This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Courses: Pebble Beach Golf Links (7,051 yards, par 72) [Host], Spyglass Hill Golf Course (7,041 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,404,000 and 500 FedExCup points
The 2021 version of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am will look much the same as The American Express a few weeks ago in the sense that there will be no Pro-Am portion due to COVID-19. Another noticeable change will be the fact that we will go from three different courses and a 54-hole cut, to just two different courses and a standard 36-hole cut. The 156-man field will play a round at both Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill on Thursday and Friday, before moving exclusively to Pebble Beach for the weekend. Monterey Peninsula Country Club had been in the rotation since 2010 before this year and has typically played as the easiest course.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson was slated to be the heavy favorite, but decided to withdraw from an event he has attended every year since he came out on Tour. The two-time AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Champion decided to take a week off after scoring another victory last weekend in Saudi Arabia. 2017 Champion Jordan Spieth is coming in off his best showing in well over a year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last week. Patrick Cantlay, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, and Phil Mickelson round out some of the other notables that will be set to do battle in Northern California.
The weather is looking pretty dodgy this week, as there is a decent threat of rain all four days and temperatures are not expected to reach 60 degrees. The winds are also expected to kick up on the weekend, making some of the shots around a very exposed Pebble Beach Golf Links all the more interesting. The winning score has been at least 17-under-par in each of the last six editions, but that may very well be a struggle to reach that point, especially considering some tougher hole locations around Pebble Beach with no amateurs.
2020 – Nick Taylor
2019 – Phil Mickelson
2018 – Ted Potter Jr.
2017 – Jordan Spieth
2016 – Vaughn Taylor
2015 – Brandt Snedeker
2014 – Jimmy Walker
2013 – Brandt Snedeker
2012 – Phil Mickelson
2011 – D.A. Points
2010 – Dustin Johnson
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- GIR Percentage
- Driving Accuracy
You'd be hard pressed to find many courses on the PGA Tour with smaller greens than Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. By that token, those that have typically played well here have had a very strong week with their irons and wedges. The greens will play soft, so the name of the game will be much more about trying to control spin, especially considering the immense amount of undulation on some of these surfaces. On most of these holes, it's all about positioning off the tee. You can attack some of these holes in different ways, but even a small miss can be punished making you play away from the hole locations. You can't really overpower Pebble Beach, which is why we have seen so many different types of players prevail here. The greens are typically on the slower and bumpier end for this event, which sometimes can be a shock to the system for players. It's not uncommon to see quite a few missed short putts at Pebble Beach as well considering the high amount of undulation. Lastly, scrambling and SG: Around-the-green can't be forgotten because of the small size of most of these greens. Players are going to face a fair amount of short-sided chips from long rough and challenging bunker shots. There's always opportunities to make birdies will well positioned drives and approaches, but those that are scrambling well will have an easy time staying in contention this week, especially if the weather stays sub-optimal like it's looking.
FanDuel Value Picks
Patrick Cantlay ($11,900)
Cantlay is sitting in third in the FedExCup standings this season. His whole game through the bag has been on point, ranking fifth in SG: Around-the-green, 38th in SG: Putting, and 20th in SG: Tee-to-green. He is also seventh in birdie average, fifth in scrambling, and 11th in one-putt percentage. Cantlay owns two career top-11 finishes in four starts in this event and is coming off a runner-up last time out at The American Express.
Paul Casey ($11,400)
Casey had an uncharacteristic finish to 2020, but has picked it back up in 2021 and gotten off to a great start. He finished T8 at The American Express, notched a win in Dubai, and posted a T12 last week in Saudi Arabia. Pebble Beach just fits Casey's style due to his precision ball striking and solid touch around the greens. The Englishman finished T8 in this event back in 2018 and was runner-up in 2019.
Will Zalatoris ($11,200)
The 24-year-old just continues to impress. In eight starts this season he has only missed one cut with six top-20 finishes. Zalatoris has the ability to get the ball out there and ranks sixth this season in SG: Total. He is also fourth in SG: Approach, sixth in scoring average, and 26th in scrambling. Despite his inexperience, I don't think anyone would be surprised if Zalatoris were to find himself in the winner's circle sometime soon.
Jason Day ($11,000)
Other than a T7 in Houston and a T12 at the RSM Classic, it has been a tough season for the Aussie. Day has also missed his first two cuts of 2021. So why would you pick him this week? Well Day's record at Pebble Beach may very well be among the best of any player at any event in which they have never won. He's 11-for-11 with seven top-six finishes and nine top-15's. The poor weather may also play into Day's hands as one of the best scramblers over the last decade.
Longer Shots with Value
Matthew NeSmith ($9,600)
NeSmith is coming off a strong T7 showing at TPC Scottsdale last week. It was his fourth top-20 finish of the season. NeSmith has struggled at times with the flat stick, but one area where he has been on top of it is his ball striking. The 27-year-old ranks 12th in SG: Approach, 32nd in SG: Tee-to-green, and third in GIR percentage. NeSmith also finished T11 last season at Pebble Beach.
Peter Malnati ($9,400)
Malnati has to be considered one of the top surprise performers early in the season. He sits 22nd in the FedExCup Standings on the strength of three top-10's and five top-25's. The 33-year-old has emerged as one of the top putters in the game, ranking fourth in SG: Putting, third in overall putting average, and fourth in one-putt percentage. Malnati is also 34th in SG: Approach, ninth in SG: Total, and eighth in birdie average. He recorded a T11 last season in this event.
Russell Knox ($9,200)
Knox has only gone 6-for-11 this season, but has made the most of when he has made the weekend by scoring five top-25's. The Scot's putter has gone cold at times, but his iron play has been very strong ranking 33rd in SG: Approach, fifth in GIR percentage, and 21st in proximity to the hole. Knox enjoys the type of conditions we will see around Pebble Beach this week and has finished top-15 here in two of the last three years.
Kyle Stanley ($8,800)
As I mentioned in the Champion's Profile, with how small the greens are this week you will have to be very precise with your approach shots. That is exactly where Stanley has thrived this season, ranking 13th in SG: Approach, 24th in GIR percentage, and 13th in proximity to the hole. The 33-year-old has also always been a very accurate driver, despite his lack of distance. Stanley has gone T32-T18-T36 the last three weeks.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
With Dustin Johnson out of the field, there really is no clear favorite. Overall the field is on the shallower end, so going anywhere below $8,500 this week wouldn't really be advised. Jordan Spieth is probably the biggest name in this field and has a very strong record at Pebble Beach, but an $11,100 salary after having just one good week doesn't do it for me. Other intriguing players I thought about including this week were Francesco Molinari ($10,900), Kevin Streelman ($10,400), and Matt Jones ($9,700).