It really was a felicitous meeting last year. Oh, as Robert Louis Stevenson is credited for describing, it always is on the Monterey Peninsula, but at the 2015 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the sublime blend wasn’t merely of land and sea, it was of weather and talent.
To define the setting of last year’s annual stop as glorious would be an insult. Nothing but sun, a light breeze and high temperatures in the mid-70s covered the trio of host courses throughout the tournament. And with all three comfortably shorter than 7,000 yards, it was no surprise that Brandt Snedeker established a tournament record. His 22-under 265 was two strokes fewer than the previous, also Snedeker’s. That occurred in 2013 when he came to rest at 19-under 267. (Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore Course played as a par 70 from 2010-2013; its par since is 71.)
Again, thanks to perfect scoring conditions, each of the tri-hosts surrendered tournament lows. Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill, both par 72s, averaged 70.241 and 71.199, respectively, thus playing their easiest since scoring data was first maintained in earnest in 1983. MPCC checked up at 68.936, also its low in just six years in the rotation.
Both of the par 72s are standard routes with four par 3s and four par 5s. MPCC features five par threes, including three on a front-nine par 34. Three of its four par 5s are on its inward-side par 37.
En route to last year’s title, Snedeker ranked T3 in greens in regulation. That achievement included 27 in a row, including all 18 at Spyglass Hill in the second round. On top of that precision, he led the field in scrambling, suffering only one bogey all week (at the par-4 third hole at Pebble Beach in the third round). Felicitous, indeed.
This week’s format is unique to the tournament. The scheduled, 54-hole cut is low 60 and ties. Those finishing 61st-70th (plus ties) will also earn FedExCup points and official earnings, but will not play in the final round, held only at Pebble Beach. However, all golfers included in the low 25 pro-am teams will peg it in the finale to determine the champion of that competition, even if the pro missed the cut in the tournament proper.
Mother Nature will cooperate once again this year, but daytime highs will climb only into the low to mid-60s. However, television viewers will see only sunshine enhancing the dimension of the magnificent landscape.
NOTE: Tuesday’s Fantasy Insider will include details on how each of the three courses have scored in recent years.
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