The PGA Tour rolls into Pebble Bach California right off the heels of a Jason Day playoff victory in the 2015 edition of the Farmers Insurance Open. Carmel Bay and the Del Monte forest will provide the surrounding picturesque views while the tour plays the 2015 edition of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am has a long and storied history. The past champions at the AT&T are a distinguished group of Hall of Famers as well as current PGA Tour stars. Imagine having you name next to Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Payne Stewart, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson (4-time winner) and Mark O’Meara (5-time winner).
Dates: February 12 – 15 2015
Course: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Monterey Peninsula CC, Spyglass Hill GC
Pebble Beach – Par72, 6,816 yards
Monterey CC – Par 70, 6,838 yards
Spyglass Hill GC – Par 72, 6,858 yards
Television Coverage (Times):
Thursday: Golf Channel 6:30 – 9:30 PM EST
Friday: Golf Channel 6:30 – 9:30 PM EST
Saturday: Golf Channel 1 – 2:30 PM EST, CBS 3 -6 PM EST
Sunday: Golf Channel 1 – 2:30 PM EST, CBS 3 – 6:30 PM EST
Purse: $6.8 million total purse, $1.224 million winner share
The swing holes section of this piece breaks down three to five holes that will decide a tournament. But the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is a multi-course event. I am going to focus on Pebble Beach Golf Links since that is the place that truly matters over the weekend.
It is hard to talk about Pebble Beach and not at least mention the seventh hole. It plays all of 106 yards and is one of the shortest holes any professional will see in tournament golf. How can a course get away with such a short hole? It is all about the wind. Depending on direction, players could play as little as a lob wedge into the green yet with other conditions players could hit a seven or even six iron. Pretty insane right?
The eighth hole at Pebble Beach is a Par-4 that traverses 418 yards. While I normally talk about the approach or the green, this hole is all about the tee shot. You cannot grip it and rip it here because the tours best will meet with the waves and a watery grave. The blind tee shot here will call for either a hybrid or 3-wood. The difference between birdie and double here is all about choosing and executing off the tee.
The 13th hole is feast or famine for the field. Players will be thinking birdie on the tee and that should be the mindset but they still have to focus. The right side of the fairway brings three bunkers into play as well as three bunkers of a similar configuration near the green. Execute and birdie is for the taking but get amped up or miss-club and players could be forced to chip back from over the green off a tight lie onto one of the fastest putting surfaces of the week. That is how double-bogey comes into play.
The closing hole at Pebble Beach is postcard worthy. The 18th will play as a Par-5 at 543 yards and has been host to some of the greatest moments in recent memory. The coastline comes into play off the tee as players will have to decide just how aggressive they want to be. A hammered tee shot just might run through into the rough and force players to lay up. While it is true that only about 25 percent of the field can get there is two, the fairway must be found to have any shot. From there it is lay up or fire away and swing your way into immortality.
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Top Picks
A strong field is always present at Pebble Beach. With 13 of the World’s top-30 in the field, there is no change this year and picking or predicting a winner at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is quite the adventure. Let’s take a look at three players that I would predict to be right in the hunt coming down the stretch on Sunday at Pebble Beach.
|Jason Day||This year Jason Day has played in four official events and finished fifth at the Hero World Challenge, tied for third at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, tied for 17th at the Sony and a playoff victory just last week. Historically at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am Jason has not won but has shown an affinity for the course and the format as evident by his sixth place finish in 2013, 14th place finish in 2009 and sixth place finish in 2008. Day has a powerful, solid, and repeatable swing that allows his to avoid horrible stumbles in pressure moments. People say I back him to much but this year the potential is shining through while finally making me look good.|
|Jimmy Walker||Last season he got going in a big way with three victories including three wins in his opening eight events including the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.. He picked up where he left off this year with four top-10s in six events including a tie for seventh last week and a win at the Sony Open. The defending champion is back in the saddle. Look out, the FedExCup points leader is ready to fire away.|
|Jordan Spieth||It is true that Jordan missed the cut last week at the Farmers but I am willing to let it slide. The week prior he did finish tied for seventh. He also captured the unofficial Hero World Challenge with a 26-under week. He debuted here in 2013 and finished tied for 22nd. Last year he stepped up and finished tied for fourth. He fired three 67s and if he can avoid that 78 that killed him last year he can be in the hunt on Sunday.|