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The stars will shine at Pebble Beach this week when a full field of 156 professionals are joined by a fellow amateur player, many of whom are celebrities or high-level executives.
The event is played on a trio of courses for the first three rounds before finishing on the host course on Sunday.
After the third day, the top 60 and ties play the final round at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Pebble Beach Golf Links (campo anfitrión):
This iconic seaside course is this week’s host. That means two rounds will be played in PBGL as long as you clear the 54-hole cutoff line.
Looking at the scorecard, we see a par 72 playing under 7,000 yards (6972). One of the shortest routes used in TOUR.
Given the time of year the game is played, it’s often sweater season here. When you add the dense air at sea level and gusty coastal winds, the weather is undoubtedly one of the golf course’s key defenses.
As you would expect from a course of this length, distance is not a requirement.
Three of the par 5s are clocked under 545 yards and six of the par 4s are played at 404 yards or less. The latter results in many wedges in the hand.
Generally, this is a second-strike course where approach play is the name of the game.
Last but not least, the greens are some of the smallest on the PGA TOUR, averaging just 3,500 square feet. The PGA TOUR average is closer to 6,500 square feet.
For grasses, golfers will see poa annua and ryegrass from tee to green with poa annua surfaces running relatively slow on the stimp (10.5 feet).
Spyglass Hill Golf Course:
Looking at the Spyglass scorecard, you’ll see a par 72 layout that plays just over 7,000 yards (7041).
Again, this is not a course that demands distance, but short doesn’t always mean easy.
Even though par 5s look juicy on paper, Spyglass produces just 0.27 eagles per 72 holes, putting it well below average compared to TOUR average eagle rates.
This Robert Trent Jones design has green sizes averaging 5,000 square feet, which is still smaller than the TOUR average but much larger than the tiny Pebble Beach GL targets.
If bad weather strikes, many golfers have enjoyed the arboreal nature of Spyglass, which gives them a little bit of protection from Mother Nature. When the winds are calm, this is generally the toughest of the three courses.
In terms of turf types, golfers will see ryegrass and poa annua, similar to the host course.
Monterey Peninsula Country Club (coastal course):
Thie Shore Course is back in the rotation this year. It was shelved last year due to COVID-19 hitting the pro-am portion of the event. With all the fans back in action this week, they’ll need the third course to finish each round on time.
The MPCC is a par 71 but has four par 5s. This is where the scoring magic happens.
Sung Kang | he holds the course record here, having shown what is possible at MPCC when he shot 60, 11 under par, during the second round of the 2016 edition. That remains the best 18-hole scoring in tournament history.
If you don’t get a 68 or higher during your Monterey round, you can probably kiss your chances of winning the tournament goodbye.
MPCC is relatively generous from the start. It has plenty of bunkers and dump areas, but many of them don’t even come into play for these PGA TOUR pros.
This course also has the largest approach targets (6,000 square feet average green size).
It’s more of the same when it comes to artificial turf (bentgrass/rye/poa tee-to-green and poa annua putting surfaces). With poa annua greens on all three courses, there are plenty of three-putts this week. I mean A LOT.
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Quotes in the course
Phil Mickelson: “I grew up on poa annua greens, so it’s a grass I’m comfortable with. Not just putting on, but jumping, hopping and hitting full shots. It can be a challenge for the guys if they are not used to it. It’s something I’ve felt very comfortable with over the years.”
gary bosque: «A lot of the mental this week too. You are playing with amateurs, they are long rounds, it is a mental routine. So I think you have to be prepared for that and be mentally prepared for it.”
Steve Stricker [on why he’s skipped the event so many times]: “conditions, greens soft and bumpy, cold weather, not really my cup of tea.”
Jordan Spieth: “I lowered my expectations on the greens and just agreed to hit putts at the right speed and put them around the right line, and if they fell, they fell. If not, go ahead and hit as many greens in regulation as possible.”
nick taylor: “I grew up with poa annua so I have a certain level of comfort with them…Occasionally they will tune out and you will do your best and hope they come in.
Patience and poa annua are keywords this week at the AT&T Pro-Am.
Using historical data from this week’s venue, we can look at other courses on the PGA TOUR schedule with crossover success (or failure). These are the courses that appear frequently:
TPC River Highlands
TPC South Wind
It’s a mix of courses here. Major themes include ryegrass rough, bent/poa greens, short courses.
Thursday: Sunny with a maximum of 62 degrees. Winds from 6 to 10 MPH.
Friday:: Sunny with a maximum of 64 degrees. The wind sat at 4 to 8 MPH.
Saturday:: Partly sunny with a high of 60 degrees. Winds from 4 to 8 MPH.
Rain threats are rare and the wind forecast is light. That can always change when you play on the coast, but as of now these seem like the ideal conditions to score compared to many previous editions that feature cold and wet conditions.
golfers to watch
The California Kid opens as a pre-tournament favorite on the betting board. He finished T11 or better in three of his five appearances at this event, including a T3 last year. Most recently, he opened the new year with consecutive top 10 finishes in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and The American Express.
The Florida state product is known for its comfort in bermudagrass, but the poa annua greens at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am haven’t bothered it too much over the years. He posted a T10 and T5 in his first two starts at the AT&T Pro-Am before winning last year’s edition.
The Aussie was a racehorse at Torrey Pines and that comfort helped him get into contention last week at Farmers. He now heads to Pebble Beach, which is another place that has been very kind to him over the years. Day is a regular at the AT&T Pro-Am for the year, racking up a record 12-for-12 with all but two of them doubling as the top 15.
The Texan is known for being one of the best wedge players on TOUR, so it’s no surprise to see him compete regularly in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, as these courses give you plenty of wedges in hand. Spieth won the 2017 AT&T Pro-Am, but he also has four other finishes of T9 or better, in nine total starts here. He settled for 20th (Hero World Challenge), T21 (Sentry TOC), and MC (Farmers) since becoming a first-time dad, but this week’s spot certainly comes across as a potential spot to break the slump in the schedule. .
The Stanford product pleased the DFS players last week with an ace at Torrey Pines while taking on the Farmers. Now, he heads to Pebble Beach, where he has posted T5 and 2nd finishes the last two years. Market makers are well aware of that history of events as he opens the week sixth on the odds sheet (1/28).
1. patrick cantlay
2. Daniel Berger
3. will zalatoris
4. Jordan Spieth
5. Cameron Tringale
6. justin rose
7. power of seamus
8. Inconformista McNealy
9. jason day
10 Lanto griffin
11. Matt Fitzpatrick
12 Christiaan Bezuidenhout
13 Myth Pereira
14 kevin streelman
15. Dean Burmester
sixteen. mackenzie hughes
17 tom hoge
18 Denny McCarthy
19 kevin kisner
20 ryan palmer