AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Key Fantasy Stats

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

February 1st – 4th, 2024

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble Beach, CA

Par: 72 / Yardage: 6,972

Purse: $20 million

with $3,600,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Justin Rose

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:

For the first time, we have a key fantasy article for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am. In past years, Pebble has only been used for two rounds, but with it being a signature event and using only two courses, it now warrants looking to see what kind of player could win at Pebble.

Pebble Beach is on the Monterey Peninsula, 120 miles south of San Francisco. Pebble is considered the most spectacular golf course in all the world and is a course loved by different organizations as it’s not only the yearly site of a PGA Tour event but also a Champions Tour event along with holding the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, and U.S. Womans Open.

The land was owned by Samuel Morse, the nephew of the telegraph and Morse code inventor. Morse had an eye for the natural beauty of the Monterey Peninsula and bought 7,000 acres of the Penisula, including seven miles of Pacific oceanfront, for $1.3 million in 1915. Morse then formed the Del Monte Properties Company and envisioned a resort with a golf course on prime acreage that ran along the bluffs above Carmel Bay. Morse built his golf course instead of selling the oceanfront property for homesites. One of his real estate agents was Jack Neville, who won the California Amateur Championship. Even though 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 with 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 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 redesigning the fifth hole, which is undoubtedly an endorsement of Neville and Grant’s sound design.

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. Many call it the greatest finishing hole in golf, but the changes in equipment have ravished it. Before 2000, nobody would dare try to reach the green in two, but now about half the pros can go for the green in two. The next time the USGA returns to Pebble in 2027 for the U.S. Open.
Pebble Beach has held many tournaments, including four U.S. Amateurs (1929, ’47, ’61, ’99 & 2018), 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. Pebble has one distinction: it is the first public course to hold the U.S. Open. Since then, Pinehurst, Bethpage, and Torrey Pines have joined the rota, with Chambers Bay and Erin Hills holding U.S. Opens in 2015 and ’17.

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

So what does this mean for you who are trying to make a pick for this week or if you are looking for six winners in your DraftKings picks? If you look at the scoring average for Pebble, it’s been around its par of 72. Last year, it was 71.53 and was the 21st hardest course of the year. In 2022, it was 70.76, and the 35th hardest course. In 2021, it was 71.20, and the 29th hardest, while in 2020, it was 72.52 and the 8th hardest course of the year on the PGA Tour. Now, for the U.S. Open, Pebble plays to a par of 71; in 2019, it played at 72.24, and in 2010, it played at 74.98. So what brings the discrepancy in the scoring average? The time of year, the AT&T is played in February as the course is usually wet with all the rain. The course is also a lot lusher with all the previous months’ rain. In June, the course is dry and plays fast; winds play a significant role in making the course harder, along with how the USGA sets up courses.

So, with that said, how can we judge this course? One thing we are going to do is use only strokes-gained stats. It’s not that stats like driving accuracy or greens in regulation don’t work, but strokes gained are more defining and will help us pick players better.
Our first is Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee because driving will be necessary. Driving distance is always essential, but many players will need to throttle back this week, so getting it in the fairway is important, and the closure you get to the greens is better but unnecessary. Last year, AT&T, Pebble was the shortest driving course on the PGA Tour, with the average drive going just 270.9 yards per drive. As for driving accuracy, 66.25% of the fairways were hit, as it was the 11th easiest fairways to hit on the PGA Tour. Last year’s winner, Justin Rose, hit 36 out of 54 fairways, which ranked T-44th, and his average drive was 282.1, which ranked 45th. So for the week, Rose was 55th in Strokes Gained off-the-Tee. One thing about Pebble with the small greens is if you miss a fairway, you will not get it on the green, so you can see hitting it straight is essential.
Our next stat is Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green because hitting greens is essential, and you have very few targets with 3,500 square foot greens. Last year at the AT&T, 65.73% of the greens were hit, which ranked the course as 25th. For winner Rose, he hit 50 of 72 greens and ranked T-34th. So, for Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green, Rose ranked 14th.
Our third stat is Strokes Gained around the green because players will miss greens and, to win, have to get it up and down. Last year, with 34.27% of the greens missed, 55.09% of the players got it up and down, ranking Pebble the 11th hardest course to scramble on. As for Rose, of the 22 greens he missed, he got it up and down on 18 of them to rank T-4th in scrambling and 4th in Strokes Gained around the green.
Last is Strokes Gained-Putting because that is going to be very important for players this week. Last year, Rose was 3rd in putting average, T-5th in one putt, and T-11th in 3 putting. He ranked 14th in Strokes Gained Putting.
The one thing we can’t stress more is that there is no known stat for, and that is playing it smart. Many great players, from Tiger to Jack to Tom Watson to Billy Casper to Sam Snead and Bryon Nelson, have won at Pebble. So look over the stats, and you can see you can narrow the 80 in the field down to about 30, and from there, look who have great minds in thinking around a golf course, and you will have your winner.

*Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee: The per-round average of the number of strokes based on the number of fairways and distance hit

*Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green: Takes into account the number of greens and the proximity to the hole in the interst of interest of saving shots.

*Strokes Gained Around-the-Green: Number of strokes gained from shots around the green, lot of it is scrambling and bunker play.

*Strokes Gained Putting: The number of strokes gained in putting

This is the 77 of the 80 players from this year’s field with PGA Tour stats from 2023.

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

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