Onto the majestic scenery of gorgeous landscapes, crashing waves against prehistoric rock formations and Bill Murray bucket hats?
One of these things is not like the other.
This tournament gives off a vibe to me of the counterintuitive. We take one of America’s “Mount Rushmore” golf courses, one of the world’s greatest venues, and we litter it with 22-handicap celebrities, many of whom we need to Google anyways, only to find that they were a member of a 1980s band or a child star actor that we don’t recognize anymore.
For the record, Chris Berman is more unwatchable on the golf course than he is on NFL Sunday Countdown. (Okay, that was a bit harsh. Boomer isn’t terrible, but I can only handle him in doses.) Bill Murray is one of the all-time greats, but his act runs a little dry after years and years of nationally televised prop jokes. Ray Romano’s golf game was never fixed by Hank Haney.
Anyways, we have PGA Tour golf going on, so let’s not rant and rave about the celebrity pro-am. In all honesty, for a short period of time every year, hearing from the celebs and watching them endorse the game is an interesting spectacle. Did you hear that Golf Channel/CBS? A short period.
Back to the reason I’m here– the 2016 Pebble Beach Preview.
Last Year’s Pebble Beach Top-10
Full 2016 Field of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Last Week’s 2016 WMPO Picks
Hideki Matsuyama (Contender) WIN
Bubba Watson (Contender) T14
Ryan Palmer (Contender) T24
Scott Piercy (Sleeper) T45
JB Holmes (Winner) T6
All 5 players made the cut. Piercy had a promising start to his week before weekend 73s moved him down the leaderboard. JB Holmes had the opposite, a very slow start to his week with a flurry on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, moving to a T6.
Overall a week to consider a success.
Past 5 Winners at the WMPO
- 2015: Brandt Snedeker
- 2014: Jimmy Walker
- 2013: Brandt Snedeker
- 2012: Phil Mickelson
- 2011: D.A. Points
Course Overview: PB, MP, SP
This week’s event takes place on three courses:
- Monterey Penninsula Golf Club
- Spyglass Golf Club
- Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach Golf Links is perhaps, the most well-known golf course in the world. Say the words Pebble Beach and the avid golfer perks the same way the periodic amateur does.
Here is the ranking, from longest to shortest:
- Spyglass (par 72)– 6,960 yards
- Monterey Penninsula (par 72)– 6,873 yards
- Pebble Beach (par 72)– 6,828 yards
This Week’s Picks
Three from the Fairway (Contenders)
1. Brandt Snedeker
Look at the twinkle in his eye. Snedeker loves the west coast.
Mr. Snedeker, he of only 1 bogey all week here in 2015, will be back looking for his 3rd win on the Pacific rocky shores since 2013. He’s been a menace at this venue. Perhaps it’s what everyone’s been alluding to with his short, pop putting stroke and these sometimes bumpy poa annua greens. Whatever it is, there’s a level of undeniable comfortability for Snedeker at Pebble Beach.
He’s been hot lately, winning at Torrey and posting solid finishes in it’s wake. Snedeker is a no-brainer this week, but he’ll come at a steep price.
— Troy Klongerbo (@troyklongerbo) February 1, 2016
2. JB Holmes
In 9 career appearances at Pebble Beach, Holmes has only been sent home in 1 of them, missing the cut in 2012. I took him as my winner last week, given his form heading into Phoenix. Despite not winning the event, a T6 finish was respectable.
Given his history at this event, the quality of his play right now and the style in which he plays, he’s a great pick heading into this week.
3. Dustin Johnson
DJ’s play at Pebble Beach based venues has told the entire story. His past 9 starts have been listed of, as follows:
That’s 5 top-5 finishes since 2008, two finishes total outside the top-10.
His form coming into the week is enough to think he has his game somewhat in his grasp, with a few top-20 finishes to start the year. Johnson will arrive at Pebble rested, relaxed and ready to win one in front of his father-in-law, Wayne Gretzky.
Three from the Rough (Sleepers)
A top-10 finisher at this event last year with rounds of 69-64-69 before a Sunday 70 should give Curran confidence coming into the week. Add that to his T11 last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and he has all the makings for a great sleeper pick as we move back to the Pacific Coast.
This season for Curran has been one of a rollercoaster. A top-5 in the fall at the RSM has been surrounded by MCs and a few other top-50s. Last week’s finish was a glimmer of hope.
The Massachusetts native missed 5 cuts in a row prior to last year’s T10 finish, then followed the week after at the Northern Trust with a MC. I think the venue breaths more life into his game, in the form of another sneaky top-25.
Remember, no one in your fantasy pools with be going with Curran this week, so look his way. A simple search on Twitter and I found Tom was thinking the same I was.
Plenty to like about Jon Curran this week. 10th here on debut last year, 11th last week, 4th three starts ago. Happy to ignore MC in (1/2
— Tom Jacobs (@TJacobsGolf) February 9, 2016
He might be the perfect sleeper for those looking deep for a guy to “get an edge” on their pools. In back-to-back years, Perez has registered top-10s at this event. This year, he’s missed three straight cuts, including at his favorite place Torrey Pines.
He’s been hot here in the past. He’s not hot now. You make the choice.
A potential sleeper nonetheless.
I don’t know what got into me this week, but I’m chalk full of sleepers this week at Pebble Beach. Add Hadley to that list.
Back-to-back seasons at the Pebble event, Hadley has finished inside the top-10. He has nothing to show this year for great starts, but has made the cut in two consecutive starts. We wrote about him in 2014 and his “meteoric rise” on the PGA Tour. Thought he was ready to win. If he’s going to breakthrough, a venue with this level of comfort of Hadley may do it.
It’s his favorite place.
My favorite place on earth. The 7th tee at Pebble Beach. pic.twitter.com/E6Xgj5C7F1
— Chesson Hadley (@chessonhadley) February 9, 2016
The Man with the Trophy
Sports Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck gave an explanation into the baffling golfer that is Kevin Na a few weeks ago, giving the golf world a culminating sense of reflection of the man we’ve been ridiculing on the PGA Tour for years.
He only has one PGA Tour victory. With the amount of high finishes, notoriety and publicity he’s received in his career, the total seems like it should be maybe a little higher. Maybe at 3 to 4 wins, right?
Number 2 comes this week.
Na is a horse for the course at Pebble Beach. In 3 of his past 4 starts here, he’s locked top-25 finishes, two of which were top-5s. He’s coming in with solid form, having finished in the top-30 in his last three starts including a 3rd in the CareerBuilder.
Fourth in the 2016 FedEx Cup rankings and 23rd in the OWGR, the legend of Na is rising, just in time for a polarizing figure to play in the Ryder Cup this fall in Minnesota.
A win will do a lot of work getting him there.
Ripped from the pages of this week's SI, my deep dive into Kevin Na's head: https://t.co/Lf3OY4WdUa
— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) January 13, 2016