PGA Tour Picks: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Odds
by Alan Matthews - 2/5/2014
OK, I am pondering a change to my picking style on these PGA Tour events. I've never made it this deep into a season without recommending a winner. Well, I've made it through February without doing so but not this far into a season tournament-wise (this is No. 12). Maybe the new wraparound schedule has messed up my betting equilibrium.
Last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Kevin Stadler got his first career Tour win. He is the son, of course, of the "Walrus," Craig Stadler. They are the ninth father-son combination to win on the PGA Tour, and they will get to play together at the Masters for the first time, so that's cool because this will be the elder Stadler's final trip to Augusta. His signature victory was at the 1982 Masters.
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Kevin Stadler capitalized on Bubba Watson's implosion on 15, 16 and 18 on Sunday -- Watson couldn't get up-and-down on 18 and missed a 5-foot par putt for a playoff -- to win by a shot over Watson and red-hot Canadian Graham DeLaet. Naturally, I didn't pick Stadler. I went with Ryan Palmer (28/1), who had a great track record at TPC Scottsdale but finished T48 after an ugly opening 76. I did mention DeLaet (28/1) was worth looking at to win, but that he didn't have a good record in the event. Head-to-head, I hit on Webb Simpson (even) over Phil Mickelson -- I didn't expect Lefty to play well, and he didn't with a T42. Also got Hunter Mahan (-115) over Gary Woodland. Just missed a playoff at +250 being the winning margin -- thanks a lot Bubba!
This week the Tour moves to probably the most scenic public course in the USA for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Actually, it's held over three courses: Pebble Beach (a must for every true golfer who can afford to get out there), Spyglass Hill and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. Everyone in the field will play each of those courses once, and the cut is after 54 holes. The low 60s then play Pebble Beach on Sunday. Believe it or not, Pebble is the shortest course on Tour, but obviously the weather conditions and incredibly small greens make it an immense challenge. The U.S. Open should be played at Pebble every five years or so, in my opinion.
Despite playing through some back trouble that clearly led to his struggles last week, Mickelson honored his commitment this week and will tee it up. Mickelson and defending champion Brandt Snedeker are two of the world's Top 21 in the field -- No. 1 Tiger Woods was off in India early this week getting $2 million to play a skins round of golf, so he's not here. Because the rounds here take forever playing with amateurs, a lot of top players tend to take a pass.
Snedeker dominated this tournament last year, playing his first seven holes on Sunday in five under to cruise to a two-shot win. You may remember Snedeker was playing out of his mind to start 2013 and had finished runner-up the previous two weeks heading into Pebble. His 21-under 267 total was the 72-hole record for this event, and he played the par 3s in an average of 2.76, T3 in the field. Chris Kirk shot a final-round 66 and finished second.
Another important facet of this tournament is that the qualifiers for the 64-man field of the WGC-Match Play in two weeks will be set after Pebble. You have to be in the Top 64 in the world rankings after this tournament, but already a few top players have bowed out of the Match Play, including Tiger and Adam Scott. So the Match Play will simply go to No. 65, 66, etc., in the rankings.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Favorites
Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day all are 12/1 favorites at Bovada. Johnson won here in 2009 when it was shortened to 54 holes and then again in 2010 by a shot. You may remember he was leading the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble as well before an 82 on Sunday. Johnson, who will play the pro-am with Wayne Gretzky, his future father-in-law, missed the cut here a season ago. He hasn't played since the Hyundai to kick off 2014 and finished T6 there.
The Aussie Day has become a lot like Matt Kuchar in that he doesn't win but almost always contends. In fact, he has Top-15s in his past seven worldwide starts. Day has a best result of sixth here, coming last year and 2008. He finished T2 in his last start this year at the Farmers.
I'm simply not touching Mickelson this week even though he has won this tournament four times. He has to be fatigued with the back problems, and this is his fourth straight event. He almost never plays that often, and it's why Mickelson too is skipping the Match Play. He will return at the Honda Classic in Florida.
Hunter Mahan and Jordan Spieth (both 16/1) round out the Top 5. Mahan had that strong finish last week and hasn't been worse than 16th here the past two years, highlighted by a runner-up in 2011. Spieth finished 22nd in his first visit here last year. He reportedly is dealing with an ankle injury.
PGA Tour Picks: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Predictions
Bovada is back to its usual listing of just a handful of players for Top-10 finishes this week. Not sure why the change back. I like Day at +110, Mahan at +165 and Snedeker at +200. I love both Day and Johnson at -115 head-to-head over Mickelson (also -115). Take Mahan (-120) over Spieth (-110) and Graeme McDowell (-115) over Kirk (-115). Jump on Day at 10/11 as the top Aussie and McDowell at 5/2 as the top European.
I am very curious to see how McDowell plays in his first PGA Tour event of 2014 as it will be his first trip to Pebble since winning that 2010 U.S. Open. He played well to close 2013, so I expect similar things, but I don't like him at 33/1 to win. Forget about Stadler (40/1) going back-to-back. I am tempted to take Jimmy Walker at 22/1 as he has a Top-10 in each of his past three trips here, but he missed the cut at the Farmers in his last start. However, I have to go chalk and take Day because he is overdue for a victory and playing well.
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