Power Rankings: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
3 Min Read
Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf
Pebble Beach Golf Links never has needed a designation as a destination – you know how special it is when you see it – but it’s been a signature stop for as long as the West Coast Swing has existed, so it’s only logical that it hosts a Signature Event on the PGA TOUR.
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is the second of eight in the series. The absence of a cut is but one of the many perks awaiting the robust field of 80. Continue reading beneath the ranking of projected contenders for format details, analyses of the pair of host courses and more.
Like The Sentry that led off the 2024 Signature Events, every golfer in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is guaranteed four rounds and the winner 700 FedExCup points. Unlike the season-opening tournament at Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course, Pebble Beach will share duties as host this week.
Spyglass Hill Golf Course also will test the field for the first two rounds. After all of the 80 entrants records one round each on Spyglass and Pebble, only the latter will be played for the third and final rounds. This is similar to the format that was used to adjust to the pandemic in 2021, except that there was a cut for a full field of 156 in that edition. (The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am traditionally was contested across three courses with a 54-hole cut.)
Another significant difference from the 2021 edition is that amateurs will be competing this week, albeit only for the first two rounds. When amateurs sat out three years ago, there was an expectation that both courses would play tougher, but that didn’t come to fruition in what were primarily favorable conditions. Primary rough is up an inch to 3 inches this year, so that should play a small role in defending par.
But, ah, the conditions… Weather always can impact performance, but that’s especially the case on the Monterey Peninsula, and it will be again this week.
In addition to an elevated likelihood of rain every day but Saturday, wind will be omnipresent. Some forecasting includes gradually increased gusts of 20-30 mph during the first two rounds, while other models have it eclipsing 40 mph on Sunday. While the invisible challenge forever is a moving target requiring patience and real-time adjustment, the promise is that daytime temperatures will not climb out of the mid-50s.
When the wind blows, Pebble tends to be the toughest of the tracks in any of the rotations historically. In a vacuum, it always averages under par while Spyglass breaks par much more infrequently. So, the favorable draw is to be assigned Pebble with the calmer of the conditions. Both courses are stock par 72s.
With the smallest greens on the PGA TOUR, the profile for success on Pebble underlines ball-striking. This is multiplied due to the fact that the course tips at just 6,972 yards. Targets on Spyglass still are smaller than average, so the objective is similar but more favorable with wind pushing. At 7,041 yards, it won’t punish in earnest except for drives into headwinds. Course management will win the week.
Because of the wind, Poa annua putting surfaces are unlikely to reach the 12 feet on the Stimpmeter for which they’re prepped.
ShotLink to measure distances of every stroke is utilized only on Pebble Beach.
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*Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.
Rob Bolton is a Golfbet columnist for the PGA TOUR. The Chicagoland native has been playing fantasy golf since 1994, so he was just waiting for the Internet to catch up with him. Follow Rob Bolton on Twitter.