Power Rankings: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Amtext sizeFebruary 04, 2013
Every once in a while, the golfer poised to defend his title at an event arrives on the scene having also won the week before. This is Phil Mickelson's reality as the PGA TOUR gets set for the 72nd annual AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am.
Sitting six strokes back of 54-hole leader Charlie Wi a year ago, Mickelson turned in a bogey-free, 8-under 64 to win by two. It was his 40th career victory on the PGA TOUR. For the week, he ranked T3 in greens in regulation and T10 in putting average to epitomize the formula for success on the trio of tracks in play.
Pebble Beach Golf Links is a par 72. Yet, at 6,816 yards, it's the shortest course on the PGA TOUR. The absence of distance tee to green hasn't prevented long hitters from emerging victorious but length can be ruled out as a necessary means to contend. In 2012, Pebble Beach averaged 71.857 strokes per round. It was just the second time in seven years that the field averaged under par on the famed layout hugging Stillwater Cove.
First introduced into the rotation in 1967, Spyglass Hill Golf Club can stretch to 6,953 yards, longest of the three co-hosts, but it was still the fourth-shortest par 72 of 20 used in non-majors in 2012. For the fourth consecutive year, it registered the lowest average distance off the tee (268.6 yards) of any course. On the scorecard, it averaged 72.581. In the last 14 years, it's checked in under par only once (71.603 in 2010).
Rounding out the rota is Monterey Peninsula Country Club's Shore Course. In play for just the seventh time (1965-66, 1977, 2010-12), it's a par 70 measuring 6,838 yards, thus qualifying it as the second-shortest course on the PGA TOUR. For each of the editions since the late Mike Strantz redesigned it in 2003, the Shore Course has averaged under par. Last year's clip of 69.883 was the highest the modern pros have submitted.
This week's cut is unique. It will fall after 54 holes when all 156 competitors have played each course once. Then, the low 60 and ties will advance to the final round at Pebble Beach. Those finishing 61st-70th will be credited with a cut made and will be rewarded with FedExCup points and official earnings. The low 25 amateurs will also play on Sunday to determine the pro-am title.
Weather could play a factor during the first two days of the tournament. Rain isn't expected to fall until Friday, but winds are already forecast to be moderate through the end of the work week. Scoring conditions could improve on the weekend as sunshine returns and winds abate. However, it'll be chilly as the high temperatures may not reach 60 degrees.
Power Rankings: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Rank Player Comment Phil MICKELSON Four-time champ and all-time money leader at this event. Placed T4 at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Co-owns the course record at Spyglass Hill (62 in 2005). En route to victory at TPC Scottsdale, led the field in GIR. Brandt SNEDEKER Runner-up in the last two events. Although winless, he leads the TOUR in FedExCup points and earnings. Best finish among five starts at Pebble Beach was a T21 in 2010, but he also tied for eighth at the U.S. Open that season. Dustin JOHNSON Thoroughly efficient and lucrative record at Pebble Beach, with two wins (2009, 2010) and another three top 10s (2008, 2012) in six career starts, including the 2010 U.S. Open (T8). Already a winner this season at Kapalua. Hunter MAHAN After a disappointing T26 to open the season at the 30-man lid-lifter at Kapalua, he's posted a pair of top 20s the last two weeks. Posted top 20s in four of his last seven appearances at Pebble Beach, including a solo second in 2011. Padraig HARRINGTON Coming off a T9 in his first appearance at TPC Scottsdale. Posted top 20s in three of his last five trips to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, including a career-best T7 last year. Also placed T22 at the 2010 U.S. Open. Tim CLARK This horse for courses has survived five of seven cuts here, all going for a top 25. His most recent appearance was in 2010 when he tied for 10th. Also tied for 12th at the 2010 U.S. Open. Current fourth on TOUR in adjusted scoring. Bryce MOLDER Top 10s at Pebble Beach in 2010 and 2011. Entered the respective final rounds sitting T3 and T2 on the leaderboard. Two top 25s in three starts this season. Ranks fourth on the PGA TOUR in strokes gained-putting. Nick WATNEY Finally hit a speed bump last week in Scottsdale, settling for a share of 43rd place. It ended a string of five straight top 20s. Survived each of the last eight cuts at Pebble Beach, including a T6 in 2011. Ranks third on TOUR in GIR. Jimmy WALKER Tied for ninth in each of the last two editions of this tournament. Sat one stroke off the lead entering the finale in 2011. Survived his last 13 cuts on the PGA TOUR, a stretch that includes three T4s. Sits 25th in the all-around ranking. Billy HORSCHEL Riding a consecutive cuts made streak of 15, second-longest on TOUR. Tied for 10th at the Humana Challenge and shared 11th place at last week's stop in Scottsdale. Sits 20th on TOUR in adjusted scoring and 10th in the all-around. Ryan PALMER Mixed results in seven appearances at Pebble Beach can't force the omission of this notoriously streaky Texan. Followed a T6 at the Humana Challenge with a solo fifth at the WM Phoenix Open. Ranks sixth in adjusted scoring. Robert GARRIGUS Recorded a career-best T6 at Torrey Pines two weeks ago and matched a personal-best T11 at TPC Scottsdale on Sunday. His T20 at Pebble Beach last was his best finish in six appearances. Ranks eight on TOUR in greens hit. Steve MARINO Rested after a T15 at Torrey Pines, his best finish since March 2011. Solo fourth at Pebble Beach in 2010 when he held both the 36- and 54-hole leads outright. Tied for fourth in 2011. Sat out last year due to his knee injury. Aaron BADDELEY Chased a T6 at Torrey Pines with a T65 at a home game in Scottsdale, but signs of turning a corner are there. Although it's early, his GIR split is 11.81 percent higher than in 2012. Top sixes in his last two starts at Pebble Beach. Webb SIMPSON First appearance since 2010. He's experienced quite a bit of success in his career since, so we can ignore his forgettable record at Pebble Beach. Opened 2013 with a pair of top 20s. Ranks seventh on TOUR in greens in regulation.