Luke List, Sebastian Munoz, Wyndham Clark, K.H. Lee and Matt Kuchar.
Then, the big one came Tuesday morning: Dustin Johnson.
On Friday, the announced field for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was worth 38 Official World Golf Ranking points to the winner. Since that time, there have been several notable withdraws.
As a result, the winner will now gain just 30 points, the weakest field since the Bermuda Championship back at the beginning of November.
In previous years, this tournament was played with amateurs, featured three courses, and had a 54-hole cut. This year, we still have 156 players in the field, but there are no amateurs, we’re down to two courses, and the cut will happen after two rounds. The first two rounds will be split at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Both weekend rounds will then be played at Pebble Beach.
Spyglass Hill is a 7,041-yard par 72 and Pebble is a 7,051-yard par 72. Both can play difficult, depending on the wind. The forecast does not look promising, and we could see cold, wet, and windy conditions for all four rounds. Of note, Pebble is usually set up at 6,816 yards for this tournament, but without amateurs the pros will be playing from tees set a little further back. This should increase the difficulty of the course, which already plays over par.
Pebble Beach is a second-shot golf course, where the driver is largely neutralized by huge crevasses and severe doglegs. The average green size is just 3,500 square feet, and greens in regulation are traditionally harder to come by here than at the average PGA course. On the flip side, fairways are huge and errant drives are rare, but with smaller greens, positioning is huge and being on the wrong side of the fairway can be just as bad as missing on the correct side in the rough.
Per our model, the standard deviation of scores at this course is 8.6, which is on the higher end of the spectrum. With a large field and a lot of variability, it’s traditionally opened the door for some longer-odds players to hoist the trophy.
Rather than focusing on the top of the betting board this week, which is admittedly quite weak, we’ll look further down in an attempt to identify some players who may surprise.
Longshots Who Fit the Course
In the last few weeks, we’ve identified players whose profile fits the layout of the course. With so many players in the field, we’ll narrow this down to players we feel have a chance who also fit the course well.
Of those gaining the most, the model particularly points to Brian Harman and Brian Stuard as players to watch in this tournament.
Harman fits this course nicely. He plays his best golf on short par 4s and par 5s, which encompasses 66% of the holes at Pebble. He hasn’t played this tournament recently, so we don’t have much course history data on him, but a player who relies on positioning on a positioning course is someone should perform well. We have Harman with a higher chance to win this tournament than struggling stars Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth.
We have Stuard as the 42nd-best golfer in this field. That doesn’t seem very high, but he’s listed at odds of 200-1 to win this tournament. In comparison, the players we have at 41st and 43rd both have odds under 100-1. Stuard is 113th in this field in projected long par 4 scoring, but that’s not what Pebble Beach is about. He’s in the top 50 in all other hole types, including 12th on long par 3s. With one of the par 3s being extended this year without amateurs, Stuard gets a bit of a boost.
Focusing a little more on the short par 4s, here are the top 10 projected performers on those holes:
|Rank||Player||SG Per Hole|
|10||Rafa Cabrera Bello||0.081|
The two golfers to watch here?
If a course plays with a bunch of length, Hoge is not your guy. He’s missed six of his last seven cuts, but in four of those six, he gained strokes on short par 4s. It’s where he’s best, and this course should suit him well.
Like Hoge, Moore is coming in with less than inspiring recent results. He’s missed three consecutive cuts to start 2021 but has actually gained strokes tee to green in each of those tournaments. Last week, he lost 7.6 strokes putting…in just two rounds. While not known as a good putter, 7.6 strokes in two rounds is like a horrible achievement.
Favorite Draftkings GPP Plays
With DJ out, players at the top of the salary table are all going to be highly owned. We’re fine taking the chalk at the top and differentiating some at the lower levels.
Patrick Cantlay $11,300
Daniel Berger $10,100
Jason Day $9,500
Cameron Davis $9,000
Kevin Streelman $8,900
Cameron Tringale $8,500
Alex Noren $8,300
Brian Harman $8,200
Rory Sabbatini $7,600
Joel Dahmen $7,400
Ryan Moore $7,300
Charley Hoffman $7,300
Adam Long $7,300
Mark Hubbard $7,200
Tom Hoge $7,100
Scott Piercy $7,100
Jhonattan Vegas $7,000
Denny McCarthy $6,900
Patrick Rodgers $6,900
Tyler Duncan $6,800
Brice Garnett $6,700
Kristoffer Ventura $6,600
Adam Schenk $6,500
Ben Martin $6,500
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