A pro-am is unique to the sport of golf. It’s often unserious time spent that takes itself quite seriously. They are part of the fabric and lifeblood of the PGA TOUR, so much so that failure to appear when expected in a Wednesday edition, for example, can lead to a disqualification in the tournament proper.
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is at another level, if not at the top of its class. It’s an official TOUR stop hosted by three courses (more on each beneath the ranking), one of which is its eponymous eye candy. Both of those components draw A-list celebrities to take part in an official pro-am competition.
Some who play golf for a living can thrive in this arena. Two of the most recent examples are Hudson Swafford, who prevailed at the CareerBuilder Challenge three weeks ago for his breakthrough title, and Adam Hadwin, who spun a 59 at La Quinta Country Club in the third round. Indeed, comfort in the format is all but required given a rotation of courses and potentially long hours trying to score well on each at the same time allowing amateurs the space to check off an item on the bucket list.
You’ll find Matt Kuchar, Martin Laird and Gary Woodland among the notables in Tuesday’s Fantasy Insider.
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am features a cut after 54 holes. The low 70 and ties will officially survive, but only the low 60 and ties will go on to play the final round at Pebble Beach. The low 25 pro-am teams will also continue for a fourth round regardless of if the pro misses the cut.
Before the cut, all of the 156 golfers and their amateur partners gets one round each on the host course, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore Course. All are shorter than 7,000 yards. The first two are stock par 72s, while MPCC is a par 34-37=71 with five par 3s and a trio of par 5s coming in. Both of the par 72s averaged over par last year, while MPCC checked in 0.301 strokes below par.
En route to his inspiring and surprising triumph, Vaughn Taylor carded a 67 at MPCC despite one bogey and one double. Since the Shore Course was introduced into the rota in 2010, the seven winners have averaged 65.71 on their one trip through. No one course always plays easier or harder in relation to par than the others, but MPCC is usually easiest while Spyglass Hill is typically the most challenging.
A fierce weather system is expected to play a significant role through Friday. Rain and wind will lift scores before more favorable conditions take over on the weekend. Given the exposure to the sea with nowhere to hide, experience, patience and temperament are intangibles of greater value this week. From a technical perspective, length off some tees is an asset in the cool air and soggy turf. Greens will likely run slower than the prepared Stimpmeter measurement of 12 feet.
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 columns this week.
WEDNESDAY: One & Done
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks, which also publishes on Tuesdays.