Best bets for PGA's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

February 1, 2022 09:51 PM

​Luke List, in his 206th PGA Tour start, earned his first tour win in a playoff over Will Zalatoris last weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open. Zalatoris (18-1 this week at Pebble Beach), led the field for Strokes Gained: Approach and Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green but struggled on the greens. He was the only player in the top 10 to lose strokes putting. List’s victory moved him up from No. 151 to 56 in the OWGR and earned him spots in the Masters and PGA Championship.

​Patrick Cantlay (8-1) finished third at Pebble Beach last year and is the tournament favorite. ​Daniel Berger (14-1) returns as the defending champion and has never finished worse than 10th in three appearances here. Jordan Spieth (20-1) won here in 2017 and finished tied for third with Cantlay last year. Jason Day (20-1) has finished seventh or better here in seven of the last nine years and has the best combined score here in relation to par since 2016. Day finished third last week at Torrey Pines, but this is a big drop in price from triple digits last week.

​Another veteran that emerged with a chance to win last week was Justin Rose (28-1), who was tipped here. Rose would have made the eventual playoff with a birdie at the 18th but found the water and settled for a bogey to finish sixth. Maverick McNealy (28-1), who finished runner-up here last year and fifth in the year prior, grew up around this course as his father, a business executive, plays in the Pro-Am every year.

​Cameron Tringale finished third last week at the Farmers and is priced at 30-1 along with Seamus Power, who was third at the Sony three weeks ago. A trio of international players make their 2022 U.S. debut: Matt Fitzpatrick (40-1), Min Woo Lee (80-1) and Dean Burmester (100-1). 

The Event

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was founded in 1937 as the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am and was played near San Diego before being moved to the Monterey Peninsula after World War II. The Monterey Peninsula Foundation, chaired by Clint Eastwood, is the longtime event organizer and a philanthropic organization. Eastwood was a regular participant in this event until 2016 but still serves as the tournament’s host. 

The starting field consists of 156 professionals and 156 amateurs, with each pro paired with an amateur. A 54-hole cut is made after Saturday's third round, and 60 pros plus the 25 lowest pro-am teams will play Sunday. The pro-am was cancelled last year due to COVID-19 but returns in 2022, as does Monterey Peninsula Country Club to again give this event a three-course rotation before the final round at Pebble Beach on Sunday.

Many golfing legends have won here including five-time winners Phil Mickelson (1998, 2005, 2007, 2012, 2019) and Mark O'Meara (1985, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1997). Other multiple winners include Sam Snead (1937, 1938, 1941, 1950), Jack Nicklaus (1967, 1972, 1973), Johnny Miller (1974, 1987, 1994) and Tom Watson (1977, 1978). Four players have won both an AT&T and a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach: Nicklaus, Watson, Tom Kite and Tiger Woods.

Although the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is one of the longest-running events on the PGA Tour, the field quality has declined in recent years due to its spot on the schedule. Big events at Torrey Pines (Farmers), TPC Scottsdale (Phoenix Open) and Riviera (Genesis Invitational) surround it. Plus, not all players like the pro-am format that can cause six-hour rounds. Furthermore, the added element of the Saudi Invitational has drawn many top players (20 of the top 50 in the OWGR) away from Pebble Beach.

The Courses

Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of the game’s most iconic courses. Designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant in 1919 and later renovated by Arnold Palmer and Thad Layton in 2016, it is a par-72, 6,972-yard coastal layout with nine holes played by the Pacific Ocean. Pebble Beach is the second-shortest annual course on the PGA Tour. It is also heavily bunkered (118 in all). Wind can definitely affect scoring on this exposed track, but the Poa/Ryegrass fairways are the seventh-widest on the PGA Tour at an average of 40.7 yards. The Poa Annua greens are the smallest on tour (3,500 square feet) and slow (10.5 stimpmeter). Pebble Beach has been part of this event’s rotation since 1947 and typically plays as the hardest layout of the week.

Due to the angular hole layouts, Pebble Beach concedes the shortest average driving distance on tour, forcing layups on many holes off the tee and almost completely removing any advantage for longer hitters. The emphasis on approach shots is even higher this week, with the course yielding some of the lowest Greens In Regulation percentages on tour. 

Spyglass Hill Golf Course is a par-72, 7,041-yard tree-lined track. It was designed in 1966 by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and was lengthened a bit in 2019. Spyglass is still the fifth-shortest of the courses played annually on the PGA Tour. It has substantially more protection from the wind than Pebble Beach but can play more difficult. Poa Annua greens await the players here as well, but they are larger (5,000 square feet) and slower (10 stimpmeter) than the ones at Pebble Beach. 

Monterey Peninsula Country Club is a par-71, 6,957-yard course that is more of a coastal/links setup like Pebble Beach. It was designed in 1960 by Bob Baldock and Jack Neville and redesigned in 2003 by Mike Strantz. Monterey typically plays the easiest of the three tracks. The fairways are a Bentgrass/Fescue mix and play into Poa Annua greens that average 6,000 square feet and roll 10.5 on the stimpmeter. 

All three layouts are comparable to the other courses in this event, as well as Port Royal, Sea Island, El Camaleon and Waialae.

Recent History/Winners

2021: Daniel Berger (-18/270); 18-1

2020: Nick Taylor (-19/268); 160-1

2019: Phil Mickelson (-19/268); 25-1

2018: Ted Potter, Jr. (-17/270); 500-1

2017: Jordan Spieth (-19/268); 9-1

2016: Vaughn Taylor (-17/270); 300-1

2015: Brandt Snedeker (-22/265); 25-1

2014: Jimmy Walker (-11/276); 30-1

2013: Brandt Snedeker (-19/267); 14-1

2012: Phil Mickelson (-17/269); 25-1

2011: D.A. Points (-15/271); 80-1

2010: Dustin Johnson (-16/270); 22-1

Statistical Angles

​Strokes Gained: Approach (Last 24 Rounds)

Vaughn Taylor (2016) and Phil Mickelson (2019) both led the fields in Strokes Gained: Approach during their winning weeks. The average rank for recent tournament winners during their winning weeks is ninth.

— Daniel Berger, 30.1

— Tom Hoge, 21.6

— Will Zalatoris, 20.2

— Cameron Percy, 19.7

— Luke Donald, 18.8

— Chez Reavie, 17.9

— Mito Pereira, 17.8

— Vaughn Taylor, 13.6

— Bronson Burgoon, 13.4

— Russell Knox, 13

— Bo Hoag, 12.4

— Christiaan Bezuidenhout, 12.2

Good Drives Gained (Last 24 Rounds)

Good Drives Gained qualifies Good Drives as drives in which the player either hits the fairway or misses the fairway but still hits the green or fringe in regulation. GIRs are tough to hit with the smaller greens of Pebble Beach. This category not only takes into account accurate drives but also second shots, a good stat for a second-shot golf course.

— Russell Knox, 30.1

— Kyle Stanley, 27.6

— Chez Reavie, 26.7

— Alex Smalley, 24.5

— Daniel Berger, 23.7

— Tom Lehman, 23.4

— Ryan Palmer, 22.2

— Aaron Rai, 22.2

— Tyler Duncan, 21.5

— Adam Hadwin, 20.5

— Greyson Sigg, 20.5

— Hayden Buckley, 19.3

GIR Gained (Last 24 Rounds)

Five of the last seven winners at Pebble Beach have finished third or better for Greens In Regulation during their winning weeks.

— Will Zalatoris, 39.5

— Russell Knox, 31.2

— Patrick Cantlay, 26.3

— Ryan Palmer, 25.1

— Chan Kim, 25

— Cameron Percy, 22.3

— Alex Smalley, 22.3

— Greyson Sigg, 21.7

— Austin Eckroat, 20.4

— Patrick Rodgers, 19.8

— Seamus Power, 19.7

— Tyler Duncan, 17.1

Strokes Gained: Around The Green (Last 24 Rounds)

Due to the smaller greens, especially at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill, extra consideration should be given to Strokes Gained: Around The Green.

— Stephan Jaeger, 13.9

— Beau Hossler, 12.9

— Aaron Baddeley, 12.7

— Matt Jones, 12.7

— Denny McCarthy, 12.1

— Matt Kuchar, 11.8

— Jimmy Walker, 11.4

— Scott Piercy, 10.2

— Alex Cejka, 9.4

— Patrick Rodgers, 9.4

— Scott Gutschewski, 9.3

— Chase Seiffert, 9.3

— Mark Hubbard, 9.3

Proximity 100-125 Yards (Last 24 Rounds)

These are all shorter courses, so players will have to be good with their wedges into smaller greens. The number represents total feet gained. 

— Tom Hoge, 240.5

— Andrew Landry, 205

— Kevin Streelman, 180.5

— Davis Riley, 179.6

— Joel Dahmen, 136.1

— Peter Malnati, 135.8

— Jimmy Walker, 135.2

— David Hearn, 131.7

— Ben Kohles, 131.7

— Greyson Sigg, 112.3

— Justin Rose, 110.8

— Christiaan Bezuidenhout, 107.5

Proximity 125-150 Yards (Last 24 Rounds)

— Russell Knox, 261.1

— Austin Eckroat, 259.2 (19 rounds)

— Lee Hodges, 258.4

— Chad Ramey, 239.1

— Andrew Putnam, 223.9

— Daniel Berger, 196

— John Huh, 193.1

— Tyler Duncan, 184.9

— Max McGreevy, 172 (15 rounds)

— Greyson Sigg, 163.2

— Joseph Bramlett, 160.9

— Alex Smalley, 156.2

Strokes Gained: Putting Poa Annua (Last 24 Rounds)

​For the first time in 2022, players will be putting on pure Poa Annua greens. 

— Matt Kuchar, 29.7

— Maverick McNealy, 22.8

— Jonas Blixt, 22.1

— Wyndham Clark, 21.8

— Brian Stuard, 16.9

— Ted Potter Jr., 16.9

— Pat Perez, 16.1

— Mark Hubbard, 15.8

— Andrew Putnam, 14.9

— Peter Malnati, 13.8

— Jimmy Walker, 13.8

— Denny McCarthy, 13.5


​Justin Rose (28-1)

Rose had an outside shot last week to get into a playoff at Torrey Pines, but a ball in the water at 18 sunk his chances. He has finished 12th or better in three of his last four starts. After tinkering with equipment changes and losing confidence in a three-year winless stretch, Rose looks like he has found something again. He has good past form at Pebble Beach with a sixth at the AT&T in 2016 plus a third at the U.S. Open in 2019. Rose was fifth in last week's field for Strokes Gained: Approach. 

Kevin Kisner (50-1)

Kisner began 2022 with back-to-back top 10s in Hawaii including a third in the Sony Open. While Bermuda is his preferred putting surface, he does have some good finishes on Poa greens. During his top 10 here in 2017, he lost three strokes on the greens, but this course profile should fit his game. 

Tom Hoge (60-1)

Hoge nearly got there for this column two weeks ago with a runner-up at The American Express. He was also second last year at Pebble Beach after 54 holes. Hoge is another player who has played his best on shorter coastal tracks. He has finishes of third and 12th at the Sony Open along with a third at the Mayakoba and two top 10s at the RSM Classic (including a fourth-place finish in November). 

Matt Kuchar (66-1)

Kuchar finished seventh three weeks ago at Waialae, which has a strong course correlation to Pebble Beach. He also has wins at Waialae and El Camaleon, which are both shorter, coastal courses. Kuchar is tops in this field for SG: Putting Poa Annua over the last 24 rounds. 

Russell Knox (80-1)

Knox leads this week's field for Good Drives Gained and ranks in the top 10 for GIR Gained and Strokes Gained: Approach. He has had good results here in the past including a seventh last year. 

Chez Reavie (100-1)

Reavie was a runner-up here in 2018 and third at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He ranks third in this field for Good Drives Gained and sixth for Strokes Gained: Approach over the last 24 rounds. 

Greyson Sigg (125-1)

Sigg once won the Carmel Cup at Pebble Beach as an amateur. The two-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2021 is the only player in the field that ranks in the top 10 in proximity from both 100-125 yards and 125-150 yards.

Saudi International

​The event with the best field at the top this week is the Saudi International. Twenty of the top 50 in the OWGR are here as the Saudi International moves from a DP World Tour event to a flagship event on the Asian Tour. Many of the top players will be receiving hefty appearance fees.

Dustin Johnson (7-1), with two wins and a runner-up here in the last three years, is the obvious tournament favorite. D.J. went winless on the PGA Tour last season and failed to win in a calendar year for the first time since 2014, so the Saudi International is his last worldwide win. Cameron Smith is already a winner this year (Tournament of Champions) and makes his debut in this event along with Xander Schauffele, both 12-1. Tyrrell Hatton, also 12-1, finished sixth here on debut last year and finished sixth (Abu Dhabi) and fourth (Dubai) in the last two weeks.

Sergio Garcia (14-1) began his 2022 campaign with a 12th last week in Dubai and finished sixth here in 2020. Tony Finau (16-1) finished runner-up on debut last year. Bryson DeChambeau (16-1) missed the cut last week at Torrey Pines and still seems to be favoring both his left wrist and back. Paul Casey (18-1) finished 12th last week in defense of his Dubai Desert Classic title. Thomas Pieters (20-1) won two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, his second win in four starts, and finished third here in 2020.

Both Joaquin Niemann and Marc Leishman also make their Saudi debuts and are 22-1 along with Shane Lowry. Other notables in the market include Tommy Fleetwood (28-1), Abraham Ancer (33-1), Kevin Na (33-1), Patrick Reed (35-1) Ian Poulter (40-1) and Jason Kokrak (40-1).

The Event

The Saudi International is in its fourth year of existence and has its best field this year. The event is held in King Abdullah Economic City, which was established and developed in 2005. The city is located along the coast of the Red Sea. This event is never without controversy as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s political and human rights issues have been well-documented. Nevertheless, that has not prevented many big-time names from traveling there and scooping up some extra appearance fees.

The tournament ceased to be part of the European Tour after the 2021 edition, and later that year the PGA Tour banned its members from competing in future editions, with the European Tour expected to do the same. In September, the tournament became part of the Asian Tour on a 10-year deal with an increased prize fund of $5 million. In October, it was announced that the event would become the flagship event of the Asian Tour. In December, the PGA Tour said they would grant its members releases to play in the event in 2022, but on the condition that they committed to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in some form in the following years.

In October, Greg Norman announced his association with LIV Golf Investments, whose major shareholder is the Public Investment Fund, an investment arm of Saudi Arabia’s government and the sponsor of this week's tournament. Norman and his investors are attempting to establish a world golf league, funded by the PIF, to rival the PGA Tour. The PIF, led by Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, deputy prime minister and minister of defense for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has over $500 billion in estimated assets that have been used to become a player in global sports, including a 10-year, $650 million deal with Formula One, a 10-year, $500 million deal with World Wrestling Entertainment, an attempted but failed $400 million takeover of the English Premier League's Newcastle United football club, plus numerous other sports investments. This has been termed by critics of the Saudi government as “sportswashing,” which is the practice of investing or hosting sporting events in a bid to obscure the Kingdom’s poor human-rights record.

The Course

The Royal Greens Golf & Country Club was built in 2017 and designed by Dave Sampson of Euro Golf Design. The track plays as a par-72 for members but will play as a par-70 of 7,010 yards this week. The 12 par-4s average around 420 yards, with four of them measuring less than 380 yards. The course is built around four lakes with some holes playing toward and alongside the Red Sea. Native desert and waste areas await poor shots as well as drainage ditches. There are several doglegs, so the course will demand some strategy. The course utilizes Royal Paspalum Dynasty grass throughout. Nevertheless, this is a shorter layout, so wind has to be the primary defense.


2021: Dustin Johnson (-15/265); 11-2

2020: Graeme McDowell (-12/268); 80-1

2019: Dustin Johnson (-19/261); 7-1


​Tyrrell Hatton (12-1)

Hatton posted finishes of sixth and fourth in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He was sixth here on debut last year.

Thomas Pieters (18-1)

While a short-term pattern, Pieters has won every other start dating back to the Portugal Masters in November. Following that victory, he finished 15th at the DP World Tour Championship, then won the season opener in Abu Dhabi and finished 12th last week in Dubai. Pieters has finishes of 10th and third over the last two years in Saudi Arabia, when he was in the midst of a winless drought.

Ian Poulter (40-1)

Poulter has played this event all three years with a best finish of sixth on debut in 2019. A shorter course with wide fairways such as this one will not put Poulter at a deficit off the tee.

Lucas Herbert (50-1)

Herbert's record here is not exactly sparkling with a missed cut and a 27th in two appearances. However, that 27th was the week after he garnered his first worldwide win in Dubai in 2020. Since then, he has gained two more wins, with one each on the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, and is a different player now.

Ras Al Kh​aimah Championship

​Last weekend on the DP World Tour, Rory McIlroy looked to have the Dubai Desert Classic in hand but put one in the water on the 72nd hole to finish third. Viktor Hovland won the event in a playoff over Richard Bland.

This week the tour remains in the United Arab Emirates with the inaugural Ras Al Khaimah Championship, the sixth-largest city in the UAE.

Al Hamra Golf Club is a par-72 that stretches to 7,325 yards. The par-5s are all long and range from 576 to 607 yards. There are three sub-400-yard par-4s, which are all birdie opportunities. The course has a coastal vibe with exposed fairways and desert surroundings complemented by water hazards in the shape of lagoons on a number of holes. Paspalum grass has once again been used for this course, similar to what we saw at Abu Dhabi two weeks ago.


Romain Langasque (25-1)

Langasque has started 2022 with consecutive top-20 finishes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (led the field for SG: Approach last week) versus much stronger fields. He has finishes of fourth and sixth on this golf course in Challenge Tour events. 

J.B. Hansen (35-1)

Hansen concluded 2021 with six finishes in the top 25, including a win at the Dubai Championship. He has finishes of seventh and 13th on this golf course during his Challenge Tour days. 

Ryan Fox (40-1)

Fox led after 36 holes at the Saudi International last year but elected to play at RAK this week, where his chances of victory are much higher. He finished 16th on this course in the 2016 Challenge Tour event. 

Julien Brun (55-1)

Brun was a two-time winner on the Challenge Tour last year to earn his DP World Tour playing privileges for 2022. He finished a respectable 25th in Abu Dhabi against a much stronger field.

Brandon Stone (66-1)

Stone ranked third off the tee last year on the DP World Tour. Al Hamra is a resort-type course that he can attack with his driver.

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