AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Expert picks and best bets
EDITOR’S NOTE: Brian Mull is a former caddie who spent several years walking alongside the world’s best players inside the ropes on the PGA Tour. Throughout the 2019-20 season, he will be filing a gambling picks piece — as well as a weekly fantasy golf picks piece — applying the expert knowledge he’s acquired over the years by following the players and courses on Tour so closely.
Last week was a good week, but you’re only as good as your next week in the wonderful world of trying to pick PGA Tour winners.
The Tour makes its way into northern California and the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am once again. This event has a rare 54-hole cut as the field plays rounds at Pebble Beach, Monterey Peninsula Shore Course and Spyglass Hill before the low 60 return to the host course for the final round. There’s also a pro-am component, which means foursomes and six-hour rounds are the norm.
The weather is always a major consideration at Pebble Beach but the golfing gods are shining down on the field this week with temperatures in the upper 50s, sunny skies and wind blowing out of the north at 7-8 mph Thursday and Friday, but accelerating to 17-18 mph on the weekend.
As it pertains to scoring, Monterey Peninsula or Pebble Beach are along the coastline and more exposed to the wind. Spyglass Hill is difficult in any conditions but the bulk of the course is protected from the worst of the breeze. Anything under par is an excellent score at Spyglass.
For the most part, we’re avoiding players who have to play Monterey Peninsula on Saturday in the stronger winds. The pros can light up the Shore Course on docile days but it bears teeth when the breeze is blasting across the rugged coast. Obviously, the players at Pebble will be tested on Saturday as well if the forecast holds, but that’s where we find many tournament favorites as they are in the ‘celebrity rotation.’
Spyglass – MPCC – Pebble
MPCC – Pebble – Spyglass
Pebble – Spyglass -MPCC
Odds on the favorites (via golfodds.com):
Over / under winning score: 267.5 (19.5 under) par is 287 this week; MPCC is par 71.
Dustin Johnson +650
Patrick Cantlay +1200
Jason Day +2000
Paul Casey +2000
Matt Kuchar +2500
Brandt Snedeker +2500
Matthew Fitzpatrick +2500
Phil Mickelson +3000
Viktor Hovland +3000
Branden Grace +3000
Jordan Spieth +4000
Graeme McDowell +4000
Kevin Kisner +4000
Daniel Berger +4000
Cameron Champ +5000
Alex Noren +5000
Max Homa +5000
Expert picks and best bets
Jason Day (+2000) – Is he healthy? Unfortunately, that’s the first question that comes to mind when contemplating the former world No. 1 these days. The 32-year-old Aussie has endured an array of ailments and illnesses in recent years, creating frequent and often lengthy absences from tournament competition. He’s dipped to No. 46 in the world. He remains one of the most talented players in golf (remember the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits?). He tied for 16th two weeks ago at Torrey Pines, putting on similar surfaces. And, he loves Pebble Beach. Love, love, love, loves it. He’s 65 under in his last five AT&T starts with 14 of 20 rounds in the 60s. He has six top 10s and no missed cuts in 10 appearances. He’s done everything but win. That changes this week. The rotation favors Day, who plays MPCC and Pebble Beach in calmer conditions Thursday and Friday before playing Spyglass on Saturday, away from the din of the celebrity circus. Day has won 12 PGA Tournaments and $46 million. He’ll pad both totals on Sunday afternoon.
Last Week: Webb Simpson (+1400). Birdied the last two holes in regulation and first hole of sudden death and won the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Pat Perez (+10000) Perez has two top 10s in the 2019-20 season and ranks 45th in the FedEx Cup standings. He’s also had success at Pebble Beach in the past, posting top-10 finishes in 2014 and 2016. Through the years, Pebble has been a place where veterans have found magic for a week and while we’re not thrilled about Perez’s rotation – he plays Pebble Beach on Saturday – we love his pairing this week. Not only is he paired with longtime amateur partner Michael Lund, a solid 5 handicap, but he’s playing alongside Bill Murray and D.A. Points for three days this week. So staying loose should not be a problem.
Last Week: J.B. Holmes (+10000). Led after 36 holes, tied for 16th.
Matt Kuchar (+2500) There’s always a reasonable amount of risk in fading the steady Kuchar, but his Pebble Beach record is less than stellar with five missed cuts in 13 starts. He also has the unfortunate draw, playing Monterey Peninsula in the third round, likely missing an excellent opportunity to shoot a low number if the wind blows as hard as expected.
Last Week: Jordan Spieth (+5000). Missed cut
Branden Grace (+115) vs. Brandt Snedeker – Grace is a world class player whose game is trending upward. He comes into Pebble Beach feeling good about his game after a top 10 last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Snedeker is always dangerous at Pebble Beach but his amateur partner Steve Young might be sad after his beloved 49ers frittered away the Super Bowl last Sunday. Both players are in the same rotation, playing Pebble on Saturday.
Last Week: Matt Kuchar (+115) def. Gary Woodland (Win)