PGA About the Cut: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Back to California we go with the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. This Pro-Am tournament is another atypical format with each player guaranteed three rounds, each being played at a different course. The cut is then made after Saturday to only the top 60 who return to Pebble Beach Golf Links for the final round on Sunday. The three courses, Monterey Peninsula, Spyglass Hill, and Pebble Beach are all sub 7,000 yards making them all relatively short in distance. Many holes require you to club down off the tee making fairways much easier to hit, but also making your approach shots that much more important. Greens are Poa Annua so that is something to take note of if you are a looking for who may be at an advantage with the flat stick.
Pro-Ams are always a little tricky because of the unique atmosphere of having celebrities on the course and with the three-course rotation it’s difficult to get into a rhythm for many players. Having the cut on Saturday makes going less than 6/6 not as much as a penalty since you are only losing one round, but obviously, we will still be shooting to get everyone through till Sunday.
I will be looking for golfers who are great with approach shots and hit a lot of GIR. With the easy to hit fairways, the ability to hit these greens and give yourself birdie chances is going to be a key factor so proximity to hole is another stat I will be looking at. This is definitely a week to keep an eye on the weather, as rain and wind are known to be factors in this tourney.
The Waste Management Open is always an exciting rowdy time and last week did not disappoint. The Hideki train keeps on chugging along in impressive fashion. Even though after basically every shot he reacts like he hit it straight into the water, clearly, he is dialed in right now. Webb Simpson had his chances and showed us how dangerous he is when his putter is working, but it’s hard to stop Hideki when he is firing on all cylinders. Besides Roberto Castro and Bubba Watson my core group was solid, and fading Finau worked out perfectly so coming into Sunday I had a chance in some big field GPP’s which is all you can ask for. Byeung Hun An not being able to hold on plus William McGirt and Bendan Steele not doing much on the final day was not the result I was looking for, but anytime you have a chance on Sunday I consider that a success. I am hoping that Draftkings gets their pricing back in order this week and I am excited to keep things moving in the right direction.
This hurts to write, but Brendan Steele is not in the field so I guess I have to break my streak of recommending him. Was a good run by my boy, but time to focus on guys who are playing this week.
Jason Day $11,600 – Just so everyone knows I do these tiers in order of most expensive salary to cheapest so having Jason Day first does not mean he is my favorite play of the week. I think out of the big three this week he easily carries the most risk, but I also think he should be the lowest owned. He started out slow last year too and this tournament was when he started to round into form with a respectable 11th place finish. Honestly it is probably easier to make a case for Spieth or DJ this week, but I am interested in taking the slight discount with Day, especially if he may be significantly lower owned than the other two. All three have the talent to win any week they tee it up so I could myself having exposure to all three across my lineups, but I think Day makes a lot of sense as possibly a contrarian play. When dealing with the top players in non-major events motivation can be a factor and Day coming off an ugly missed cut should have him a little more focused than usual at a Pro-Am event.
Phil Mickelson $9,300 – For any Seinfeld fans out there, me recommending Phil Mickelson is straight out of the bizarro world. I am not a Phil Mickelson guy and when I play him I usually get two rounds of him trying to hit it out of the water or off rocks or other spots that only he finds. Sadly, he does seem to make sense in this spot and absolutely loves this tournament with 4 wins here and plenty of other top ten finishes. He has been very solid the last few weeks and pretty much every week comes down to seeing if Phil can limit his blow-up holes. If he can stay out of trouble he should be in the hunt once again come Sunday at Pebble Beach.
Justin Rose $9,200 – I am not the biggest Justin Rose fan, but he seems to be in a nice groove early in the year. Rose has two top five finishes in his last two events played and he was sixth last year at this tourney so he seems to not mind this three-course setup. His style fits the type of golfer I am looking to target and at $9,200 he still leaves you plenty of room to roster some other big names.
J.B Holmes $8,400 – Holmes gets a nice boost by getting a guaranteed three rounds because he really racks up the DraftKings points even when he is playing poorly. Had a solid showing last week and can absolutely bomb it off the tee. I am a little concerned that he does not fit my profile of hitting a lot of GIR, but with two straight top 15’s at this tournament he seems to be able to use his ability to bomb it off the tee to his advantage even at this shorter course setup.
Patrick Reed $8,300 – Ugh. Reed really was not good last week and on Sunday the wheels completely fell off for him. Having said that I think this is a great bounce back spot for Reed at a tournament he has a great track record at. Reed was sixth here last year, and has two top ten results over the last four years at this Pro-Am. I have mentioned before that I like to target Reed at events where motivation can be a factor as he always plays hard and should be able to adjust to the unique structure of a tournament like this. He does not hit as many GIR as I would like, but I am willing to overlook that due to his great scrambling ability which helps negate some of the erratic approaches. Weather does not concern me with Reed as his play seems to translate to ugly conditions which is a possibility here.
Chris Kirk $7,500– Kirk has not been making much noise in the first couple of weeks of 2017, but he also is not playing poorly either. Each of the last two tourneys he played in he had one poor round which derailed his chances. He was 34th last week and he excels in a lot of the categories I am looking at this week. He should be able to hit a lot of GIR and set himself up with decent length birdie putts which can negate some his struggles on Poa Annua greens. I like the price at 7.5k and think that he should be able to put up a solid showing with the potential for a top 10 finish.
Sean O’Hair $7,300 – Most weeks I barely even notice that Sean O’Hair is in the field until a few days go by as he is not someone I usually have any exposure to. He caught my eye this week though because it seems everything I look at has him pointing in the right direction. He is a course horse with great results at this tourney and his style and current form seem to be in nice spots for a good showing again this week.
Shane Lowry $7,000 – Had him last week and he was solid coming in T16th while putting god awful. As often discussed, putting has the most variance and I am not overly concerned with last week’s poor effort. Hoping he can get that corrected this week and I really like this spot for him, especially if the weather is bad. Lowry has experience with links golf which helps with Pebble Beach and does not mind the ugly windy conditions if that is what we get. Respectable showings last two years in this tournament and should not be too popular making him a sneaky GPP play and my favorite play of the week.
Robert Garrigus $6,600 – Deep GPP play here, but Garrigus is only $200 above the min salary and has been playing some solid golf here in 2017. He is solid with his approaches and has shown some success at this tournament with three top 30 finishes in the last five years. He did miss the cut the last two years at this event so clearly there is some risk, but at $6,600 you can take a flier on him which opens up your salary cap and he does have the ability to get dialed in a rack up the birdies. Again, with every golfer getting three rounds you can afford to take some chances on some low owned higher risk players this week.
Below are a few guys that I will be either all out fading or plan to have less exposure than the field will in GPPs.
Jon Rahm $9,600 – Love Rahm and as I have previously mentioned he is a monster, but this is not a situation I love for him. Coming off a win two weeks ago, and then going to the Waste Management in AZ where he went to school seems like it sets up for a prime letdown spot this week. He is talented enough to compete any time he plays, but paying a premium for him this week is not something I will be looking to do much of. He also does struggle with scrambling and if he misses these smaller greens he could find himself struggling to get up and down.
Jim Furyk $7,500 – Furyk is one of the last players to get back into action from the winter layoff and he has been off for a few months now. That is a really long layoff and it is anyone’s guess where his game is at this point without him playing yet in 2017. I will mostly be taking a wait and see approach with Furyk this week and prefer other options around his price point.
Good luck everyone!
Ben aka @JazzrazDFS on Twitter