The Daily Spin – AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte February 5, 2020 08:52

The Daily Spin – AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

The most exciting event of the winter is done and I will never bet against Webb Simpson again. Normally, I am on Webb wherever he plays, but paid up for JT and Rahm last week and it did not quite work out as JT could only muster a 3rd place finish and Rahm once again could not find a way to contend on his former college stomping grounds. Instead, Webb continued his tear that started nearly three years ago which he punctuated with two huge, clutch putts on the 18th hole and then the playoff hole to ice out Tony Finau, who could not make the big shot down the stretch to seal his second win on tour and first at a substantial event.

This week, the tour heads back to Pebble Beach where we experienced a fantastic US Open last summer at this beautiful venue. This week, we get the more traditional annual event, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, not quite as good as having all four rounds at Pebble Beach, but we will take it. This is the time of the season where I really try to enjoy every week and be as happy as possible to see some big names showing up. These first few months leading up to Augusta are jammed with big events as players tune up their game for the Players Championship in March and then Augusta in April. The reworked schedule does a nice job of making sure that there is always a big event on the not too distant horizon which is a big advantage of having it be a little more condensed. Now that football season is over, we can fully devote ourselves to our original passion in the space and I could not be more excited about it.

If this is your first year really following the tour, there are a few reasons why this event is not our favorite. This marks the last part of the schedule where we will have to deal with rotating courses and there are three this week. Another issue that we have to deal with is that this is a three round Pro-Am event which means that the pace of play will generally be much slower than normal. It is fun to see the occasional shot from a noteworthy celeb over the span of a four hour broadcast. It is a whole other issue to see one after another or some random CEO that knocks in a 20 foot putt that nobody but that CEO cares about. Also, these events do get a little discouraging in that shot tracker is only available at Pebble Beach and not the other two courses which is frustrating for me each afternoon as I thumb through player after player trying to figure out what is going on. I do my best in our Slack chat room to call the cut sweat like a tight horse race down to the finish, but that just does not work as well in this format. Also, the cut takes place after three rounds so everyone gets a look at each course before the cut on Saturday afternoon. It is also a weird one where the cut is Top-60 this week as opposed to 65 so that putts a little more heat on the field and makes it that much tougher for us to get 6/6 to the final round at Pebble Beach on Sunday.

Now that I have laid out some of the negatives about the event, you should also know that there are some extra opportunities for making some extra dollars this weekend. This is a great spot for Showdown slates as we can take advantage of the three courses this week. Given that one of the primary defenses of these courses is the weather and winds, be sure to get a close look at the winds each day, but as of now, I am not too concerned. Thursday and Friday look pretty mild and the hourly forecast for those two days shows us winds that will be consistent throughout the day. Be sure to click the Super Forecast link to get the hour by hour version. Here is the link to windfinder – https://www.windfinder.com/weatherforecast/pebble-beach_fan-shell-beach

It looks like things could pick up on Saturday afternoon for the winds. It is still far enough out that I do not want to jump the gun too quickly. From what I am seeing, it looks like the winds start to pick up at around 1pm and build until 4pm. Considering that the last groups are set to tee off at just past 10am, this might not end up being too significant of a factor. However, as the day approaches, keep your checks going. If those winds shift earlier even by an hour or two, there could be a nice wave advantage from playing the first golfers to tee off at around 8am which may get them off the courses before the winds pick up.

For Showdown slates, we will be looking to target Monterey Peninsula this week. This short, coastal course tends to play a couple of shot easier than the other two courses and as long as the winds do not pick up, that should be the case again this week. If we do see the winds start to kick up at all, then Spyglass Hill offers better protection from the elements than the other two courses and can be used as a pivot. Personally, I would have to feel very certain about the winds being really awful before I would overthink this one. If winds are only going to be slightly higher than the previous days, you are asking a lot for players to overcome a couple of extra shots. I would likely work with an earlier tee time at MP rather than pivoting to SH. This is something that you will definitely want to circle back to in our Slack chat over the first couple of days. FGI folks love the Showdown slates and have made a killing on them so far this year so there are always a lot of great ideas being kicked around among members.

The Courses

Pebble Beach – Classic setup that has not changed much over the year and is a short Par 72 at just over 6,800 yards. Missing the fairway here is incredibly punitive so you will see a lot of players take iron off the tee. There are not many long Par 4 holes so mid range iron play is the real key this week from the 125-175 yard range which will need to be precise as these are some of the smallest greens golfers will deal with all year. Being that we are on the west coast the greens are poa so be sure to check out the putting split to find the golfers that excel on this surfaces as well as those who have some west coast ties.

Spyglass Hill – Par 72 that plays at slightly longer than 7,000 yards, this is the one course that is not right on the coast. Narrow, tree lined fairways force players to club down and the course plays tougher than the other two courses. If the winds pick up, the players are better protected from the elements. Small, poa greens round out the course.

Monterey Peninsula – The easiest of the three courses and the one to focus on for Showdown slates. Though it is a Par 71, it plays under 7,000 yards and has the odd setup of having four Par 5 and five Par 3 holes. The fairways are easy to hit and the greens are about twice as large as Pebble Beach, though putting is difficult with the poa grass.

Key Stats

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 30%
Strokes Gained Putting: 20%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 20%
Par 5 Scoring: 10%
Proximity: 10%
Scrambling: 10%

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte February 5, 2020 08:52

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