The field this week consists of 154 players. This is the second official “Pro-Am” event on the PGA TOUR schedule and a week where you’ll likely see more celebrity faces on the TV than actual PGA TOUR golfers. The amateur portion of this event was closed last season due to COVID-19 but returns this year and that also means we’ll be back to having a three-course rotation with a 54-hole cut. Players will rotate between three different venues on the first three days of play and then play Pebble Beach again for the finale.
The field this week has dropped a lot of the top players we saw at the Farmers last week, giving us a significantly weaker strength of field. Defending champion Daniel Berger ($10,500) is in the field, as is Patrick Cantlay ($11,200) and 2017 Pebble Beach champion Jordan Spieth ($10,300). After that, things drop off quickly though and this event has thrown us a few long-shot winners (in the 150-1 and above range) over the last decade in D.A. Points ($6,000), Nick Taylor ($7,300) and Vaughn Taylor ($7,000). This event also has its own unique cut rule and the Saturday cut will see the top-60 players and ties advance to Sunday, but everyone will get in at least three rounds this week instead of just the regular two.
Editor’s Note: Daniel Berger (back) has withdrawn from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Pebble Beach (main course), par 72, 7,051 yards; Greens: Poa Annua
Spyglass Hill par 72, 7,041 yards; Greens: Poa Annua
Monterey Peninsula Par 72, Par 71, 6,957 yards; Greens: Poa Annua
As mentioned above, golfers will again rotate between three courses this year, playing each course once prior to the 54-hole cut on Saturday. Even though Spyglass Hill can often play slightly tougher than Pebble Beach, it is more wind-protected, so having your player there on a windy day isn’t such a bad thing. In 2020, the weather really made things tough here as Spyglass played to a 72.876 scoring average and ranked as the fifth-toughest course on the PGA TOUR, while Pebble Beach also played tough at a 72.55 scoring average and was the eighth-toughest venue on the PGA TOUR out of 41.
As far as layout goes, the host course (Pebble Beach) is a traditional par 72 with four par 5s and four par 3s. Three of the four par 5s often play under 550 yards in length and only one par 3 is over 200 yards. Even though there are some longer par 4s to deal with, length off the tee isn’t all that essential this week and the average driving distance for the field is generally 10-15 yards lower this week than the average PGA TOUR event, as many of the holes force players to club down off the tee. While you don’t want your players to be too be inaccurate, it’s worth noting that two of the past five winners of this event have lost strokes off the tee for the week.
Despite this being a less than driver course, there is still plenty of trouble lurking around Pebble Beach (most people remember the famous cliffs on 18) and the small green structures mean most players will have Greens in Regulation percentages under their seasonal average. As a result, solid approach and iron play are a must, along with great scrambling. Six of the top seven players here in 2020 gained +1.2 strokes or more around the greens, while five of the top six last year gained +1.2 strokes ATG, as well.
One final note: With a course rotation in play, a lot of how the tournament shapes out can depend on the weather and wind patterns. Wave stacking is something that can be considered more than normal here, especially if we have a windy forecast (see below).
2022 Weather/Outlook: With all that build-up about how weather can play an important role this week, you’d figure I'd have something interesting to report in this section. That’s not the case this week, though, as the weather looks mild for this time of the year with little to no wind forecast for any of the four days and lots of sunshine. Maybe we get some late-week changes in the gusts, but it’s hard to see much changing to make wave stacking gain you much of an advantage this week in DFS. Look for the venue to produce more birdies than we’ve seen over the past couple of seasons and green in regulation percentages to be up this year. Poor scramblers who are still bringing in solid iron play may get a small bump as a result.
Last five winners
2021—Daniel Berger -18 (over Maverick McNealy -16)
2020—Nick Taylor -19 (over Kevin Streelman -15)
2019—Phil Mickelson -19 (over Paul Casey -16)
2018—Ted Potter Jr. -17 (over Dustin Johnson -14)
2017—Jordan Spieth -19 (over Kelly Kraft -15)
- Since 2000, the winner at Pebble Beach (including the U.S. Open) had a T16 or better in one or more of his previous three starts at Pebble Beach — courtesy @Jude_UT4 on Twitter.
- Recent form is also important this week: Seven of the past 11 winners recorded a top 10 or better in one of their previous two starts on the PGA TOUR before winning here.
Winners Stats and Course Highlights
2021 Winner: Daniel Berger ($) at 18-under par
2021 lead-in form (MC-T7-T10-T23-T17)
- SG: Tee to Green is again a metric to emphasize, although you can definitely look to approaches here more than off the tee play. That was the case last year where Berger excelled against the field on Approach more than any other metric.
- We only have two measured rounds (both on Pebble Beach) to go off for our previous winner’s stats, but the past four winners here ranked no worse than T19 in Approaches for the week.
- Two of the past five winners here have lost strokes off the tee and still won, so dominant off the tee play is simply not needed, although you don’t want your player missing every fairway either.
- Around the green play is important given the hard to hit, small greens and five of the top-six finishers gained over +1.0 strokes around the green.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Jason Day ($9,900; best finishes: T2-2018, T4-2014): Day’s record at Pebble Beach can be easy to overlook as he’s never won this event. Still, the Aussie has finished T7 or better in all of his past seven starts at Pebble Beach and has dominated West Coast events that feature Poa greens over his career. He’s ranked first in strokes gained total stats at Pebble Beach over the past six years.
2. Jordan Spieth ($10,300; best finishes: win-2017, T9-2020): Spieth was again in contention at Pebble Beach last year in a season that saw him grab his first win (in Texas) in over three years. The 27-year-old has played this event six years in a row, has never missed the cut and holds a win and three top 10s. He’s gained strokes ATG and PUTT at Pebble Beach in each of the last four seasons.
3. Brandt Snedeker ($7,400; best finishes: win-2015, 2013): The veteran has now missed the cut at this event the past three seasons but his past record remains one of the best in the field. The two-time Pebble Beach Pro-Am winner loves this layout and he’s gained strokes putting at Pebble Beach in seven of his past 10 visits. He remains a volatile play as his results are mostly putter-based, but he’s still a good upside target for this week.
4. Kevin Streelman ($9,100; best finishes: T13-2020, T2-2019): Streelman ranks second in strokes gained total stats at this event over the past six seasons, right behind Jason Day. He has not finished outside the top 15 at Pebble Beach in any of his past four stats at this event and has gained 3.0 strokes or more on Approach at this event in each of those past six starts.
5. Chez Reavie ($7,400; best finishes: T2-2018): Reavie is another veteran player who you could see pop up on the leaderboard this week. He’s started the season slowly with a MC and a T70, but he has made the cut at Pebble Beach in four straight years and finished T25 or better in three of those starts. He’s good value if you're chasing course history this week.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Lock in Berger and Day
There’s been few players more consistent over the last year than Daniel Berger ($10,500). The American has now gained over 1.0 strokes on approach in 13 straight starts, a ridiculous stretch that showcases what a premier ball-striker he’s become. Berger’s the defending champion and hasn’t finished worse than T10 at this event in three starts. Jason Day ($9,500) is on the opposite end of the spectrum as he’s had terrible form the past two years but has always managed to perform when the TOUR hits Pebble Beach. Day’s record of seven straight years with a T7 or better is unmatched in terms of consistency and should be valued in cash games. Other cash targets this week include the likes of Kevin Streelman ($9,100), Russel Knox ($7,800) and Matt Kuchar ($7,600).
Tournaments: Hoge and Hughes could surprise
This event has seen a lot of surprise winners and players who can get hot on the Poa greens for a four-day sample have better value in this weaker field. Mackenzie Hughes ($8,400) is coming off a missed cut, but it was only two starts ago that he finished T2 at the RSM Classic. Hughes finished T10 at this event on debut back in 2017 and seems like a good fit, long-term, for this venue. We’ve already seen Tom Hoge ($8,500) perform well this year as he narrowly missed a win at The American Express. Hoge’s also played Pebble Beach a few times now and finished T12 at this event last year. His high salary will likely keep ownership low in GPPs. Other potential tournament targets include Chris Kirk ($7,700 - see below), Michael Thompson ($7,900 - see below) and Kevin Chappell ($6,800).
GOLF WITHDRAW ALERT: Will Zalatoris has withdrawn from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am due to a positive COVID-19 test. pic.twitter.com/k1ofDIkQKa— DK Nation (@dklive) February 1, 2022
1. Will Zalatoris ($10,800, 2nd-T6): Betting Luke List at double the price last week would have produced better results, but Zalatoris is playing out of his mind. He’s finished T6 - 2nd in his last two starts and ranks third in SG: Approach stats.
2. Patrick Cantlay ($11,200, T9-T4): Cantlay opened with a 62 at The American Express and hasn’t finished worse than T9 in his past four PGA TOUR starts. He’s the deserving favorite in this watered-down field.
3. Seamus Power ($9,400, T14-T3): The Irishman took last week off but has now finished inside the top 15 in seven of his past eight PGA TOUR starts. He’s never finished better than T38 at this week's event but is in the form of his life right now.
4. Denny McCarthy ($8,200, T6-T48-T10): McCarthy has quietly put together a nice stretch of golf. He’s finished T15 or better in four of his past five starts. McCarthy ranks in the top 15 in strokes gained putting and short game in long-term form.
5. Justin Rose ($9,600, T6-T33): Rose is coming off a great start at the Farmers, which saw him come within a birdie of making the playoff. The Englishman gained 5.4 strokes on approach last week and has made the cut in eight straight PGA TOUR starts.
MY PICK: Michael Thompson ($7,900)
We’re either being super sharp by targeting Thompson at this high a price or a complete square, but the 36-year-old is playing some good golf at the moment and does fit our main trends (see above) from past winners at Pebble Beach. A recent T5 at the Sony Open came on the back of some great iron play, where he gained over 6.5 strokes on Approach, alone. Last week saw him play well again, as he landed a T11 at Torrey Pines and gained 5.2 strokes around the green on Torrey Pines’ tough green structures.
Pebble Beach is a much more suitable layout for the short-hitting Thompson who has finished as high as T10 here three years ago. Thompson’s always been a good West Coast start in DFS too, as he’s outperformed his salary numerous times at the Farmers and also racked up the best result of his career at the U.S. Open in 2012, when he finished T2 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. He’s trending with great iron play and short game stats of late and is one of the best “spike putters” on TOUR when that club is working. I like targeting him here at under $8,000 and on DraftKings Sportsbook for an outright at +8000.
MY SLEEPER: Chris Kirk ($7,700)
Kirk fits the bill as a player who could easily pop up this week and steal a win. The veteran has played this venue numerous times in the past and recorded a T16 at this event last season, gaining strokes against the field in every major category. He’s done better than that at Pebble Beach before though, grabbing a T2 finish in 2013 and is the kind of player who will benefit from the tricky setup in play this week, one that typically deemphasizes power in favor of approach and around the green play.
Kirk’s recent form may not look all that hot (two missed cuts in his past three starts) but he ranks 17th in SG: TTG stats in long-term form and has gained strokes around the green in six straight starts now. Kirk’s missed cuts were essentially missed on the number and his one weekend appearance saw him play decent enough to grab a T27. Given his experience at this event and how well it sets up for his game, he’s a player I would not be shocked to see pop up on the leaderboard late into Sunday. On what is almost always a volatile week for DFS, Kirk makes for a good player to grab at this lower price point in big fields where he has the upside to potentially carry your lineups.
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