Weekly Preview: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Weekly Preview: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, CA

The PGA Tour heads to Pebble Beach for this week's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

We sure have come a long way since the days of the Bing Crosby Clambake and the decades that followed which witnessed the biggest names in golf flocking to this event year after year. Now it has clouded by controversy, as many big names have chosen their pocketbook over their conscious and have headed to Saudi Arabia for the week. The result has sent this once-prized event into unfamiliar territory, as the big names that went overseas will eventually play this event in the coming years, but only because they are forced to. What a strange turn of events for a tournament that once brought out the best in golf and now is viewed as a penance.

Anyway, what we lack in elite golfers we make up for in courses, three to be exact: Monterey Peninsula, Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach. Monterey is the easiest of the bunch, but it will be played as a par-71, so that has to be factored in for those playing DFS contests. Pebble Beach can be the easiest or the most difficult depending on the breeze. If there's a lot of wind in the forecast, you can expect higher scores at Pebble than any of the other courses. They'll all end up playing Pebble Beach on Sunday, so anyone with a good track record here knows how to get

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, CA

The PGA Tour heads to Pebble Beach for this week's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

We sure have come a long way since the days of the Bing Crosby Clambake and the decades that followed which witnessed the biggest names in golf flocking to this event year after year. Now it has clouded by controversy, as many big names have chosen their pocketbook over their conscious and have headed to Saudi Arabia for the week. The result has sent this once-prized event into unfamiliar territory, as the big names that went overseas will eventually play this event in the coming years, but only because they are forced to. What a strange turn of events for a tournament that once brought out the best in golf and now is viewed as a penance.

Anyway, what we lack in elite golfers we make up for in courses, three to be exact: Monterey Peninsula, Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach. Monterey is the easiest of the bunch, but it will be played as a par-71, so that has to be factored in for those playing DFS contests. Pebble Beach can be the easiest or the most difficult depending on the breeze. If there's a lot of wind in the forecast, you can expect higher scores at Pebble than any of the other courses. They'll all end up playing Pebble Beach on Sunday, so anyone with a good track record here knows how to get around that track.

LAST YEAR

Daniel Berger shot a final-round 65 on his way to a two-stroke victory over Maverick McNealy.

FAVORITES

Patrick Cantlay (7-1)

It's going to be a thin field, and Cantlay is starting to creep into elite territory, so it makes sense that he's the only player with a single digit on the left side of his odds. Cantlay has not win this event, but he's never missed a cut here and has scored two top-10s in five tries, including a T3 this past year. What this really comes down to is, can Cantlay perform his best as the favorite? It's not something that everyone can do, but he's about a cool as it gets, so I doubt his newfound status will throw him off.

Daniel Berger (10-1)

The defending champ enters the fray at a reasonable number considering the strength – or lack thereof – of this field. Berger's win this past year wasn't much of a surprise, as prior to that win he had posted top-10s in his only two starts in this event. He's got the track record here and his form is solid, with a T5 at the Tournament of Champions a few weeks back and a T20 this past week at the Farmers Insurance Open. Honestly, his only major hurdle might be Cantlay.

Jordan Spieth (16-1)

There isn't a lot of chalk to consider, but everyone who falls in that group seems to have good history here. Spieth is no exception, as he's posted five top-10s in nine starts, including a win in 2017. The question with Spieth is his form, as he missed the cut in his most recent start. That's why you're getting him at this number. If his form was great or even good, he'd be closer to Berger, so there is value here even if he's not on top of his game.

THE NEXT TIER

Jason Day (20-1)

Although he wasn't in contention by the end of the final round Saturday – it feels weird writing Saturday – he started the final round within range of the lead. Day hasn't been inside the winner's circle in quite a while, and it can take a couple close calls to break a drought, so perhaps last week's result set him up to come out on top here. Day's track record in this event is magnificent, with eight top-10s in 12 starts, including each of his last five.

Justin Rose (20-1)

Is Rose back? It's been a tough couple years for him, but he's only three years removed from an $8 million season on the PGA Tour and two years removed from a $4 million finish, so unless his game fell completely off a cliff, he should have something left in the tank. He posted a T6 this past week at the Farmers event, so perhaps he's on his way back.

Maverick McNealy (25-1)

McNealy creeps into semi-favorite territory for the first time in his career. That's no surprise, as t the secret is out – he thrives on the West Coast. McNealy has shown his affinity for the left coast – and especially this event – over the past couple years and this could be the time he breaks through. McNealy finished runner-up this past year and the year before he posted a T5. A win is a lot to ask, but I'd be surprised if he finished outside the top 10.

LONG SHOTS

Matt Jones (60-1)

Raise your hand if you had Jones winning this past year. Okay, raise your hand if you had Jones finishing top-3 in the Tournament of Champions and closing with rounds of 61 and 62. No one? Okay, so Jones is obviously a long shot to win any given Sunday, but he showed he can go low on the weekend as recently as a month ago and his track record here is pretty impressive. Jones missed the cut just once in his past nine tries and posted a T5 in 2020.

Denny McCarthy (60-1)

This pick comes way out of left field, as I rarely take anyone with poor history in an event, even the long shots. Sometimes, though, you go with your gut, and mine is telling me that McCarthy is going to win at some point this season. He's definitely trending in the right direction, posting top-20s in four of his past five starts. His most recent start resulted in a T6 at The American Express, so maybe this is the week.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Patrick Cantlay - Cantlay will undoubtedly have value down the road, but since he's not a force in the majors just yet, you'll want to find somewhere else on the schedule to deploy him. What better spot than one where he's the favorite by quite a bit and the field is lacking in firepower? Just know he will be extremely popular.

Moderately-owned Pick: Daniel Berger - With Zalatoris withdrawing, the field opens up a bit after Cantlay, but I'm expecting such a large number to go with Cantlay that anyone outside of him will be moderately used at best. It is never easy defending a title, but Berger has the mentality to do so, and with Zalatoris out there's one less threat.

Lightly-owned Pick: Jason Day - I've got a feeling that Cantlay and Berger are going to soak up so many spots that anyone other than those two is going to be lightly owned. As such, I'm siding with Day here, as his track record is outstanding and his form is as good as it's been in a few years.

Buyer Beware: Matt Fitzpatrick - Fitzpatrick has played well early in his career, but I feel like the expectations have been set too high. There have been several instances over the years of Europeans who have tons of success overseas but don't quite pan out stateside. I'm not saying that will be Fitzpatrick's fate, but he has yet to live up to the hype. He checks in at 25-1 but his history here is not great.

Last Week: Tony Finau - MC - $0

Season Total: $2,864,071

This Week: Jason Day - This was going to be a tough decision until I realized I already used Cantlay, so I will turn to Day. I would have been fine with Berger or McNealy, but I think Day checks the most boxes. Berger and McNealy are both good picks. I can't argue with either, but Day has the most going for him and this might be the best spot to use him all season.

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Jason Day $11,300
Middle Range: Denny McCarthy $9,900
Lower Range: Sahith Theegala $8,600

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

Last Week: Tony Finau - MC

Streak: 0

This Week: Jason Day - Believe it or not, this pick has nothing to do with my double-up strategy. Day is just simply the best pick in this format. He has played this event 12 times and has yet to miss a cut and he is playing well. The only thing that could get in the way is the back issue that slowed him in the past.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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