Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Picks. The guys give their fantasy golf picks, provide their one and done strategy for the event from Pebble Beach.
Editor’s Note: Daniel Berger (back) and Will Zalatoris (COVID-19) have withdrawn from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Field
Field: 156 Players
Cut: Top 60 and Ties
Lineup Lock: Thursday, February 3
Defending Champ: Daniel Berger
Returning to the three-course rotation after dropping the Pro-Am element a year ago, the 2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is headlined by
defending champ Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Will Zalatoris, Seamus Power, Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and the rejuvenated Jason Day.
A trio of international players have decided to make Pebble their first PGA appearance, too: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Min WOO Lee and Dean Burmester, who is playing in his first non-Major/WGC PGA tournament since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open. Burmester was T25/T55 in the Middle East the last two weeks, while closing the year with four top 10s in his final six starts, including a win at the South African PGA Championship. Lee was T35 in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago, while Fitz will make his first start of the year, anywhere on the globe.
Maverick McNealy, Mac Hughes, Mito Pereira, Aaron Rai, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Cameron Tringale, Tom Hoge, Matt Kuchar, Lanto Griffin, Joel Dahmen, Ryan Palmer, Brandt Snedeker, Chris Kirk, Lucas Glover and Cameron Champ headline the next tier of players.
Brandon Harkins is BACK in a regular PGA TOUR event for the first time since losing his card after the 2019 Wyndham Championship on the heels of his victory last week on the Korn Ferry Tour. He’s played this event twice, going T15/T28. Matthias Schwab is making his 2022 PGA debut, as well.
Once again, the Jillian Michaels of the early season schedule, Pebble Beach, for all its notoriety, is the event that has become a hard pass for most of the TOUR’s top-end talent. The field in Saudi Arabia is significantly stronger this week, and I’m certain the field next week in Phoenix will be the same.
Many casual golf fans don’t quite understand why this is the case, but the hardcores know. The Pro-Am element is God awful. Both to play in and watch. In fact, the Pebble Beach broadcast is probably the most unwatchable on the PGA schedule. Well, except last year, I suppose, when there was no Pro-Am, and it was only two courses.
I don’t really care about weak fields, nor does anyone who bets or plays DraftKings — there’s a reason the Valero Texas Open gets viewership, it’s not that. The amateur element makes the rounds six to seven hours long. Calling it a snail’s pace is an injustice to snails. They also spend a good chunk of Saturday’s round interviewing the celebrities and breaking down their swings. If you ever needed to see Macklemore’s impact with a 5-iron with the slow-motion assistance of Konica Minolta version, boy are you in luck. Maybe we’ll be blessed with Jake Owen serenading Jim, Nick and us, the pained viewers, to the break with an acoustic tune. Pebble is the only time all year when the 15 minute gap in coverage from Golf Channel to the network is welcomed.
Then there’s the actual golf issues. Since it’s a three-course rotation, there’s only shot link data and camera at Pebble Beach GL. What happens at the other two courses is essentially a mystery. Sure, you’ll get the periodic cut over to a featured player who they feel obligated to show on TV, but it’s a real nightmare. And since it’s three courses, the cut doesn’t come until after Saturday’s round. And unlike most PGA events, the cut is the top 60 and ties instead of the regular top 65 and ties.
2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Key Stats
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Par 5s: Gained
- Proximity Gained: 100-150 Yards
- Par 4 Gained: 350-400 Yards
- Strokes Gained: Around The Green
Mayo’s Key Stats powered by FantasyNational.com
2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Course(s)
Course: Pebble Beach GL (Two Rounds)
Shot Tracker: Yes
Course: Spyglass Hill GC (One Round)
Shot Tracker: No
Course: Monterey Peninsula (One Round)
Shot Tracker: No
2022 Pebble Beach: Past Winners
- 2021: Daniel Berger -18
- 2020: Nick Taylor -19
- 2019: Phil Mickelson -19
- 2018: Ted Potter Jr. -17
- 2017: Jordan Spieth -19
- 2016: Vaughn Taylor -17
- 2015: Brandt Snedeker -22
- 2014: Jimmy Walker -11
- 2013: Brandt Snedeker -19
- 2012: Phil Mickelson -17
- 2011: D.A. Points -15
- 2010: Dustin Johnson -16
2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Notes
All three courses are incredibly short and limit the advantage of driving distance. Pebble Beach is annually the course with the shortest average drive on TOUR (264 yards vs. 283 yards) and the one with the fewest amount of drives over 300 yards (nine percent).
This mitigates the advantage of the premier drivers in the world, aka most of the elite players, and combined with a lack of elite golfers at the top end in this event, it has opened the door for long-shot winners. Three of the past five winners — Potter, Nick Taylor and Vaughn Taylor — all went off at triple digits. Overall, the last six winners have all been either 30/1 or below (Spieth, Mickelson and Berger) or 100/1 or longer (Potter, Nick Taylor and Vaughn Taylor). Good news for Taylor Moore, or is this only a last name thing?
Coastal winds can be a contributing factor to this, as well. Pebble Beach can switch from easy to frustratingly difficult with a wind shift. It’s worth noting that the 2022 scorecards are showing Pebble Beach playing a bit shorter than a year ago — after it breached 7,000 yards, it’s now below the number again.
Shot Link data is only available for Pebble Beach GL. When you’re researching the statistics, keep this in mind, as half the rounds golfers have played historically at this event are not weighted in the Strokes Gained metrics. Short-iron specialists, regardless of distance, consistently perform the best on an annual basis at all three courses.
Here are the leaders in SG: TOTAL on courses under 7,200 yards over the past 24 since 2019...
And now the leaders in SG: Approach on courses under 7,200 yards over the past 24 since 2019...
— Stats powered by FantasyNational.com
Justin Rose was fifth at Torrey with his irons, and that combined with his third at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble is worth keeping in mind. But I’m sure he was already on your mind. Additionally, the course history is strong at Pebble Beach. All winners this millennium had previously made a cut at Pebble Beach in their career before winning, and most had a top 10 finish on their resume.
Since 2000, the leader or co-leader after 54 holes has gone on to win 12 times, including seven of the past nine years. Berger was T2, one stroke behind Spieth last year, and Phil Mickelson was three back of Paul Casey entering the final round in 2019.
Six first-round leaders have gone on to win at Pebble Beach since 2000, as Nick Taylor became the sixth in 2020. He also became the first international winner at of this event since Vijay Singh in 2004.
Good Ball striking, Bad Putting Torrey
- Zalatoris beat the field by over three strokes BallStriking, but lost nearly two strokes with the flatstick.
- Cameron Champ cost himself 3.24 strokes on the green, erasing a great driving week and a week where he gained with his irons.
- Of all players who missed the cut at Torrey Pines, Nick Watney gained the most on approach (+2.7 on the South Course). He’s far from vintage Watney, but he finished T2 as recently as 2015. And it’s not like he was vintage Watney then, either.
Green sizes at Pebble Beach at just 3,500 square feet. Monterey Peninsula has the largest greens in the rotation at 6,000 square feet, which is still slightly below TOUR average. Hence the extra consideration for SG: Around The Green.
This is the first tournament of the year with a full complement of Poa Annua greens. Torrey Pines is spilt between Poa and Bentgrass between the courses. Since 2019, for players with at least 10 measured rounds on Poa, Mark Hubbard, Wyndham Clark, Maverick McNealy, Matt Kuchar, Brice Garnett, Brandt Snedeker, Brian Stuard and Ted Potter Jr. are all averaging +0.7 SG:PUTT per round on Poa greens.
Looking at it another way, Clark, Potter, Kuchar, Snedeker and McNealy, along with Jason Day and Andrew Putnam, are the only players gaining against the field in over 70% of rounds on Poa putting surfaces over that stretch.
2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Picks
Jordan Spieth ($10,300)
If you recall, it was after a missed cut at the Farmers a year ago when Jordan Spieth’s switch finally flicked ON after a few years. He’d post consecutive top 4s in Phoenix and at Pebble before finally winning in early April. In fact, his missed cut at last year’s Farmer was his last missed cut before last week’s Farmers. Now it is worth noting, his approach game, the key factor in his 2021 resurgence, has been trash since last year’s Open Championship. Which, per my Far Side calendar, was six months ago. A half year. One-Twentieth of a decade.
From Farmers through The Open, Spieth averaged over four strokes on approach per start in those 11 measured event (which do not include his T3 at The Masters and 2nd at The Open, by the way). Since The Open, Spieth has gained on his approaches just once in seven starts, and that was a mighty +0.4 SG:APP at the BMW in August. Fortunately, if you like Spieth, these numbers are not dissimilar from what he was doing before the Farmers a year ago.
Doesn’t mean the turnaround is inevitable, mind you. A return to a happy place should put him in the best position to succeed. Spieth has played Pebble Beach each of the past nine seasons and has finished worse than T22 just once, T45 in 2019 — and he was a stroke off the lead after two rounds that year — and has notched a win and five top 10s in those nine starts.
Matt Kuchar ($7,600)
Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe. Now 43, Kuch is certainly past his prime, but the remaining skills he has perfectly suit this event. Honestly, they should co-sanction this with the Champions Tour, since his all wedges and putting. Kuch is still deadly form 150 yards and in, and he remains one of the best putters in the field, especially on Poa surfaces. Plus, he ranks sixth in this field on holes 350-400 yards over the past 24 rounds. You’re not going to find more holes of that length than at this tournament. And he’s actually playing pretty well right now. He went 4-for-4 in cuts made to close 2021, and opened 2022 with a T7 at the Sony Open. I understand we’re not playing DraftKings in 2013, but Kuchar doesn’t need to win to pay off his price tag.
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Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2022 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 24 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time.
Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have a fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at ThePatMayoExperience@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show.
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