It may only be a short hop from Phoenix, Arizona to Carmel Bay, California but it will feel like a million miles for those who played in both the Phoenix Open and this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
While last week’s tournament is renowned as the rowdiest in golf, the rowdiest thing at Pebble Beach every year is Bill Murray’s outfit. This is a much more sedate affair where the galleries at Pebble Beach, Monterey Peninsula and Spyglass Hill have the chance to watch world class golfers and stars of entertainment play in a relaxed atmosphere.
Despite the relatively laid back feel to proceedings, this is still an important PGA Tour event as is clear by the list of recent winners. Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Jimmy Walker are all major champions and they’ve all won at Pebble Beach in the last 10 years.
Those four also have different strengths to their game which shows that an eclectic array of styles can get the job done on these Pacific Coast courses. That said, an ability to hit controlled shots in the wind and a rock solid short game are absolutely vital given the test of links golf posed, especially at Pebble Beach and Monterey Peninsula.
Rahm Has All the Tools for Yet Another Win
A lot has been said about Jon Rahm’s rise up the world rankings. Although it’s obviously incredibly impressive for such a young player, some doubters point out that the golf world rankings operate on a two year basis and Rahm has been a professional for just over a year. What that means is that he’ll have to maintain his excellent run of results to remain towards the top of the rankings. The thing is, he looks more than capable of doing just that.
Rahm’s finished outside of the top 11 just twice in his last nine PGA Tour starts. He’s also picked up two wins on both the PGA and European Tours. There’s no sign of his form slowing down and there are particular reasons to suggest he can compete at Pebble Beach.
Rahm’s first win on the European Tour came at Portstewart Golf Club, a real test of links golf. He also won on the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines which has the same sort of Poa Annua greens in play at Pebble Beach. Rahm ticks all the boxes and looks the value play at the top of the market at 11/1 with Betfred.
McDowell Can Draw on Positive Memories
When Graeme McDowell won the US Open at Pebble Beach in 2010 he hoped that it marked the start of a period of an extended period where he challenges for major championships. Although he remained an important part of European Ryder Cup teams in subsequent years, his powers have faded dramatically.
McDowell understands that he’s not at his best any longer and is working to fix that. He’ll always struggle against the big hitters on many PGA Tour courses but Pebble Beach suits his game and holds some great memories for him. That makes him worth a speculative each way bet at 125/1 with Coral.