Monterey, Calif. is the next stop for the PGA TOUR, as we proceed to navigating AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am odds. Also known as Big Little Lies country, the field will be as star-studded as the BLL cast. How long can I continue these HBO tie-ins?
The return of the Pro-Am this year means a slew of celebrities in the field, including regulars like Macklemore, Don Cheadle, Josh Duhamel, Ray Romano, Larry Fitzgerald and Alex Smith. Pro-Am debutants will also include Josh Allen, Mia Hamm, Mookie Betts, Canelo Alvarez, Schoolboy Q, Lukas Nelson (Willie Nelson’s son), and Scott Eastwood (Clint Eastwood’s son).
My cold little heart can’t handle another week without an outright winner, but I’m optimistic heading into one of my favorite courses in the world. I hit here for Gary Woodland’s 2019 U.S. Open victory and again for Daniel Berger’s 2021 Pebble Beach Pro-Am victory. So we’ve hit with four rounds at Pebble and three rounds at Pebble. Can we do it again with just two this time?
Here’s a look at everything you can expect to help navigate 2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am odds.
PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM Favorites
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- Longshots to consider at 2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
THE FIELD AT A GLANCE
In 2021, Pebble Beach Pro-Am odds had the second lowest Strength of Field of any “A-side” PGA TOUR event after the John Deere Classic. Looking at this week’s field, we should expect a similar rank at the bottom of that list, a stark contrast from last week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
The field is headlined by 2021 FedEx Cup Champion Patrick Cantlay, Daniel Berger (defending champion at this event) and 2017 champion Jordan Spieth. In total, there are 10 OWGR top-50 players in the field this week. That list also includes Will Zalatoris, Matt Fitzpatrick, Kevin Kisner, Mackenzie Hughes, Min Woo Lee, Seamus Power, and Justin Rose.
If you’re wondering where the rest of the world’s elites are, look overseas to the Saudi International, which has attracted 20 OWGR top-50 players this week, including Phil Mickelson, who has made a career of dominating Pebble Beach.
INTRODUCTION TO THE THREE-COURSE ROTATION
It’s the third week in a row now we’ll be navigating a multi-course rotation, but thankfully this will be the last rotating course set-up we see this season. I’m all for variety, but cycling through multiple courses means less Strokes Gained data and an added variable of the field not playing the same courses under the same daily conditions. All that randomness makes it just a bit more difficult to predict what’s going to happen with historical data. With that said, we do have ample data on Pebble Beach, which will host two rounds. So that will be used for the basis of this week’s research.
Similar to The American Express, this event removed the Pro-Am and one course (Monterey Peninsula) from its rotation due to COVID-19 protocols in 2021, converting to a standard 36-hole cut with both weekend rounds played on the star course, Pebble Beach. This year, we’re back to the usual set-up, as players will rotate across Pebble Beach, Monterey Peninsula, and Spyglass Hill Thursday through Saturday, with the top-60 and ties advancing to the final round at Pebble Beach.
Unlike The AmEx, there is some bite to these courses, even for a Pro-Am set-up designed to not kill the amateurs. The Poa greens will roll on the slower side and rough will not be grown to its limits with the amateurs in mind, however even still, we’ve seen modest winning scores in the mid-teens year in, year out at this event. The exposure to high coastal winds is mostly to thank for keeping the scoring in check, but despite all three courses playing under 7,100 yards, they each present their own challenges.
Pebble Beach features some of the smallest greens we see on TOUR all season at just 3,500 square feet in average green size. This puts an emphasis on playing from the fairway and dialing in approach shots. It also yields one of the lowest Greens In Regulation percentages on TOUR, making SG: Around The Green a key stat for this week.
Due to the angular hole layouts, Pebble Beach concedes the shortest average driving distance on TOUR, forcing layups on many holes off the tee, and almost completely removing any advantage for longer hitters. The historical scoring average is 0.8 strokes over par, so depending on how much the winds decide to pick up, this course can really pose a challenge to the field, despite the short length on the scorecard.
There’s less data to discern through on the Monterey Peninsula and Spyglass Hill courses. What we do know, is that the Monterey Peninsula course, which was removed from the rotation last year, is the easiest of the three, and where players will need to capitalize, especially if winds are down. Monterey Peninsula is a 6,958-yard Par-71 with five Par-3s, four Par-5s, and nine Par-4s. The Par-5s are gettable and should generate copious birdie and eagle opportunities. The scoring average on Monterey Peninsula is about 0.7 strokes under par.
Spyglass Hill can pose the most difficult test of the three courses. There are five holes exposed to the coast, but is otherwise tree-lined to help protect itself from the elements. When winds are down, Spyglass has played as the most difficult test of the three; when winds are up, it plays slightly easier than Pebble Beach. The longest of the three at 7,035 yards, this Par-72 features four Par 4s under 400 yards where players will need to capitalize. The scoring average here has played to about 0.5 strokes over par.
Similar to what we saw most recently at Port Royal for the Bermuda Championship, these grounds are very exposed to the coastline, and will be highly susceptible to winds. It will be key to keep an eye out for weather reports throughout the week to see if there is an advantage for any of the course rotation waves, or AM/PM tee time splits.
- Yards: 6,816 (PB), 6,958 (MP), 7,035 (SGH)
- Par (Pebble Beach & Spyglass Hill): 72 (4x 3s / 10x 4s / 4x 5s)
- Par (Monterey Peninsula): 71 (5x 3s / 9x 4s / 4x 5s)
- Greens: Poa
- Architect: Jack Nevill & Douglas Grant (PB), Robert Baldock (MP), Robert Trent Jones Sr (SGH)
- Historical Cut Line: -5
- Median 4-round Score: -5 (’21), -3 (’20), -6 (’19), -6 (’18), -5 (’17)
- Comp Courses: Waialae CC, Port Royal, Colonial CC, Mayakoba El Camaleon, Sea Island, Royal Portrush
- Recent Winners: Daniel Berger (’21), Nick Taylor (’20), Phil Mickelson (’19), Ted Potter Jr. (’18), Jordan Spieth (’17)
EVENT HISTORY AND COURSE COMPS
The event history section would have been reserved for Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson; however, they’ve each been poached by the Saudis this week. Instead, the top honor for historical Event History belongs to Jason Day. The known Poa assassin is coming in hot after nearly winning the Farmers Insurance Open last week. Despite having never cashed a Pebble Beach Pro-Am odds outright ticket, he enters this week with a staggering streak of seven consecutive appearances with a T11-or-better finish.
After Day, the rest of the top 10 in Event History is rounded out by Kevin Streelman, Daniel Berger, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay, Justin Rose, Chez Reavie, Nick Taylor, Maverick McNealy, and Vaughn Taylor. It’s an interesting mix of experienced plodders along with the top year-over-year names in this field.
Multiple Top-10 Finishes
Looking at recent finishes, it’s a bit more volatile than we typically have seen week to week. Only eight players in this field have delivered multiple T10 finishes over the last five years: Jason Day, Kevin Streelman, Jordan Spieth, Scott Stallings, Daniel Berger, Maverick McNealy, and Brian Gay.
It’s not the easiest week to hone in on Comp Courses, given we’ll be playing across three different courses that each have their own unique characteristics. What they do share in common however, is that they’re under 7,200 yards, and exposed to the coastline, susceptible to high winds. In general, Short Course History appears to be translatable here. The top 10 players SG: TOT (<7,200 Yards) are Patrick Cantlay, Daniel Berger, Seamus Power, Tom Hoge, Jason Day, Maverick McNealy, Cameron Tringale, Charley Hoffman, Stewart Cink, and Mackenzie Hughes. With the exception of Power, Cink, and Hughes, the rest of this group has found repeated success at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. That factors into the ranking in part, but I’ll be looking closely at players who have recently played well on courses that force layups and mitigate distance off the tee.
It’s tricky factoring performance in high winds into any modeling given that gusting winds do not effect all players in the field the same. But looking at a combination of Short Course performance and recent performance on windy, coastal tracks, there are just seven players who rank top-30 in both categories: Patrick Cantlay, Daniel Berger, Jason Day, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Russell Knox, and Alex Smalley.
Looking at specific comp courses, Colonial CC looks to be the best one in terms of overlapping success. Like the courses we’ll see this week, Colonial is a short course which rewards accurate, positional play off the tee and can be played in high sustained winds. Daniel Berger, Jordan Spieth, and Phil Mickelson each have wins at both events. Chris Kirk and Kevin Kisner are winners at Colonial who are in the field this week and may be worth a look if that trend continues.
Beyond Colonial CC, I also like Waialae CC, Port Royal, Sea Island, El Camaleon, and Royal Portrush as recent short, windy, and coastal tracks. The top-10 players in SG: TOT at these comp courses are Daniel Berger, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Cameron Tringale, Wyndham Clark, Patrick Cantlay, Seamus Power, Kevin Streelman, and Maverick McNealy. As expected, there’s plenty of overlap here with the list of top players on Short & Windy courses.
KEY STATS TO CONSIDER
- SG: APP
- Good Drives Gained / Driving Accuracy
- SG: ARG
- Prox: 100-125
- Opportunities Gained
- SG: TOT (<7,200 Yards)
- SG: P (Poa)
- Course & Comp Course History
- SG: Patience / SG: 6+ Hour Round Tolerance
You don’t have to be a fairway-finding specialist to put yourself in position off the tee this week. Many players who may normally reach back for extra distance at the expense of hitting more fairways will be forced to keep their driver in the bag on these courses. With that in mind, Driving Accuracy may be a bit of a misleading stat to weight heavily this week, knowing that players will be looking to lay up more often.
With this week setting up as more of a second-shot course, I like the Good Drives Gained stat in place of the usual SG: OTT, Driving Distance, or Driving Accuracy stats, as it also incorporates approach play. Players who can get themselves into position to reach greens in regulation should create the most scoring opportunities at this event. The top 10 players in Good Drives Gained are Russell Knox, Kyle Stanley, Daniel Berger, Chez Reavie, Adam Hadwin, Tom Lehman, Tyler Duncan, Matthew NeSmith, Alex Smalley, and Hayden Buckley.
Strokes Gained: Approach is crucial every week on TOUR, but at a second shot course like Pebble Beach which features some of the smallest greens we see all year, it’s even more paramount. The top 10 players SG: APP entering this week are Daniel Berger, Tom Hoge, Cameron Percy, Luke Donald, Mito Pereira, Kyle Stanley, Bronson Burgoon, Chez Reavie, Joseph Bramlett, and Vaughn Taylor.
Looking at the distribution of approach shots historically at Pebble Beach, we see half as many shots from 150-175 and double the shots from 100-125 compared to TOUR average. The wedge players from 100-125 yards entering this week are Tom Hoge, Russell Knox, Matthew NeSmith, Andrew Landry, Chez Reavie, Kevin Streelman, Christiaan Bezhuidenhout, Charley Hoffman, Ben Crane, and Brendon Todd.
With only half of the rounds being played on Pebble Beach, it’s a difficult week to draw any conclusive trends from past SG: TOT correlations. What we do know in looking through the list of players with top event history, is that stats like Good Drives Gained, SG: APP, Short Course History, SG: ARG, SG: P (Poa), and Opportunities Gained should serve as reliable indicators of success. There are just five players who rate out above-average in each of those categories: Patrick Cantlay, Seamus Power, Christiaan Bezhuidenhout, Mark Hubbard, and Andrew Putnam.
Lastly, we have to acknowledge that this is a Pro-Am, and it’s not going to look or feel exactly like any other PGA TOUR event for the players. Unlike The AmEx, many of the amateurs in this field are celebrities, presumably worse players, and will act as more of a spectacle/distraction. This is also not a putting contest like The AmEx was, and will therefore result in a lot of waiting for the professionals as they tolerate their amateur counterparts hacking around courses where professionals average about Even par. Will Zalatoris and Matt Jones are two of the fastest playing TOUR players in this field, so will be interesting to see how they tolerate a 6+ hour round of golf. Talor Gooch also happens to be absent this week. Coincidence?
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: RUSSELL KNOX
We are four events into the 2022 year and have already seen Hideki Matsuyama and Luke List win events by finishing in the top-10 in the field SG: Putting that given week. Over the course of the full 2021 season, Hideki Matsuyama and Luke List ranked 199th and 212th respectively in SG: Putting out of 216 players on the PGA TOUR. It’s not enough to fade players strictly because they’re bad putters anymore, as we are seeing that even the worst statistical putters on TOUR are capable of figuring it out on the greens, if only for four straight days. As the 179th ranked putter on TOUR last season, Russell Knox looks like Ben Crenshaw compared to these early winners.
Putting aside, it’s hard to come up with reasons not to be optimistic about Russell Knox’s chances when he steps onto a short, wind-exposed course. For a long time, I’ve labeled Emiliano Grillo as the Coastal Elite of the PGA TOUR, however if we reassess that today, it really is Russell Knox who deserves the Coastal Elite title. Over the last year, Knox has three T15 finishes, which have come at last year’s AT&T Pro-Am, the Bermuda Championship, and the Sony Open, all sharing the same short, coastal profile. Over the course of his career, he’s accumulated 38 T15 finishes, and 20 of them have come on coastal courses. Big Little Lies has taught me that Monterey is Coastal Elite territory, so I take that as a good sign for Russell Knox.
Knox is 6th overall in my model this week, thanks to a No. 1 ranking in Good Drives Gained. On short courses in particular where he doesn’t need to reach back for extra distance, Russell Knox is as reliable as they come in positioning off the tee. He also ranks inside the top-20 in this field in SG: APP, SG: T2G, Short Course History, Prox 100-125, and Comp Course History.
Similar to Luke List, Poa greens have surprisingly given Knox the least trouble of any other surface over the course of his career. He’s gained strokes putting in four of his last five trips to this event, including three T15 finishes over his last four appearances. A short, windy, second shot links course on Poa greens is the perfect recipe for the pride of Scotland who looks poised to improve on last year’s T7 finish.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR AT THE 2022 AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM
Daniel Berger hit a walk-off Eagle on 18 last year to clear past Maverick McNealy by two two strokes to win the 2021 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Jordan Spieth came alive this week last year with a hole-in-one and hole-out eagle from the fairway to enter Sunday with a two stroke lead before fizzling out on Sunday. Nate Lashley was in the mix from start to finish, however met his demise on Sunday with a four-putt triple bogey on 16. Legend has it the greenskeepers have just gotten around to repairing the craters he left on that green following that implosion.
Last year’s event removed both the easier-scoring Monterey Peninsula course and amateurs from the field, both favoring the stronger players and removing the sorts of randomness that would favor winners like Vaughn Taylor or Ted Potter Jr.
Maverick McNealy will be the most tipped golfer in the history of golf betting this week. He’s gotten off to a very hot start this 2022 season, has an unblemished history putting on Poa, impressed at least for the first three rounds last week at the Farmers Insurance Open, finished runner up at the 2021 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and T5 here the year before. He also practically grew up on Pebble Beach in his family’s billion dollar mansion just outside Monterey, and has spoken about his comfortability and familiarity around the course. And he has a cool name. We should expect the shortest Mav McNealy odds we’ve ever seen this week, and while I may not be able to stomach that from a betting perspective, it’ll be hard to avoid having exposure in DFS.
While each of last year’s heavyweights (Berger, Cantlay, Spieth, Casey) were in contention on Sunday, I don’t expect the same top-heavy leaderboard this time around. Bringing the Pro-Am back into play means the rough should be less penal, and greens and pins will be more receptive, which should open up some of the less-skilled players at the bottom of the board to still contend. It’s not pure randomness like The AmEx’s set-up, but I am leaning towards rolling out a longer card and fading the top names this go-around.
With all the course-fit profiles in mind, I’m leaning early towards the below player pool for DFS which will also color who I highlight in Pebble Beach Pro-Am odds. It’s broken out by projected pricing/odds tier.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON 2022 AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM ODDS
For my model in Fantasy National this week, I’m prioritizing SG: APP, Comp Course History, Good Drives Gained, Short Course History, and Opportunities Gained, with a secondary balance of SG: P (TOT + Poa), SG: T2G, and SG: ARG to help navigate Pebble Beach Pro-Am odds.
West Coast killer, Patrick Cantlay, is unsurprisingly back in the No. 1 spot this week. He is looking to build on his career-best third place finish at this event last year, and will be the favorite when odds open on Monday. After Cantlay, my model’s top 10 is rounded out by Daniel Berger, Maverick McNealy, Tom Hoge, Seamus Power, Russell Knox, Christiaan Bezhuidenhout, Mito Pereira, Cameron Percy, and Denny McCarthy.
It’s hard to have a ton of conviction in most of the names in this field, but I’m leaning towards spreading my outright card across a longer list of names in the 50/1+ range, depending on where odds open. It’s just tough to pay up on the odds premiums with the top names, given the random impact weather can have on this event. If you have more patience and discretion than me, it’s probably most prudent to reserve some bankroll for live outright adds later in the week, once we have a better understanding of how the weather will impact this tournament across the three courses.
For now, I’m leaning towards Mito Pereira (obviously), Seamus Power, Tom Hoge, and Russell Knox, but check back below here at TheLines to see where odds open on Monday!
Thanks for reading, and good luck navigating 2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am odds!
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