For this week’s PGA action, the players are in the picturesque, iconic Monterrey peninsula in California for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Mind you, that’s something of a misnomer for the 2021 renewal.
This year, due to COVID restrictions, the “Pro-Am” part of the event has been dropped, leaving only golfers to compete without any A, B or C-list celebrities getting in their way.
Also, traditionally held over three different golf courses, just two will be used this year.
But despite these alterations, one thing will remain constant – we’re in for a tough, competitive week on the PGA Tour.
AT&T Pebble Beach: The Tournament
A standing dish on the early season schedule, the AT&T sponsored Pebble Beach Pro-Am is one of the oldest events on tour, dating back to 1937. The Pro-Am aspect, given we’re in California, has long given the tournament some celebrity glamour with a host of big showbiz names teaming up with the pros. Not this year of course, and it will be interesting to see if this change of format helps some of the more easily distracted players.
AT&T Pebble Beach: The Course
There are just two courses in use this week. The tradition third wheel, Monterey Peninsula Country Club, has been temporarily dropped from the rotation. This leaves the main course, the Pebble Beach Golf Links, which measures 6,816 yards (par 72), and Spyglass Hill Golf Course which comes in at 6,953 yards (par 72). Neither of them is overly long or too severe, but the main problem for the players is the weather. Windy, stormy coastal conditions often affect the tournament. In a revised format, the golfers will play each course once in Rounds 1 and 2, and then both weekend rounds will be played at Pebble Beach.
265: Brandt Snedeker (2015)
62: David Duval (Pebble Beach, 1997)
62: Luke Donald (Spyglass Hill, 2006)
Welcome back to the greatest meeting of land and sea. 😍
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) February 8, 2021
AT&T Pebble Beach: Past Winners
2020: Nick Taylor
2019: Phil Mickelson
2018: Ted Potter Jr
2017: Jordan Spieth
2016: Vaughn Taylor
2015: Brandt Snedeker
AT&T Pebble Beach: The Field
Despite there being no celebrities, there’s a standard PGA Tour line-up here this week. Patrick Cantlay is the $8 favourite with TopSport.
AT&T Pebble Beach: The Weather
We’ve had some bad weather in this event over the years, and this week’s forecast isn’t great. The chance of rain is 80% – 30% – 60% – 20% over the four days, with temperatures cool, in the mid-50s (F). The wind, a crucial factor on the coast, is pretty benign for the first three days, then will reach 15-20mph on Sunday.
AT&T Pebble Beach: Value bets
These are two value bets from the Golf Insider. Members receive all of his best bets for all markets – win and each-way, Top 10, Top 20, Round 1 Leader and 3-Ball groups. He covers every tournament on the PGA and European Tours.
Chris Kirk (Top 20) – $4 with TopSport
I’m willing to give Kirk one more try this week despite a missed cut in the Phoenix Open. A lot of what I said then remains true one week on, with his ball-striking looking particularly strong – if you ignore the blip last week! My stats put him 14th in this field, and again the market has him a lot further down the pecking order. Kirk nearly won this event in 2013 so, despite some indifferent form since, he obviously knows how to handle these coastal conditions. Kirk’s a classy player on the way back, and his form is excellent, ignoring last week, so at the price I’m going in again – and hopefully the Kirk redemption story starts at this iconic links.
Paul Casey (Outright, each-way) – $17 with TopSport
I have Paul Casey as the second highest rated player in the field, just slightly behind Patrick Cantlay (who is less than half the price). The fiery Englishman is full of confidence right now having blitzed the field in Dubai, when winning by four shots at the Desert Classic a fortnight ago. He played superbly that week, with his long game doing all the damage, with a superb display that saw him gain 16 strokes on the field from tee-to-green. Last week in Saudi, Casey continued to play well, and finished 12th, after four rounds in the 60’s – and he also found his touch on the greens, ranking 10th in the field for putting. Now he returns to the US, and a venue where Casey finished eighth and second in consecutive years in 2018 and 2019. This year is huge for Casey, as he bids to play on the European Ryder Cup team once more, and he’ll be looking to impress Padraig Harrington at every opportunity. The field here in Pebble Beach is relatively weak, and the winner really could come from anywhere – which explains my cautious approach. But with lots of pre-event withdrawals Casey’s task is made that much easier, and at the price he looks a solid each-way investment.