This week the pros, amateurs & celebrities head to beautiful Pebble Beach, California to play in the AT&T Pro Am. This event as been played as a pro am since 1937 and was known as the Bing Crosby pro am up until 1985 when AT&T paid the juice to have their name on it. The players will play on three courses for the first three days including Spyglass Hill, Monterey Peninsula and Pebble Beach Golf Links. The cut will be made after the third round and then the players will all play on the Pebble Beach course on Sunday.
Spyglass Hill is the longest of the three courses weighing in at 6953 yd par 72. Still one of the shortest courses the players will play this year, players will need to accurate off the tee and sharp with the putter. It is a difficult course with a 75.5 rating and a slope rating of 147(the highest is 155 and I think the tour avg is around the mid 120's).
Monterey Peninsula Country Club's shore course is a 6800 yd par 70. Short and tricky will be the theme this week. This course will be the easiest of the three with a 71.4 course rating and a 129 slope rating. Last year this course averaged 69.8 strokes. I expect this weeks field to improve on this course this week. The greens on all the courses will be tricky poa annua. This event will stress course form as one of the most important factors.
The Sunday course itself is one of the shortest the players will face this season at 6800 yd par 72. However wind is usually a factor here and this week will certainly be no different, high winds(15-20 mph) and light rain expected for Thursday and Friday before taming to more mild weekend conditions. Last weeks Phoenix Open Champion Phil Mickelson will be defending his title from last year and has won this event 4 times! Dustin Johnson will be back to work this week and he won here twice b2b in '09/'10. Aside from the wind the players will need to be accurate off the tee as this course will punish errant tee shots with thick rough and of course plenty of water near by.
The field is not the strongest with only 6 players in the top 25 in WGR teeing it up this week. Known as a celebrity pro am some of the notable celebs include Bill Murray, Ray Romano, Wayne Gretzky(no doubt keeping his eye on D. Johnson and his daughter Paulina lol), Aaron Rodgers, Bill Belichick, Chris Berman and many others. Aside from Phil and DJ some of PGA's notables also include B. Snedeker, H. Mahan, N. Watney, P. Harrington, W. Simpson and others. You will notice right of the bat Phil is not on my outright list. You may say 'but you said course form was important'?? Yes Phil has done well here and is on fire after a lights out performance in Arizona(blame him for the Super Bowl trouble). However lefty opened last week with a 60! Now I'm betting that he starts this week a little bit slower, in which case instead of the current 7/8-1 price being offered I think we'll see a much better number after the 1st or 2nd round and will have a better idea of whether or not he's still scorching hot. I will save a spot for him and if I think he's going to win AGAIN I'll add him later. Very difficult to win b2b weeks and defend a title at the same time especially when he's concerned about his taxes, 'tis the season lol.
Last week we had a great week backing not only Phil to a 25-1 payout but also had K. Webb at 12-1 winning the Australian Ladies Masters. Picked up well over 20 units of profit in the process. Though we can't expect that every week, we do now have an outright winner on each tour we've bet and we're just getting warmed up!
Here are my picks to win the event:
**Dustin Johnson +900 **DJ will be the 2% play this week
~Last week I was saying Dufner was THE pick of the week for many good reasons and he ended up missing the cut. I feel the same way about DJ this week(he WILL make the cut). He's won here b2b in '09, '10. Also T8th when the US Open was held here in '10. He has a win this year already and will be looking to impress papa Gretzky. He's THE pick this week.
*Nick Watney +2000
~Nick has played this course every year since he turned pro and though he's never won it I feel his course experience will guide him this week. Top finishes here include a T6th in '11 and T7th in '06. 9 consecutive years he's played here and will be gunning for a win this week. Took a T4th a couple weeks ago at the Farmers only placed in a T40th last week however this course sets up well for his game, look for him to be in contention on Sunday.
*Hunter Mahan +2500
~Hunter has been up and down the last couple years and looks to be heading on an up. Hunter had solo 2nd here in '11 and T15th last year. Took a T16th last week and T15th at the Farmers. Accurate off the tee and a great ball striker. Good iron player he won twice last year and I won't be surprised if he picks up his first win of '13 this week.
*Padraig Harrington +2500 E/W
~An each way selection this week, with wind in play Paddy can play in the wind and did T7th here last year. Also took a T9th last week in Scottsdale.
*Tim Clark +4000 E/W
~Tim is another each way pick. He last played here twice in '10 finishing T10th AT&T and T12th US Open. TC picked up solo 2nd at the Sony this year, ranked 3rd on tour last year in driving accuracy and 7th in proximity to hole. I can't say he'll win but it wouldn't surprise me and is a great candidate for an each way bet.