Fantasy Forecast: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am preview

Fantasy Forecast: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am preview

Fantasy

Fantasy Forecast: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am preview

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FIRST LOOK

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Pebble Beach Golf Links (Host)

Spyglass Hill Golf Club

Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore Course)

Pebble Beach, Calif.

Pebble Beach

Yards: 6,816 per the official scorecard

Par: 72 (36-36)

Greens: Poa annua and only 3,500 square feet on average (tiny)

Rough: Rye, at 2″

Course Architect(s): Jack Neville and Douglas Grant (1919); Ed Conner and Jack Nicklaus (1991)

Purse: $7 million; $1.26 million (winner); 500 FedExCup Points


Defending Champion:
Under perfect weather conditions, Brandt Snedeker posted the tournament record, 22-under 265 to break his 2013 record of 267 and win by three shots.

Notes:

  • 156 players; Stroke play; 72 holes; pro-am spread over three courses; top 60 and ties play Sunday at Pebble Beach.
  • Yahoo! and AVIS gamers must be aware of the course rotation to maximize scoring conditions this week. Check Twitter for updates once the tee times are posted!

2015-16 Winners

Youngsters

In 2014-15 there were 14 players in their 20s who won tournaments. They accounted for a whopping 24 victories in 47 events.

Under 30 Winners (at time of victory)

  • Emiliano Grillo, 23; Frys.com
  • Smylie Kaufman, 23; Shriners
  • Justin Thomas, 22; CIMB
  • Peter Malnati, 28; SFC
  • Jordan Spieth, 22; HTOC
  • Hideki Matsuyama, 23; WMPO

Prime-Time Players

The guys between 30-39 years of age produced 16 multiple champions in 17 events last season.

Winners 30-39

  • Russell Knox, 30; HSBC Champions
  • Graeme McDowell, 36; OHL Mayakoba
  • Kevin Kisner, 31; RSM Classic
  • Fabian Gomez, 37; Sony Open
  • Jason Dufner, 38; CareerBuilder Challenge
  • Brandt Snedeker, 35; Farmers Insurance Open

Old Guard

There were only four winners last season from 47 events (Furyk, Cejka, Love III and Harrington). Sentimentality has no place in fantasy golf, folks, NOT EVEN IF YOU TALK LOUDER SO THEY CAN HEAR YOU.

Winners 40-plus

  • None, yet, but Ol’ Boo Weekley, 42, finished fifth.

Rookies

Last year the only rookie to pick up a first-place check was Canadian Nick Taylor. This season it took ONE EVENT to match that total.

Rookie Winners

  • Emiliano Grillo; Frys.com
  • Smylie Kaufman; Shriners

First-Time Winners

Rookies, journeyman, up-and-comers, I’ll keep track of them all. It’s a life-changer.

First-Time Winners Trend

  • 2013: 12
  • 2014: 10
  • 2015: 11
  • 2016: 6 and counting
  • Emiliano Grillo (Frys.com)
  • Smylie Kaufman (Shriners)
  • Justin Thomas (CIMB)
  • Peter Malnati (SFC)
  • Russell Knox (WGC-HSBC Champions)
  • Kevin Kisner (RSM)

The Particulars:

Previous 10 Champions

2015: Brandt Snedeker, 22 under

2014: Jimmy Walker, 11 under

2013: Brandt Snedeker, 19 under


2012:
Phil Mickelson, 19 under

2011: D.A. Points, 15 under

2010: Dustin Johnson, 16 under

2009: Dustin Johnson, 15 under

2008: x, y – Steve Lowery, 10 under

2007: Phil Mickelson, 20 under

2006: y – Aaron Oberholser, 17 under

x – won in a playoff, y – not playing this week

Facts and Figures:

  • Tournament Record: 265, Snedeker (2015)
  • Course Records: 62, David Duval (1992), Tom Kite (1987), at Pebble Beach; 61, Charlie Wi (2012) MPCC; 62, Luke Donald (2006), Phil Mickelson (2005) Spyglass Hill
  • First-time winners: only three since the turn of the century
  • There has never been a rookie winner. Daniel Berger was the best finisher last year (T-10).
  • Brett Ogle (1993) was the last winner to break his maiden at Pebble Beach.
  • Since 1980, Mark O’Meara (five), Mickelson (four), Johnson (two) and Snedeker (two) have multiple wins.
  • Since 1990, only Johnson defended his title (2009-10).
  • This tournament, which has roots dating back to the 1930s, has crowned exactly THREE, non-American champions (Bruce Crompton, 1965; Brett Ogle, 1993; Vijay Singh, 2004).
  • Since 1990, only two playoffs have been needed to decide a champion.

Course Ratings (Yardage)

Pebble Beach (6,816)

  • 2015: -1.759 under par; eighth easiest — perfect weather
  • 2014: +1.385; Seventh-most DIFFICULT — not perfect weather

Spyglass Hill (6,953)

  • 2015: -0.801; in the easier half
  • 2014: +0.755; 11th-most difficult

MPCC (6,867, par 71)

  • 2015: -2.064; third easiest
  • 2014: +0.252; middle of the pack

The forecast for this year is closer to last year than 2014 so prepare accordingly.

Gamers, this is our final, multi-track pro-am of the year and we should all give thanks for that! The gaming rules for multi-course pro-ams hardly change just because the venue does. The greens will run slow, and the pins won’t be tremendously difficult because of the amateurs tagging along again this week. Also, there won’t be much rough to worry about because nobody wants six-hour rounds. Remember, the last two times the weather has cooperated Snedeker has set the tournament record!

Historic Pebble Beach has some of the smallest greens anywhere, let alone used on Tour. It’s not a secret why great iron players have flourished here. Before you correct me and tell me that Snedeker is proof that putters can also compete, he was T-3 GIR last year. With his putter, the more GIR he hits, the more difficult he is to beat. Nasty combo that. Please remember, they’re not setting this up like the U.S. Open so getting up-and-down won’t be as difficult. You’ll have to wait until 2019 for that!

Spyglass Hill is the hardest of the three courses in the rotation. There were only 21 rounds in the 60s over three days in 2014 but 47 with the improved weather last year. SHGC has slightly larger greens, but the challenge is getting the ball in the fairway off the tee or being able to muscle short irons from the benign rough. Gamers should avoid this course in scoring-only formats.

Monterrey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore Course boasts three par fives and five par threes and was trending “harder” before it was taken apart last year in calm weather. Having greens that average over 7,000 square feet and roll barely 10′ on the Stimpmeter makes for target practice on approach and should give the putters green lights.

Rookies and first-timers don’t jump off the page, so I’m going to ride course form with a touch of class. Three days on three different courses will test the patience and sharpness but the guys who sign up to play embrace this. West Coasters and Poa experts will also stick out this week.

THE FIELD

Favorites

In order of preference for this week and this tournament

Jordan Spieth: Nothing outside the top seven in his last six starts worldwide; top 10s the last two years; 11 of 12 rounds under par; 34-under par in three tries (T22, T-4, T-7).

Brandt Snedeker: Won two of the last three; set the tournament record two of the last three; before T-33 last week ran off a mini-straight of T-3, P-2, WIN; Poa putter personified.

Dustin Johnson: Six top 10s in eight trips; back-to-back titles in 2009-10; length and short iron play eat up these short, classic courses; T-2 in ’14 and T-4 last year.

Jason Day: My notes last year said he was sick at this event; opened with 72 and played the last three days 17-under (T-4); half of his six attempts are top 10s; smoke off the tee and premium short game don’t hurt either; his MC last time out due to sickness should be well behind him.

Jimmy Walker: Perfect set up this week for Walker to slide in the back door when nobody is looking; unlucky Monday finish cost him a chance at Torrey Pines (T-4); rakes at Pebble as he adds three other top 10s to his ’14 title; he should be gone from all OADs by next week and half his Yahoo! starts should be gone as well! #WestCoast

J.B. Holmes: T-6 at Torrey followed by T-6 at WMPO suggests he’s on form in ’16; bookends of 64-65 on Pebble Beach here last year for his fourth T-16 or better in nine tries;

Kevin Na: Bagged four top three finishes in his first seven events of the new season; should have had five but 72 last Sunday dropped him to T-24; T-5, T-22 and T-4 before MC last year; short courses won’t bother him a bit; west coast born, bred and raised.

Phil Mickelson: Another week, another riddle; won here last in ’13 for the fourth time; ball-striking numbers very solid last week (T-11) and the weather should help him as well; bags of experience and his confidence should be up (just like I thought at Torrey).

Patrick Reed: Fire department was finally called at CB Challenge as he fell outside the top 10; 30-under the last three years has cashed T-7, T-13 and T-29; run of seven top 10s in his last eight worldwide.

Shane Lowry: Last two weeks he’s kicked out T-13 and T-6 to rake in the cash; ball-striker’s skills should be on display this week; T-21 last year in his first time was very impressive, especially after opening on level par. Load up.

Bubba Watson: Not many hit more GIR; length can be a massive advantage; another “new” course on his schedule; been outside the top 30 ONCE since THEY PLAYERS last year.

Brooks Koepka: Too much talent to dismiss in his maiden; makes plenty of birdies on the back of plenty of power; T-3 at Kapalua before T-41 last week in Phoenix.

James Hahn: Knocked on the door last week after opening 67-65 in Phoenix; Played at Cal and has lived in Alameda; made seven cuts in a row on Tour; T-3 in ’13 and T-29 last year; defends at Riviera next week.

Bryce Molder: Played the last six years on the weekend here with four top 12s; bagged his second top 10 of the year last week at WMPO (T-6); thrives on shorter tracks and cashes plenty of checks on Poa surfaces on the West Coast.

David Lingmerth: Not letting a disappointing MC last week push him off the radar; too many good rounds to start the year; T-15, T-13, 2nd and MC in the new calendar year.

Next Tier

Form plays, eye-catchers who make great support staff, not in order

Bill Haas: Leaning on his record in California (Riviera, Torrey) on Poa and in pro-ams; never hurts to have a guy who peppers fairways and greens in the lineup either.

Matt Jones: Seven of the last eight years he’s played the weekend; 36-hole leader last year; one back after 54 on 17-under; Sunday scoring at Pebble is frightening, in a bad way.


Danny Lee:
Interesting to see how he bounces back from blowing his first 54-hole lead; opened with 63 here in ’12 on his way to T-25; MC last year in his other start; led the field in fairways last week.


Freddie Jacobson:
Junkman went skiing and DNS last week; shows up on short tracks and seaside tracks; T-4 at Torrey; T-7 here in ’13.

Sean O’Hair: Anyone who’s made the cut in the last seven here deserves attention; six of those have been T-35 or better; MC last week might push him off the radar;

Aaron Baddeley: Big finish at Torrey and a home game MC last week might sour a few; plays the West Coast beautifully and short courses should keep him nearer the short grass off the tee.

William McGirt: Nothing outside T-30 in the five weekends he’s played in the new year; plays classic, short courses well because he’s accurate; don’t tell anyone he’s seventh in scoring.

Colt Knost: He’s always in here? Yes, that’s what three weeks of T-24 or better gets you. I never tire of guys like this in fantasy. Plug, play and forget it.

Jason Dufner: Disappointing MC last week after winning his prior outing at CB Challenge; his ball-striking should fit right into place this week; I’ll chance T-9, T-9, Win, MC form.

Will Wilcox: I could feel the stares from gamers after his slow start but last week (T-6) should remind us all of how talented this kid is; eight-under on the weekend in Phoenix was lowest of all; 65 on Sunday was low round of the day.

Andrew Loupe: T-3, T-49 in his last two; a bit all-of-nothing this season and at this venue; shreds easier courses and this qualifies; opened with 63 on MPCC in ’14.


Jon Curran:
4th, MC, MC, T-11 in his last four; 15-under here last year in his maiden for T-10. Vanderbilt dudes like it here. I guess Luke List hits the top 10 this year then.

Daniel Summerhays: 11 cuts in a row. No point over-thinking this in a thin field.

Off the Beaten Path

Course horses, long shots, cheeky picks, DFS last call, red herrings


Chesson Hadley:
T-10 followed T-10 in the last two years; last top 25 was Colonial last May.

Spencer Levin: Sacramento native familiar on these surfaces; three T-14 or better highlight five weekends from six; enters on three MCs in a row.

Hunter Mahan: Every week he deserves to be in this column he will be; he’ll move up based on his play, not his reputation; T-43, MC in two starts in ’16 requires nothing more.

Alex Prugh: Enters off T-7, T-30 to open the new Web.com season; T-10 here last year with all four rounds in the 60s; T-27, T-21 and T-10 in four starts; lovely outsider.

Pat Perez: Played nine of the last 10 weekends here including T-7 and T-4 the last two years; grew up on Poa at Torrey but that hasn’t helped in 2016 as he’s posted T-81, MC, MC, MC to open the new calendar year.

Greg Owen: Has made three of four to start the year including his last two; opened T-5 at Sony; three top 10s here in 10 tries.

Brendon Todd: T-10 last year, T-9 in ’12 but only two weekends from his last seven on Tour.

Ryan Ruffels: Young pup made the cut at more difficult Torrey Pines (T-43); should enjoy the shorter, easier tracks this week.

Fades

Injured, rusty or not the track this week

Alex Cejka: WD when T-13 last week. Yikes.

Jason Bohn: Recent record around here is dire.

Ryan Palmer: Save him for Texas or the desert, not Poa.

Chris Stroud: MC, T-62, MC in ’16; MC in six of his eight here.

Up-and-Comers

Rookies and or newbies who catch my eye on a weekly basis that gamers should start keeping tabs on. The inspiration of this column was from Jordan Spieth’s performance on sponsor’s exemptions in early 2013. Other graduates from this column include Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, Tony Finau and Grillo. Let’s add Smylie Kaufman to the list as well as he won in his second event on Tour with his card!

Frys.com: Patrick Rodgers, T-6, Smylie Kaufman, T-10; Harold Varner III, T-48, gets a special mention as he was T-4 entering Sunday before a disastrous 79 wiped out his three excellent rounds. #LearningCurves

Shriners: Kaufman’s victory sees him join Grillo in the “graduates” section now. Wow. That didn’t take long! Web.com money leader and all-around leader Patton Kizzire (T-2) missed a playoff by one shot as did Brett Stegmaier (T-2). It was Kizzire’s first start with a Tour card and Stegmaier’s second. #Sizzle. Patrick Rodgers was T-13.

CIMB: Cameron Smith couldn’t recapture his magic of his solo fifth in 2014, but his T-37 gives him another solid dose of experience.


WGC-HSBC Champions:
Haotong Li, 20, finished T-7, the best finish by a Chinese player in any Tour event.


Sanderson Farms Championship:
Patrick Rodgers, T-20.

OHL Mayakoba: Harold Varner III, T-5; Patrick Rodgers, T-10.

RSM: Tom Hoge, T9.

HTOC: No mentions at a “winners ONLY” event!

Sony: Zac Blair, 3rd; Si Woo Kim, 4th;

CB Challenge: Si Woo Kim, T-9. This is a recording. List and Hadwin have played a full year on Tour previously!

Farmers: Paul Dunne, the amateur who led The Open after 54 holes last year at St. Andrews, backed up his solo ninth in Joburg with T-13 at Torrey South. Oh, and Si Woo Kim hit the top 20 again. Patton Kizzire hit the top 10 for the third time in seven starts.

WMPO: You shouldn’t be just figuring out who Patrick Rodgers is (T-17)…


Next:

Wednesday I’ll present my gaming angles for the week so keep your eyes peeled at @GolfweekMag, @GolfweekFantasy and @MikeGlasscott for more information.

Fantasy Last Call will also appear after 7 p.m. ET on the website and Twitter for those of you who like a bit of audio with your after-work drinks or dinner.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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