Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What to Look For - Pebble Beach Pro-Am

The Pebble Beach Pro-Am is played on 3 different courses (Pebble Beach Golf Links, Monterey and Spyglass). There is a 54-hole cut with the players making the cut playing Pebble Beach twice and those that miss the cut only playing Pebble Beach once.  The real course to get on was Cypress Point, usually ranked in the top-5 golf courses in the world.  The PB Pro-Am used to play Cypress Point, but the course was dropped from the rotation for refusing to accept blacks as members.

The pro-am is less celebrity than it was in the past and is more about wealthy CEO's and hedge fund managers that most have probably never heard of.  On Tour, typically the main Pro-Am is on Wednesday (they also have a Monday Pro-Am).  I know that for 1 person to participate in the Wednesday Pro-Am at Bay Hill the cost is $8,000.

The Tour players are a bit torn on playing here because they like the courses, but the weather is really iffy there this time of year and playing 6 hour rounds isn't exactly the most fun thing out there.

It's also a group of courses that don't really favor any particular golfer.  Expect the make %'s to be way down because of the old school design which features small and very undulated greens.  Typically, Pebble has the lowest make %'s on Tour from 3-15 feet.

Furthermore, the ball doesn't get driven as far as you will be hard pressed to see players average more than 290 yards on all of their drives.  This is due to the weather, the softness of the course and having to lay-up on quite a few holes.

While the socres are low here at the Pro-Am, they rise dramatically when Pebble hosts the US Open due to the rougher conditions and they move the tees further back.  The US Open tee on the par-3 17th is about 50 yards back from where the Pro-Am tees are.  That's why Mr. Nicklaus hit that 1-iron while you'll see much shorter irons in 17 this week.

The course tends to favor golfers with a lot of experience on the course.  That's why Cali guys like Mickelson, Woods and Charlie Wi have played well here.

18 is a historically great hole.  Unfortunately the ball flies so far thee day that it takes some of the competitive beauty away from the hole.  Then you have the legendary 17th hole and the very underrated 16th hole.  Watch out for the 14th hole where the field average is greater than par which is rare for a par-5 on Tour.

Projected Winning Score: -17


Dustin Johnson +800
Jordan Spieth +800
Phil Mickelson +1600
Brandt Snedeker +1800
Webb Simpson +5500


JJ Spaun +6600
Daniel Summerhays +15000
Brian Stuard +20000


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