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AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Course Preview: Three Courses, One Strategy

Tom Jacobs looks into the courses, what stats we should be looking at to find the winning golfer, and any course correlations that have been thrown up in the past.
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AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Course Preview: Three Courses, One Strategy

The Course(s)

  • Length: 6,972 Yards
  • Par: 72
  • Greens: Poa Annua
  • Designer: Douglas Grant and Jack Neville (1919) - multiple renovations, most recently Arnold Palmer and Thad Layton (2016)
  • Course Record: 62 (Tom Kite, 1983, David Duval, 1997, Patrick Cantlay 2021)

Spyglass Hill GC

  • Length: 7,041 Yards
  • Par: 72
  • Greens: Poa Annua
  • Designer: Robert Trent Jones Sr.
  • Course Record: 62 (Phil Mickelson, 2005 & Luke Donald 2006)

Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore)

  • Length: 6,957 yards
  • Par: 71
  • Greens: Poa Annua
  • Designer: Bob E. Baldock & Jack Neville (1960) - Renovated by Mike Strantz (2003)
  • Course Record: 60 (Sung Kang, 2020)

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With three courses here, with three different designers, two of which have not been responsible for any other courses on the PGA Tour, I don't feel there are any significant links to talk through.

Robert Trent Jones Sr who designed Spyglass Hill was responsible for Congressional, Hazeltine, Firestone and Oak Hill (East), all courses which we have seen used in majors or in Firestone's case, long-term for the WGC Bridgestone. Given the strength of those events, they do not feel relevant to this week, but with Spyglass Hill the toughest of the three courses on average, it may be worth looking into whether there's any outsiders that have played well at the venues listed, to see if they can perform well on the hardest course.

Correlating Courses & Events

The Greenbrier Classic (The Old White)

In just 9 renewals of this event (ran from 2010-2019), there has been so much crossover between these two events, that it was pretty hard to ignore.

Ted Potter Jr has won both events.

Jimmy Walker has won here and finished 2nd at The Greenbrier.

Kevin Na won The Greenbrier and has three top-5 finishes here.

Scott Stallings has won The Greenbrier and finished 3rd and 7th here.

Jonas Blixt has won The Greenbrier and finished 3rd here.

Kelly Kraft has finished 2nd at both events.

Matt Jones finished T2 at The Greenbrier and has three top-10's and five top-15's total here.

Charlie Wi finished 2nd at The Greenbrier and 3rd here.

Steven Bowditch finished 2nd at The Greenbrier and T9 here.

Charlie Beljan finished 3rd at both.

James Hahn finished 3rd at The Greenbrier and 6th here.

Greg Owen finished 3rd and 4th here and 6th at The Greenbrier.

Will Wilcox finished 4th at The Greenbrier and finished 18th there, but just 3 shots behind 4th place, despite a 3rd round 73.

Wyndham Championship (Sedgefield CC)

Due to the nature of this event and the Wyndham, it makes sense the two crossover and we see it is the case below. I believe this is down to the amount of wedges hit into the greens at both events, as they are all short courses.

Davis Love III has won here twice and won at Wyndham three times.

Brandt Snedeker has won here twice and won at Wyndham.

Jordan Spieth has won here and lost in a playoff at Wyndham.

D.A. Points has won here and finished 4th at Wyndham.

Jimmy Walker has won here and finished 4th at Wyndham.

Nick Taylor has won here and finished 8th and 10th at Wyndham.

Si Woo Kim has won and finished runner-up at Wyndham and finished 4th here.

Jim Herman has won at Wyndham and finished T10 here.

Kevin Stadler has finished 2nd at Wyndham and 3rd here

Freddie Jacobson has finished 2nd at Wyndham and 4th here.

Rory Sabbatini has finished 2nd here and has 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th place finishes at Wyndham.

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Event Form (Last 10 Years)

Below is the Top-10 among this field for adjusted scoring average over the past 10 years at this event:

Daniel Berger - 10-5-1

Jason Day - 6-MC-4-11-3-5-2-4-4-7

Charl Schwartzel - 5

Jordan Spieth - 22-4-7-21-1-20-45-9-3

Kevin Streelman - 9-40-MC-17-14-6-7-2-13

Justin Rose - 6-39

Maverick McNealy - MC-5-2

Dawie Van Der Walt - 26

Patrick Cantlay - 9-48-35-11-3

Brandon Harkins - 15-38

If you take out Charl Schwartzel and Dawie Van Der Walt based on them making just one start, the next two men in are - Scott Stallings (MC-14-7-3-MC-30) & Matthew NeSmith (11-16)

It is no great surprise to see the best players in the field here, leading the way in course form. Generally, the field is weak for this event and this week is no different, so those at the very top of the world rankings have flexed their muscles here against weaker opposition.

Looking at the list of winners though, we do see surprise winners and that I believe, like the Amex, is down to the three-course rotation and Pro-Am format. If a player gets a comfortable pairing and can get hot with the wedges and putter, these courses are fairly straightforward, especially with the wind down. The other factor is the draw. If you get on the wrong side of the draw, and end up playing Pebble on the windiest day, you may well suffer vs those who get to play it in calm conditions and end up on Spyglass Hill (tree-lined) in the wind.

Key Stats

Strokes-Gained: Approach - With so many wedges and short irons used around these three courses, you best hit it close to the hole, otherwise you are going to be losing strokes to the field, unless you have a big putting day.

Here's how each of the last five winners ranked in this category:

Daniel Berger (2021) - 6th

Nick Taylor (2020) - 13th

Phil Mickelson (2019) - 1st

Ted Potter Jr (2018) - 19th

Jordan Spieth (2017) - 12th

They also ranked 2nd, 31st, 6th, 2nd and 10th respectively in overall Proximity to the Hole. You can win this event with a hot putter as Nick Taylor did in 2020, but he also ranked T7 in the traditional GIR stats the week he won, so he was finding the greens and making a boatload of putts.

Poa Annua Putting - Since the start of the California swing we have seen the effects of Poa Annua greens and how they can affect players when holing putts. Look at a players' performances on the greens last week on the South Course, for an idea on how they may putt on these three courses. You do not necessarily have to be the best putter here on the week, but patience and familiarity on this surface is essential.

Wind Play - I would certainly consider a player's prowess in the wind this week. If you get caught in blustery conditions when playing Pebble you could really suffer, and would much rather be on the tree-lined Spyglass Hill on a day like this. If you are a proven wind player though, those maybe that have prospered in the Open Championship, or other links tracks, you may well hold an advantage here.

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Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-hosts the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on all the major Tours. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, and was delighted to see his Forest team win promotion this season!


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