that have won at Pebble were veteran players.  The point here, don’t look for any inexperienced players winning here, in it’s history going back to 1950 only one pro has won on his first visit to Pebble and that was Ogle.
  • Now this doesn’t rule out the fact that a rookie or a person with very little experience could win. Look at D.A. Points in 2011, he missed three out of four cuts before winning.  Some could call this a flunk, I feel that having comedian Bill Murray as his partner helped him and without Murray, Points probably would have never won.  Also look at Dustin Johnson who won at age 24 & 25. In 2009 Johnson was a surprise winner because he won because of weather reducing the event to 54 holes, it’s always easy to win a tournament that you lead after 54 holes.
  • The best-kept secret of this event between 1981 and 2005 none of the first round leaders went on to win.  But, Phil Mickelson started a trend in 2005 that 5 of the last 10 winners, Mickelson twice, Johnson twice, and Points in 2011 were in the lead after the first day.  Can this continue, realistically no because of the nature of using three courses.  But again anything is possible in golf.
  • One streak that will stay intact is that in the previous 55 years of the Humana Classic, nobody has ever won both the AT&T and the Humana in the same year.  Since Humana winner Bill Haas isn’t in the field, that streak will continue for a 56th year.
  • Putting is always a key at the AT&T especially since the tricky poa annua greens tend to get very bumpy in the afternoon.  Those that are able to deal with it will be ahead of the game mentally.
  • Look for someone that either hits lots of greens or putts very well to win.  He also has to play very well over the weekend that seems to be the key with the rest of the winners.  Pro’s play Pebble twice, which has the smallest greens on the PGA Tour.  Because of that and the greens at Pebble don’t have much undulation, putting becomes important in winning.  In making putts between 4 and 8 feet it has ranked the easiest course on tour 3 of the last six years, putts inside 10 feet was 2nd last year and in the top-ten five of the last six years and putts inside of 25 feet it was first last year and 3rd in 2013.
  • Weather is always a factor in the AT&T.  Courses will be wet as the weekend before is brining 2 inches of rain.  Come Tuesday dryer conditions come in as not a drop of rain is predicted during the four days of play, making it look like the big drought will continue.  So look for more growth of the rough making it a bit tougher at Pebble and Spyglass Hill.
  • Lastly and very important, to win you have to make sure that you play well at Spyglass Hill.  In a way that is the hardest of the courses and a good round there gives you a big advantage.  Perfect example was in 2005 with Phil Mickelson, he opened up with a 62 at Spyglass, shattering it’s scoring record and was able to build upon that great round.  Not only is it important to play well at Spyglass but also to do well at the third course, Monterey Peninsula.  Below is a chart of how the last ten champions have done on the two other courses outside of Pebble and how much ground on the field they picked up on the other courses.  Remember, Monterey Peninsula has been around since 2010, prior to that year Poppy Hills was used:

Winner                        Shots won by             Spyglass*          Monterey Peninsula*        Gain on Field

2014-Jimmy Walker                    1           69 (72.755) +3.755         67 (71.252) +4.252             8.0 shots

2013-Brandt Snedeker                2           68 (72.641) +4.641        66 (70.244) +4.244              8.9 shots

2012-Phil Mickelson                    2           70 (72.581) +2.581        65 (69.883) +4.883              7.5 shots

2011-D.A. Points                         2            70 (72.426) +2.426        63 (69.840) +6.840              9.3 shots

2010-Dustin Johnson                  1            64 (71.603) +7.603        64 (68.948) +4.948              12.5 shots

Winner                                                               Spyglass*                    Poppy Hills*

2009-Dustin Johnson                   4               69 (72.644) +3.644        67 (71.928) +4.928           8.6 shots

2008-Steve Lowery           won in playoff      69 (73.206) +4.206       70 (72.828) +2.828            7.0 shots

2007-Phil Mickelson                    5                70 (72.855) +2.855        65 (72.089) +7.089           9.9 shots

2006-Arron Oberholser                5                68 (72.006) +4.006        65 (72.302) +7.302          11.3 shots

2005-Phil Mickelson                    4                 62 (72.134) +10.134      67 (71.915) +4.915          15.5 shots

*Field average on that course in parentheses, then shots gain on field for that course

 

 

 

Who to watch for at the AT&T Pebble Beach

Best Bets:

Jimmy Walker

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
Win T3 T9 T9 CUT T55 CUT

Has been in the top-seven in four of his six starts this season including the last three. We have seen certain players like Mark O’Meara, Davis Love III and Phil Mickelson dominate this event, I can see the same with Walker who is 41 under in his last 16 rounds and that includes shooting closing rounds of 74 (2014) and 75 (2011). Don’t shy away from him because he is the defender.

Dustin Johnson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T2 CUT T5 T55 Win Win T7

Ok it’s time for him to shine, yes he was rusty at Torrey last week but he should have enough time to work all of that out. With dry conditions look for his length to help him again overpower all three courses.

Patrick Reed

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T13 T7

It’s time for him to shine again, these are courses that suit his game. Look for him to contend.

Best of the rest:

Jason Day

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T64 6 T46 T14 6

Have to watch him this week also, has the hot hand and it could continue.

Jordan Spieth

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T4 T22

Played well last year, did finish T7th at Phoenix but missed the cut last week. Look for him to bounce back.

Nick Watney

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT CUT T40 T6 T27 T22 T58 T42 T7 T65 CUT

Played well in San Diego, look for that to carry over to this week.

Brandt Snedeker

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT Win CUT T21 CUT T58 T36

Played well his last two starts, knows how to play well with victory two years ago.

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
First time playing in this event

Solid contenders

J.B. Holmes

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T61 T50 CUT T13 T2 T55 T61 T16

Should of won if he would of been a touch better on the greens, still playing well he almost won this event in 2010.

Hunter Mahan

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
6 T16 T15 2 T64 T69 CUT T16 T14 T39 CUT

He is ready to start again after the birth of a child. Good event in which he has done well on, look for him to continue his good play.

Jim Furyk

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T35 T30 T40 CUT T35 T33 T14 T6 T27 T39 T5

He had a special magic in his event between 1997 and 2007, making his first start let’s see if he has a magical beginning to his year.

Kevin Na

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T4 T22 T5 CUT T56 CUT T43 T69

Been a good event for him, time to snap out of his funk and play well.

Long shots that could come through:

Ryan Palmer

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T32 CUT T29 T70 CUT CUT T23 T51 T35

Hasn’t done that great in this event but comes in with a good game with a runner-up at Phoenix and T-10th in Palm Springs.

Colt Knost

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT CUT CUT CUT

He is 4 for 4 in missing cuts in this event, but have that feeling he will break that streak and take it a step better by being in the running on Sunday.

Spencer Levin

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T9 T4 T46 T14

A Northern California boy would really like to have one special week in a special place which he has spent a lot of time out. Don’t count him out, played good in San Diego.

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