Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
After one merciful week of four rounds at the same course, we are back to a rotation for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Like the American Express a few weeks back, golfers will rotate courses the first three days before the top 60 play the namesake course a second time to determine the champion. Last year, Phil Mickelson bested Paul Casey in the Sunday dusk. It's been a precipitous drop for Phil since then -- at the time he was the 17th ranked player in the world but has with just one finish inside the top 20 since and is currently 72nd.
The three courses are Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Club, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club. Leaderboards the past few years have been dotted with both household names and relative unknowns, and on a Tour where many tracks can seem pretty cookie-cutter week to week, there is no doubting the uniqueness (strangeness?) that this event can bring.
The field will play each of the three courses over the first three days, and golfers who make the 54-hole cut will get a second crack at Pebble on Sunday. Even though all three courses are under 7,000 yards, birdies are hard to come by at all three tracks. Last year, each ranked as one of the 20 lowest birdie or better percentages on both par 4s and par 5s.
Wind here is a factor given the geography, but it's far from a defining trait. The courses had plenty of teeth in fairly calm conditions last year, but the weather looks pretty good so far. Someone will get a bad draw this week, and even though we don't know who yet, there is still merit in tee-stacking if you are max-entering lineups or looking for leverage on the field.
Let's dig into the courses and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
|Season||Course||Par||Yardage||Avg Score||Avg O/U Par||Difficulty Rank|
|2019||Pebble Beach GL||72||6816||72.13||+0.13||12|
|2018||Pebble Beach GL||72||6816||72.022||+0.022||16|
|2017||Pebble Beach GL||72||6816||71.9||-0.1||26|
|2016||Pebble Beach GL||72||6816||72.498||+0.498||16|
|2015||Pebble Beach GL||72||6816||70.241||-1.759||45|
|2019||Spyglass Hill GC||72||6960||71.723||-0.277||20|
|2018||Spyglass Hill GC||72||6953||71.779||-0.221||22|
|2017||Spyglass Hill GC||72||6953||72.203||+0.203||20|
|2016||Spyglass Hill GC||72||6953||72.506||+0.506||15|
|2015||Spyglass Hill GC||72||6953||71.199||-0.801||25|
|2019||Monterey Peninsula CC||71||6958||70.652||-0.348||22|
|2018||Monterey Peninsula CC||71||6958||70.058||-0.942||38|
|2017||Monterey Peninsula CC||71||6958||71.26||+0.26||19|
|2016||Monterey Peninsula CC||71||6867||70.699||-0.301||25|
|2015||Monterey Peninsula CC||71||6867||68.936||-2.064||50|
We have three short courses that all played pretty tough last year, and tough scoring conditions with the Pro-Am element lead to some very long rounds. None of these courses is susceptible to bomb-and-gouge, as they were three of the four courses with the shortest average driving distance in 2019.
Each course is seeded with fast poa annua greens, and while we shouldn't expect the rough at Pebble to be anywhere near as treacherous as it was in June, there are still some scary spots around the greens.
The American Express makes sense given how similar the format is and how unlike every other event is, but the Nicklaus Course and La Quinta CC are so easy on the field that we can largely ignore them and link to the Stadium Course exclusively. Harbour Town Golf Links (RBC Heritage) has some of the smallest greens on Tour, and Pebble Beach is right in that conversation. Harbour Town is also a coastal track with some off the wall winners. Keeping with that same theme, Colonial Country Club can get plenty windy and is a short track that makes accuracy a priority over distance.
These stats have proven vital to success at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
|Key Stats for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am|
|Strokes Gained: Tee to Green|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 4s|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
We certainly don't need to worry about distance off the tee this week, but we shouldn't automatically cut out any heavy hitters. Plenty of approaches will be from 200+ yards, and a golfer who clubs down off the tee to keep it in play still has the muscle with his long irons to get there and control the spin from distance.
That makes approach play key this week, and with three courses, we'll want to target recent form plus long term tee-to-green prowess when building daily fantasy lineups or eyeing outright wagers. Daily fantasy scoring rules make birdies or better pretty much an evergreen stat, and on challenging courses, they are at even more of a premium.
Conditions change day over day, and even golfers who have played a ton of rounds here are still subject to sample size issues at Spyglass and Monterey for many statistics. We'll keep it straight forward and go with those gaining the most on both par 4s and par 5s. The top four finishers last year ranked inside the top 15 in both par 4 scoring and par 5 scoring.
Course History Studs
Last year was Mickelson's fifth time as the winner over his Hall of Fame career, and he'd finished as runner up in two of the three years prior. His form is obviously in question now even after a T3 finish this week in Saudi Arabia. He has failed to crack the top 20 in any of the four prior championship defenses.
Jason Day has never won but does have 6 top 10 finishes in 10 years, including 4 of the past 5. He has never missed the cut at this event.
Dustin Johnson has played here each of the past 12 years and won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. He has finished inside the top 7 in 8 of those appearances and outside the top 40 in the other 4.
On the less elite end of the spectrum, Scott Stallings and Kevin Streelman pop in recent performance at this event. Stallings's last three years are 3rd, 7th, and T14, and Streelman's last four are T7, 6th, T14, and T17. Both golfers have multiple missed cuts in their long-term history, but the more recent sample is encouraging.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.