Last week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open proved once again that it is a golf tournament with a mind of its own. With over half a million spectators and the most raucous atmosphere in the game, it is certainly a one off. The same is true of this week’s PGA Tour event, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. It won’t be as noisy but you will see some of the very best players in the world competing around iconic golf courses.
The pro-am part of this event takes place over the first three days when the action is split over three courses. First is the historic and ever popular Pebble Beach Golf Links. At a smidge over 6,800 yards it is usually the par 72 course is usually the shortest course on the PGA Tour and although it is generally wide, the greens are tricky to hit and if the wind blows it is a much tougher course. The second course is Monterey Peninsula. The par 71, 6,838 yard course is another links track but it is considered the place to go low. Finally, the players will also go round Spyglass Hill, a par 72 of similar length to the other two courses. The tree-lined track is considered the toughest of the three, if the least affected by the wind.
Last year’s tournament winner, Brandt Snedeker benefited from some glorious weather conditions to set a tournament record score and this time around it looks like it will be mostly calm although anyone drawn to play at Pebble Beach on Saturday may have the worst draw. Winners of this event have tended to be high class ball strikers who are confident putters. All the greens here are on Poa Annua grass which is sticky, bobbly and not made for slow putting.
It is tough to overlook the chances of Snedeker winning here for a second year running. He is in great form having won at Torrey Pines a couple of weeks ago in shocking weather conditions. He putted well on those Poa Annua greens – he putts well on most greens – is a solid iron player and has the confidence to compete against a field of this calibre so back him at 14/1 with Coral.
Snedeker is well fancied but the pre-tournament favourite is Jordan Spieth. The world number one was blown away during his third round here in 2014 and still managed to finish tied for fourth after a round of 78. He never really put the cat amongst the pigeons last year but he’s been competing at the top of the leaderboard all around the world lately without having his best stuff so should be included at 5/1 with Ladbrokes.
The final player to have a bet on is Phil Mickelson. ‘Lefty’ loves playing golf at this time of year on the West Coast of America and he’ll get huge backing from the crowds like he did last week when finishing tied for 11th. His swing work seems to be paying off and an each-way bet at 22/1 with Bet365 looks a good shout.