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Saturday, February 7, 2015

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - Preview

The next stop on the PGA TOUR's West Coast Swing is the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and here is a preview to kick off this week's research.

The AT&T shares traits from several tournaments already in the books. Like the Humana Challenge, it is a Pro-Am format for the first three days of the competition and utilizes a three-course rotation for the first three rounds. The cut falls after 54 holes, and all action is at Pebble Beach on Sunday. While the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines is not a Pro-Am, it utilizes a two-course rotation and the layouts are much more like that of the Pebble Beach rota than that of the Humana.

In addition to Pebble Beach Golf Links, Monterey Peninsula CC and Spyglass GC will round out the rotation. Each of the three courses are under 7,000 yards and all feature four par 5s. It is worth pointing out that Monterey Peninsula plays to a par of 71 because it has five par 3s, while the others are par 72s.

It's obvious that length is not their defense. Because the courses are situated on the Monterey Peninsula, wind from off the water can be a factor. The greens are also known to be small. Throw in poa annua grass on the putting surface, and there is the defense of the golf course.

Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass GC have been part of the three-course rotation for as far back as you would care to research, but Monterey Peninsula CC took over for Poppy Hills in 2010. It's of minor note, since only 18 holes of the tournament are played out at that venue, but a footnote none the less.

Here is a list of winners and runners-up since 2010.

  • 2010 - Winner: Dustin Johnson (16-under 270) over David Duval and J.B. Holmes (271)
  • 2011 - Winner: D.A. Points (15-under 271) over Hunter Mahan (273)
  • 2012 - Winner: Phil Mickelson (17-under 269) over Charlie Wi (271)
  • 2013 - Winner: Brandt Snedeker (19-under 267) over Chris Kirk (269)
  • 2014 - Winner: Jimmy Walker (11-under 267) over Dustin Johnson and Jim Renner (268)

I always have a hard time figuring out why this list is so heavily skewed towards the bombers. As short as this course lists on the card, it would seem to fit shorter and more accurate players with solid short games. Instead, some of the longest players on the PGA TOUR dot the list above. Namely, Dustin Johnson, J.B. Holmes and Phil Mickelson. Mahan and Walker aren't short themselves. 

That might suggest that the true premium is on par 5 scoring, since there are 16 for the week. 

Because ShotLink data is only available for Pebble Beach (36 of 72 holes), it's hard to get a true read on statistical significance.

We will toss together the normal concoction of current form, course history and statistical data and see what the computer spits out. The power ranking will post no later than Tuesday. 

Happy research! 


  1. Is either one of these course the 'north' course from last week? Meaning stagger starts (yahoo) throughout the 3 days ty!

    1. Nothing as dramatic as last week, but conventional wisdom is to avoid Spyglass when possible.

    2. Nothing as dramatic as last week, but conventional wisdom is to avoid Spyglass when possible.