The West Coast Swing continues this week with one of the tour's iconic events, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
The PGA Tour's West Coast swing continues this week with one of the tour's oldest and most iconic events, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
The event formerly known as the Bing Crosby Clambake takes place over three courses on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula: Spyglass Hill, Monterey Peninsula Country Club's Shore Course and Pebble Beach. Each participant will play one round at each course before a 54-hole cut, with the final round taking place at Pebble Beach.
This week will be a preview of June's U.S. Open, which is also at Pebble Beach. Pebble will play much firmer, faster and more difficult for the Open, but it's still a rare opportunity for players to play two rounds at the U.S. Open course just four months before game time.
The field lacks top-end star power outside of world No. 2 Dustin Johnson, who is coming off a win in Saudi Arabia, but has good depth and an absolute diamond in the rough: Hosung Choi, the 45-year-old Korean who has become a viral sensation thanks to his...uh...unorthodox swing and happy-go-lucky demeanor, is making his PGA Tour debut this week.
Like the Desert Classic a few weeks ago, this tournament also doubles as a pro-am competition, meaning each professional is paired up with a wealthy and/or famous amateur player. But unlike the Desert Classic—which also used to be name for its celebrity benefactor, Bob Hope—the pro-am competition is four rounds, leaving open the possibility of a pro having to stick around for Sunday's round despite missing the cut on his own ball.
Here's everything you need to know.
Three old, iconic venues this week, and all three appear on most outlet's list of the top 100 golf courses in America. Another interesting note is that none of the courses will play more than 7,000 yards this week; these are old-school tracks with small greens that prioritize shotmaking and accuracy over bomb-and-gouge.
We'll start with the "least" famous and only private track of the three, MPCC Shore. Originally laid out by Robert Baldock in 1960, it was given a remodel by Mike Strantz in 2003 and currently measures 6,958 yards (par 71) from the championship tee. Like its publicly accessible counterparts, the Shore course is situated right on the ocean—hence the name—and delivers stunning views of the Pacific.
Spyglass Hill is just barely the longest of the three courses at 6,960 yards. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in the 1960s, Spyglass' first five holes hug the peninsula's coastline before it takes a turn into the woods for the final 13. Its signature hole is probably the 4th, where the green is shaped like a strip of bacon and features a deep swail in the middle.
And then there's Pebble Beach, which stakes a strong claim for a place on the Mt. Rushmore of golf courses. (While we're here: Augusta National and St. Andrews are mortal locks...the fourth? I'm not so sure). At roughly 6,800 yards, it's the shortest course on the PGA Tour all season and, not coincidentally, has the smallest average green size (3,500) of any on Tour. The front nine of Pebble Beach is unrivaled in its sheer drama and memorability—the first and second holes head outward from the clubhouse before the third turns left onto the ocean, leading the player to arguably the most stunning stretch (4-10) of golf holes anywhere. The 7th is one of the most famous and beautiful holes in all of golf, a short wedge shot complicated by a ridiculous view and siwrling winds.
The finishing hole ain't no slouch either: a reachable (with a good drive) dogleg left with the waves of the Pacific reminding you of the trouble that lurks left.
It's not too difficult to understand why Jack Nicklaus said if he had one more round to play in his life, it'd be at Pebble Beach.
DJ is the only top-10 player in the field this week, and his history at Pebble Beach is both positive and negative: he famously blew the lead in the 2010 U.S. Open with a final-round 82, but he's also a two-time winner of the event and finishes second last year. There is some nice depth, though with six guys ranked between 10 and 20 teeing it up: Tony Finau, Jason Day, Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed, Patrick Cantlay and Matt Kuchar. Jordan Spieth, who has fallen outside the world top 10, will be there, as will Paul Casey and Adam Scott. Phil Mickelson will play, and Lefty is searching for his fifth title at Pebble. Ted Potter Jr., who stared down DJ to win last year's title in one of the bigger upsets in recent memory, is back to defend his title. Graeme McDowell, who won the 2010 U.S. Open, is playing. And, of course, many eyes will be fixated on the contorting body of Hosung Choi, who makes his PGA Tour debut (alongside pro-am partner Aaron Rodgers) this week.
Here are some notable groupings for Thursday, which as of now is all that's listed. All times are EST. Here's a full list of tee times.
Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth — 11:11 a.m. (MPCC)
Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed — 11:55 a.m. (MPCC)
Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay — 12:06 p.m. (MPCC)
Tommy Fleetwood, Russell Henley — 11:11 a.m.* (MPCC)
All times EST.
Thursday, Friday — 3-6 p.m. on Golf Channel
Saturday — 1-2:45 p.m. on Golf Channel, 3-6 p.m. on CBS
Sunday — 1-2:45 p.m. on Golf Channel, 3-6:30 p.m. on CBS
2018 — Ted Potter Jr. (-17)
2017 — Jordan Spieth (-19)
2016 — Vaughn Taylor (-17)
2015 — Brandt Snedeker (-22)
2014 — Jimmy Walker (-11)
2013 — Brandt Snedeker (-19)
2012 — Phil Mickelson (-17)
2011 — D.A. Points (-15)
2010 — Dustin Johnson (-16)
Dustin Johnson +550 — Two-time winner of event, coming off a victory
Jason Day +900
Jordan Spieth +1800 — Won here in 2017; in worst slump of pro career
Tony Finau +2000
Patrick Cantlay +2200
Tommy Fleetwood +2500 — Will like his chances in June
Matt Kuchar +2500
Phil Mickelson +2500 — Four-time winner of this event nearly won in Desert
Adam Scott +3000
Branden Grace +3300
Chez Reavie +3300 — T2 last year, two top-fours in last three events
Patrick Reed +3300
Paul Casey +3300 — T2 in his last start in SIngapore
Shane Lowry +4000
Adam Hadwin +4500
Brandt Snedeker +4500 — Two-time winner of this event
Matthew Fitzpatrick +5000 — Accurate Brit's game would seem to fit well
Rafa Cabrera Bello +5000
Sung-Jae Im +5000
While there was no preview column last week, I did identify Rickie Fowler as one of three players to wager on, and he cashed in at 18-1. That's our second hit in four weeks after correctly calling Matt Kuchar at 40-1 to win the Sony Open. We're going outside the box yet again this week and picking California native Chez Reavie, who has two top-four finishes in his last three starts and finished tied for second here last year. Reavie isn't long at all, but that's not what matters this week. He is, however, accurate, and that does matter—Reavie is seventh in driving accuracy, 10th in strokes gained approaching the green and 26th in strokes gained around the green. Other players worthy of wagers: Tommy Fleetwood (+2500), whom I picked to win the upcoming U.S. Open at Pebble and Jason Day (+900), who tied for second last year.