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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - One-and-Done

Wrapping up our look at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, it's time to identify our one-and-done and name the Yahoo! starters.

The one-and-done essentially came down to three players. Jason Day, Hunter Mahan and Jimmy Walker. I absolutely would not try and talk you out of any of the above.

I'm taking Walker. In some ways this is a stubborn pick, as I had Pebble Beach in mind for JW as far back as his win at the Frys.com Open. In fact, part of my rationale for not playing him in that event (big mistake) was that I wanted him for this week. It's hard for me to imagine him winning for the third time this season, but if he's going to do it this is on the short list of places. His last three finishes here are T9, T9, T3, and his win at Sony isn't that far in the past. Perhaps the biggest weakness in his game is finding fairways, but this three-course rota generally offers fairways that are easy to hit. and greens that are small, thus somewhat assuaging his weakness. His strengths are power and putting, and the 54 greens he'll see this week are difficult to putt. He should be able to separate himself from the field with his flat stick. Bad putters are still going to putt badly. Average putters may struggle more than normal. If the elite putters can prevent a falloff, they stand to gain strokes.

Mahan's biggest pro is his form, finishing T4 last week, and his course history isn't far behind (2, T15, T16). Up until last season, his biggest weeks tended to come after poor-to-average starts. He proved a little more trendy last year, so if that keeps up this week could be splendid. An interesting note, he tied for 16th at the WMPO last year and then shared 16th at Pebble the very next week. Most one-and-done gamers would take a T4 and run if he could duplicate the feat! Full disclosure, I play several weekly games and I have hedged against Walker with Mahan in one of those in particular.

Day is great option. The heat he's putting off the last three or four months is along the lines of Walker and Graham DeLaet, and he has the history at Pebble to make him an elite pick. Like Mahan, I have some weekly love for Day spread across my formats. I'll likely play Day in a major or the HP Byron Nelson. That's not to say I'm specifically saving him, but just identifying a likely landing spot.

As for Yahoo!, my rule for the week is to always play guys at Monterey Peninsula and lay off guys at Spyglass Hill. While the advantage to MP and disadvantage to SH isn't dramatic, it will be my strategy until proven otherwise.

That said, my starters are Stadler in A (MP), Day (MP) and Mahan (PB) in B and Walker (PB) in C. The bench is Reed (SH) in A, Spieth and D. Johnson (SH both) in B and McDowell (SH) in C.

As always, best of luck to all this week!

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