AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AM
Defending Champ: Brandt Snedeker
Despite writing about the same 40 events every year, I’ve somehow managed to forget how many tournaments feature rounds at multiple courses during the West Coast Swing. It’s probably those all those sessions with Lacuna Inc. That, or it’s the fault of my favorite pastime – binge drinking. But, outside the Majors and the assorted WGC events, every PGA Tour stop exists in our memories solely through highlights; be it a momentous shot, a unique hole design or some freak sideshow associated with the event.
Quick, word association: first thing that pops into your mind when you hear Pebble Beach Pro-Am? Betcha it’s this…
Actually, I’m certain it is. And I suppose that counts as 1,000 words.
But, what you – and I – have failed to remember is the degree of difficulty individually offered up by Pebble Beach, Monterey Peninsula and Spyglass Hill; the three courses the field will walk over the first three rounds. Two of them are short and simple; one is exceptionally tough and regularly plays over par. That would be Spyglass Hill. While it’s not impossible to go lower than Hermes competing in Olympic Limbo, play the probabilities and avoid it altogether. Here’s where everyone is playing in each round.
Outside of boycotting Spyglass, remember that the AT&T is a three round cut, but the field will lose an extra 10 players than usual for the final round at Pebble. Event organizers need to make room for all those celebrities. Although, it’s an incredibly liberal use of the word “Celebrity”. Sure, Aaron Rodgers, Don Cheadle, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky and Kenny G are legitimately famous, but Oliver Hudson? Give me a break. It says he’s an actor, but I’m dubious. The only thing I can recall this loser from is getting stacked on the first hand of the of the 2005 WSOP Main Event.
Take a gander at the full celebrity list for yourself if you like. Oh, Bill Murray is going to be absent for the first time in five years. He’s off filming a new flick.
HIT THE LINKS
Tiger Woods passed on Pebble to take, “a reported seven-figure payday” for an exhibition round in India. Apparently, he made ten birdies on route to card a -9.
Golf is becoming more exclusive than ever. About damn time.
Even though he finished all four rounds in Phoenix, Phil Mickelson’s back issues could be something that lingers all year. A bad back and serious “blowing it” problems, sorry Hefty, no US Open for you. Still, for all the Phil bashing I partake in on a weekly basis, he, not Peyton Manning has a rocket-laser arm.
The Waste Management Open welcomed a record 189,722 patrons to its gallery Saturday. Expect even more during Super Bowl weekend next year in Phoenix.
Rory McIlroy and a host of other big names are flocking to the Honda Classic in March.
Bubba Watson may actually be the real life Ricky Bobby.
Graeme McDowell is blogging his thoughts all year. LIKE ME! Also, he’s teeing off in Monterey this week. Remember, Pebble was the site of his 2010 US Open victory.
Jason Day – Day’s one of the hottest players on the planet at the moment (he’s not in the same stratosphere as that dashing Adam Scott however), finishing second in his only PGA start this season at the Farmers and boasts a solid history at Pebble. He’s yet to miss a cut in four tries, with two sixth place finishes to his credit.
Brandt Snedeker – It’s become clear Sneds isn’t quite over his knee injury suffered at the hands of a meddlesome Segway in China back in November. If not, then this newfound inconsistency is rather alarming. After notching a 64 last Friday to jump onto the front page of the leaderboard, he was a dreadful +9 over his final 36 holes. Still, it’s a thin “A-List” this week, and Snedeker did set the tournament record here last year, so there is hope to be had.
Jason Kokrak – His results are a tad underwhelming… at first glance. On closer inspection however, Kokrak’s on one of the best runs of his marginal career. The bomber’s posted four Top 20s in six events and ranks third on Tour in eagles per hole, 11th in scoring average and second in driving distance; which will afford him the luxury of rarely taking anything besides a wedge out of his bag at Pebble and Monterey. He also sits first in “Smash Factor” in 2014. Which is easily the most badass stat in golf.
Hunter Mahan – Always the capricious performer, Mahan kept it together through 70 holes in Phoenix before mangling the very short 17th, posting bogey and finishing fourth. He’s come close here before (T2 in 2011) and has churned out enough quality showings over the years (T15 in ’12, T16 in ’13) to make him a must start this week. Just watch out when he’s teeing off at Spyglass, Mahan hasn’t cracked 70 three tries.
Jimmy Walker – The last time we saw Walker was two weeks ago at the Farmers, and dude was straight up ill. Not so much like a he’s in the Beastie Boys though, more of the needing to seek out medical attention kind of ill. He was sick. And it killed his performance. But Walker’s fine now, and if leading this season’s FedEx Cup race isn’t enough to will Walker into your lineup, know this: He hasn’t finished outside the Top 10 in any of his past three trips to Pebble.
Charlie Wi – Avert your gaze from Charlie Wi’s recent play. He hasn’t finished better than 23rd in any of his four starts this year, yet, that fails to concern me. Wi always plays well here. Except on Sunday two years ago when he choked away a three-stroke lead to Phil. It happens. Still, we’ll all take a second place finish, that works for Fantasy. So, why does Wi dominate Pebble? I’m guessing because he attended nearby Berkley and is MKULTRA familiar with all three courses.
Charles Howell III – Keep slotting CH3 into you’re “A-List” before all the big names decide to lace up their spikes and flood the group. No player has produced more Top 10s than Howell this season (5). So suck every bit of value out of his hot start before he takes his usual tumble down the money list.
Chris Kirk – The Captian’s quickly becoming my Fantasy Golf version of Ennis del Mar, I wish I knew how to quit him. Kirk was en fuego during the opening round at the Waste Management, carding a 65 and sitting in second. His Friday, Saturday and Sunday? Very anti-Hansel, playing the final 54 at 11-over. YIKES. Won’t deter me, though; I be stubborn like that. Kirk’s already won this season, finished second at the Sony and managed to earn a clean $702,000 here last year with his second place result. Still not convinced? Well, did you know, according to his player profile page, his favorite movie is “Troy”. That makes him a legit insane person. So take him, or he may come get ya.
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