Fantasy Insider: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
February 09, 2016
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
- Luke Donald is known to thrive on shorter tracks -- like Pebble Beach. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is the last tournament of the season contested on more than one course, but it’s not the last limited to scoring and FedExCup bonus points in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf driven by AVIS. More on the latter below.
Each in this week’s field of 156 will play one round at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore Course before a scheduled 54-hole cut falls. Survivors will play only Pebble Beach in the finale. (For more on the details of the special cut, please see the Power Rankings.)
Since gamers have the option of modifying lineups after every round, you’re going to want to invest in golfers on the easiest or easiest two tracks. The current rotation of host courses has been in place since 2010, so we have quite a bit of historical data from which to draw logical conclusions.
Excluding final rounds played only at Pebble Beach, of the 18 rounds all three courses have co-hosted, MPCC has ranked as the easiest in relation to par 11 times. (MPCC is up 47 yards to 6,914 due to length added to the par-4 fourth and par-5 sixth holes, but it’s still a par 34-37=71. It was a par 70 from 2010-2013.) This includes in every round last year. Pebble Beach scored the lowest in relation to par five times but not since the third round in 2013.
Meanwhile, Spyglass Hill has ranked as the highest in relation to par 12 times. Pebble Beach has scored the highest five times. Therefore, while there are always exceptions in hindsight, the objective is to lean heavily on MPCC with Pebble Beach as your second option.
As it concerns scoring in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf driven by AVIS, it’s a terrific week to sit out the studs. Consider that Brandt Snedeker’s field-high 320 points at the Farmers Insurance Open (which also limited measurements to scoring and FedExCup bonus points) would have ranked 16th overall at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with all scoring tools plugged in. (Rickie Fowler paced the field at TPC Scottsdale with 419 points. Champion Hideki Matsuyama ranked second with 398.) K.J. Choi totaled just 218 points en route to a runner-up finish at Torrey Pines, or 32 fewer than Snedeker’s bonus alone in the same tournament.
In response to this, I’m not burning the likes of Jordan Spieth and Jason Day. But even though the Masters uses only scoring and bonus points in Segment 2, if it came down to this week’s event or the major to exhaust a third start, it’s no contest.
Finally, the AT&T boasts the last field with 156 golfers until the Valero Texas Open in late April. So, save the Puerto Rico Open opposite the Match Play in late March, golfers buried in the reshuffle will disappear until daylight hours can accommodate the annual parade of 156-man fields.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf driven by AVIS
You'll find my lineup in Expert Picks, but here are others to consider for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Scoring: Jason Day; Ryan Moore; Patrick Reed; Jordan Spieth; Daniel Summerhays
Power Rankings Wild Card
Danny Lee … From my perspective, his solo fourth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open was what I wanted to see in the wake what he achieved in 2015. No, he couldn’t convert the 54-hole lead into his second PGA TOUR title, but what was his first top 10 of the season still resonates for skeptical gamers like me who were concerned about his future focus. Led last week’s field in fairways hit and ranked second in the all-around, too. Not devoid of good vibes at Pebble Beach despite only one cut made. It was a T25 in his debut in 2012 when he co-led after opening with a bogey-free 63 (with two eagles) at Pebble Beach.
Will Wilcox … Said that he was close on Twitter last week and delivered on cue with a T6 at TPC Scottsdale. His 65 was a field low on Sunday. All four of his cuts made worldwide since October are top 10s. Tied for 18th here last year.
Matt Jones … Made as much sense as a viable option entering the CareerBuilder Challenge three weeks ago. It was a site of previous success and his first start since winning the Australian Open in late November, but finished just T34 at PGA WEST. He’s 7-for-8 here with three top 15s, the best of which last year’s T7 when he co-led at the midpoint and sat one back after 54 holes.
Luke Donald … Hasn’t shown since a T16 in 2010, but his rebounding form blends well with his reputation as a threat on shorter tracks this week.
Daniel Summerhays … Didn’t quite fulfill the contrarian play at TPC Scottsdale with a T67, but it was still his first cut made in five tries. It was also his 11th consecutive dating back to the 2015 Wyndham Championship. Now in his sixth straight trip to Pebble Beach, the 32-year-old is after his fifth paycheck here.
Shane Bertsch … Because of the strong core of top talent in play, DFSers may be scraping the bottom of the salary barrel for a guy who can just make the cut. He’s done that in his last four trips, the last two of which after MPCC was added. Temper your expectations in the journeyman, but he’s 5-for-8 this season. Keeps his ball in play, evidenced by ranking 56th in fairways hit. He’s also T38 in proximity to the hole, a facet with added value on small greens.
Jason Dufner … The CareerBuilder champ missed his third straight cut at TPC Scottsdale where he hasn’t broken par in five consecutive rounds now. He’s 2-for-5 at the AT&T but didn’t survive the 54-hole cut in 2007 and finished T55 in the 2009 edition that was shortened to 54 holes. Even if he’s on sale in DFS, there are stronger options.
Justin Rose … What a difference two weeks make. After he was omitted from my Power Rankings for the Farmers Insurance Open, the outcry over his absence was substantial. (I faded him and he missed the cut.) This week, crickets. Nary a word about the Englishman as he makes his debut at Pebble Beach. (He didn’t qualify for the 2010 U.S. Open here even though he won the Memorial earlier in the same month.) Also remember that his weakness is putting, so it’s likely to be neutralized on the Poa annua greens this week. Small targets tend to benefit bad putters, who are usually good ball-strikers, so if you’re looking for a confident angle as to why the sharp-shooting Rose needs to be in your lineup, that’s the one.
Bill Haas … All fantasy sports are relative, and his spot here is as well. He’s making just his second appearance since missing the cut in his first with a PGA TOUR card in 2006. It doesn’t matter that he missed the cut at the Farmers two weeks ago, but there’s enough depth in this field to spell the 33-year-old who will come in handy time and again later this season.
Ryan Palmer … Despite solid form upon arrival, this tournament hasn’t brought out his best. Just one top 25 in 10 tries and that was in 2006 (T23) before MPCC joined the rotation.
Jerry Kelly … You’d be hard-pressed to get paired with a better pro in this tournament, but he’s riding an 0-for-5 slide since 2005.
Jason Bohn … The 42-year-old has been loyal to a tournament where he’s no doubt a hit in the format, but the tournament hasn’t rewarded him with much in return. No better than T40 (2013) in his last seven appearances.
Hunter Mahan … Worthy of pause to course history buffs who see a 6-for-6 slate since MPCC’s inclusion in 2010. He was runner-up in 2011 and finished sixth just two years ago. But, of course, that’s a long two years ago for the 33-year-old who has just one top-30 finish in his last seven starts worldwide. His is the kind of setup whereby if he plays well, it’s not surprising, but it’s still not expected.
Ian Poulter … His struggles continue. As noted in this space before he missed the cut at TPC Scottsdale with two over-par scores, he hasn’t picked off a top 30 on the PGA TOUR since May. Only cut made in two tries here is a T50 in 2012.
Ben Martin … Scuffling and 0-for-1 in this tournament (2014). Might just need to get on Bermuda greens once the TOUR gets to Florida.
Steve Stricker … First appearance since a T14 in 2006 and it’s now been 18 months since his last top 25 on the PGA TOUR. Will celebrate his 49th birthday Feb. 23.
Mike Weir … While he’s been competing around the globe in official and unofficial events for months, this is his first PGA TOUR start since withdrawing during the John Deere Classic last July. Equipped with a pair of medical extensions, the first a Major affording four starts, according to TSN.ca, the lefty plans to play Honda, Valspar and Houston before the Masters, where he owns a lifetime exemption. However, only duffer leaguers should be on board.
Returning to Competition
Alex Cejka … Shared with his Twitter followers on Monday that he underwent “lots of treatments on weekend” for a sore neck that forced him out of the Waste Management Phoenix Open before the third round. Pebble Beach has always sort of agreed with his game. He’s cashed six times with a T10 in 2010 and also placed T8 here in the 2010 U.S. Open, easily his best result in seven starts in that major. So, consider him as a throw-in in DFS.
Roberto Castro … First start as a father. Concluded 2015 with solid form, but sputtered in January. Shared 19th place here in 2014, ranking T6 in par-4 scoring for the week.
Charl Schwartzel … Scheduled to compete in the Tshwane Open in his native South Africa. It will be his first competition since contracting a stomach illness in early January.
Nick Watney … Second consecutive week during which he’s withdrawn early. As last year’s runner-up at Pebble Beach, his decision suggests that he’s dealing with an injury, illness or personal matter.
Carl Pettersson … Withdrew during the second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open with a wrist injury, and then promptly pulled out of this week’s stop. The Swede is 0-for-4 since the season’s restart.
Seung-Yul Noh … Finished last of the 69 golfers who completed four rounds at TPC Scottsdale, and by nine shots to boot. Closed 81-78, splitting only 12 (of 28) fairways and hitting just 20 greens in regulation post-cut. He needed 36 putts in his third round alone.
Michael Kim … The rookie is a quiet 8-for-9 this season due to just one top 30 (T16, Shriners). That’s the kind of reliable slate that has more value in our world than what translates in reality. The loudest knock on him is that he’s 206th (of 212) in final-round scoring average, but it’s all part of the learning curve.
Power Rankings Recap – Waste Management Phoenix Open
Rank Player Finish 1 Bubba Watson T14 2 Brandt Snedeker T33 3 Brooks Koepka T41 4 Hideki Matsuyama P1 5 Kevin Kisner MC 6 Jason Dufner MC 7 Ryan Moore T11 8 Rickie Fowler P2 9 Ryan Palmer T24 10 David Lingmerth MC 11 Kevin Na T24 12 Webb Simpson T14 13 Martin Laird T41 14 Charles Howell III T24 15 Zach Johnson T14
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
February 9 … none
February 10 … none
February 11 … Dawie van der Walt (33)
February 12 … none
February 13 … none
February 14 … none
February 15 … Cameron Beckman (46); Kevin Kisner (32)
ROB BOLTON'S WRITING SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM's Fantasy Columnist Rob Bolton will be filing his usual staples leading up to this week's event. Look for the following features later this week:
MONDAY: Power Rankings
TUESDAY: Sleepers, Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One-and-Done, Comfort Zone
THURSDAY: Most-picked players