The tour is heading just up the road from Torrey Pines to the Pebble Beach area for the long standing AT&T Pro-Am. This once popular tournament continue to hang on by threads. This is easily the weakest field of 156 we have seen this calendar year. Long rounds with amateurs combined with a popular Saudi tournament over seas keeps the star names away. The tournament is four rounds with a cut after the third. Keep in mind the T60 and ties move on verse the normal T65. Each player will tackle one round on each of the three courses before the final round returns to Pebble Beach. Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula are the other two courses. The three courses are all similar. Short, playing under 7050 yards, wider than normal fairways with minimal rough and some of the smallest poa greens players will face. Monterey Peninsula is the easiest of the three followed by Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. Wind is the biggest defense for these courses. As of now it doesn’t appear to present any issues. Speaking of weather, expect these courses to play soft due to all the recent rains the area has seen. So let’s get started and take a dive into the price ranges and who we could be targeting.
10k Price Range
Four players to choose from in this section and one is unlike the other three. Jordan Spieth is the favorite and one can say it is due to his stellar course history. Three consecutive T10’s here with the past two being 2nd and 3rd. Spieth obviously has a feel for this place. For the most part driver is taken out of his hands due to the lack of length or forced layups on most holes. His iron play along with putting remains erratic but when on point he is still one of the best. I will definitely have some Jordan amongst my lineups.
After Jordan we have Matthew Fitzpatrick and Viktor Hovland. Both have showed they can compete here in limited appearances. Fitz has a 6th place last year while Hovland has made all his cuts. Both have the ball striking ability from the fairways to compete. My concern with Vik is if the irons aren’t spot on his short game will have to step up. I do have interest in both but currently prefer a more popular Spieth. The last leg of this foursome and one who makes you wonder if the price tag is simply to much is Tom Hoge. He is a prior winner here and his iron play has been very strong. His recent results are fine but I just can’t fathom a time we’re I start my lineup with a 10k Hoge. I will be passing and speaking of passing I will definitely have lineups starting with none of these four.
9K Price Range
One reason why I expect high ownership on the above players is due to this range. Clicking on any of these names to start your lineups really brings doubt into your head. Mav McNealy is the only player in this range I feel comfortable starting a lineup with. Being from the west coast he is quite familiar with the topography and cooler weather conditions. He has two T5’s here and this very well could be his break through week for his first win.
It’s tough for me to play Seamus Power or Andrew Putnam at these prices. I see more T10 upside rather than T5 or win potential from both. Both are currently playing solid golf to back their solid course history. I would rather start my lineups with Mav and both are to expensive to pair with Spieth. Joel Dahmen is another pass for me. This is his first tournament of the year while others are making their 2nd or 3rd. The rust scares me as Joel is a very streaky player. Like Putnam and Power I can’t pay the salary for Denny McCarthy or Keith Mitchell.
This leaves me with dusty Matt Kuchar and Justin Rose. Both have started the season strong in much better fields. Kuchar has played very well here especially in his younger days. With both priced below McNealy and above the three from above that I am passing on perhaps they get moderate ownership at best. If this were any other field I would have no interest in either. With my lineups starting with Spieth or McNealy, probably the two highest owned at 9k or above, Kuch and Rose provide T10 upside at what should be decent ownership.
8K Price Range
This is a range I am not to interested in. Thomas Detry and Taylor Pendrith are passes. I don’t feel the setup fits their game. Kevin Kisner is making his first calendar year appearance. The rust is a worry. The courses set up for his game except he hates the poa and isn’t fond of west coast tournaments. Erik Van Rooyen and Dean Burmester are making their debuts here. I expect EVR to gain some traction as he has been playing better. My concern with both is neither are consistent iron players along with their lack of experience on poa.
Nick Taylor should be the chalk within these players. Excellent history here while his game hasn’t been bad with a 7th place at Sony a few weeks back. My concern is how to play him since I like a chalky Spieth and McNealy. That’s a piece I will figure out later but in my opinion he has as much upside as all the 8 and 9k players priced above him. Alex Smalley, Ben Griffin and David Lipsky are all players I have initial interest in. Course experience is a concern for all three. Recent form is a plus and has been solid for the group. My thoughts on the three are the same as Taylor. They all have as much upside as the players priced above them.
7K Price Range
Once again I don’t see 1-2 players in this section that stick out as chalk. With the plethora of options and not one player having excellent recent form combined with course history I can see a more balanced ownership range. The two players who do stick out to me are Troy Merritt and Kevin Streelman. Both have the best course history amongst the group of players priced around them. The form isn’t good for either but ask yourself do you think they have ever had good form entering this tournament. I am sure the answer for the majority of years is no. Of the two I prefer Merritt. I also feel as if I have built a fairly solid cash lineup along the way.
Overall I am not in love with anyone in this range but I do like my pivots as much as the two above. Perhaps Lanto Griffin gets some love. He played well last week in his first PGA tournament in months. Combine that with some solid history here and he could end up around 10% owned. Greyson Sigg is another I have my eye on. His play remains inconsistent but he does appear to play some of his better golf on short coastal courses. I have already mentioned several names that pain me so why not add another. Scott Piercy plays some of his best golf out west. What I like is his iron play, what I hate is his putter combined with poa grass could lead to a disaster. Unfortunately this is we’re we are at with this weak field. We must take chances. Prior to his cut last year he made 5 consecutive cuts here with 3 T20’s. Two others I may take shots on are Aaron Baddeley and Mark Hubbard. Baddeley is playing decent and he use to be a course horse here. Hubbard is the opposite as he has missed multiple cuts recently. A return to a course that did him well last year may be what is needed.
That’s all for this week. Fortunately this is the last gimmick tournament we will see for quite some time. Starting next week is the first of several great tournaments heading toward The Masters. Have a great week and Run Pure!