By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Insider
Because the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is contested over three courses, some of the more detailed data collected at host sites isn't at their complements. This is the case at both Spyglass Hill and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club. The many parallels that can be drawn between champions comes with that caveat, but for the purposes of this entry, we'll focus -- with one exception -- only on statistics gathered at all three tracks. We'll also limit our range to 2010-2012 since it reflects the return of MPCC and, thus, the current rotation of courses.
As you'd expect from a tournament that doesn't qualify as a shootout, hitting greens in regulation has been valuable to each of the last three winners. Both Dustin Johnson (2010) and D.A. Points (2011) logged 50 greens en route to their titles. Johnson ranked third during his week, while Points placed 17th in the category. Phil Mickelson (2012) also ranked third, but the lefty hit 54 greens.
And that's about where the cursory comparison ends. For example, Johnson and Points ranked inside the top 11 in fairways hit, but Mickelson was 62nd. Meanwhile, Mickelson placed fourth in proximity to the hole, but Johnson (33rd) and Points (25th) didn't fare as well.
When guys hit a fair percentage of greens in regulation, scrambling isn't as important in a broad sense, but it's worth mentioning that Mickelson got up and down 14 of 18 times, tied for second-best in 2012. Again, Johnson (T57) and Points (T45) didn't save par as well.
Mickelson led his field in strokes gained-putting and Points ranked fifth, but Johnson didn't make noise there either, sitting 58th with a surprisingly inefficient split of -0.798. Now, strokes gained-putting is calculated only at Pebble Beach, so the more relevant putting stat is putts per GIR.
Lo and behold, all three champions ranked inside the top 10 in putts per GIR. In fact, Points led his field. (Johnson ranked seventh; Mickelson was T10.) Therefore, like last week's objective in the Valley of the Sun, hitting greens and making putts would qualify as the goal this week as well. It sound simple enough for any tournament, but as we've already witnessed earlier this year and certainly will again later, identity varies course to course, event to event.
Finally, just to take a peek at individual scoring on each course in play this week, of this trio, Johnson has signed for the lowest number on both Pebble and Spyglass, recording a 64 at each. Points and Mickelson failed to break 70 on both! However, DJ's 68 at MPCC is the highest among the threesome. Points netted a 63 at MPCC in his opening round while Mickelson carded a 65 there in his second round.