We once again came up one shot short and ended up with yet another runner up. It has been some difficult beats at the beginning of the year, but the fact that we continue to have multiple players in contention on Sunday shows we are close.
We now head to Pebble Beach, California this week for the 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The PGA pros will be accompanied by amateurs and celebrities to put on a show for the fans at 3 separate venues. They will be teeing it up at Spyglass Hill Golf Club, Monterey Peninsula Country Club ( The Shores) and Pebble Beach Golf Links. Let’s take a closer look at all three venues and our picks for the week.
Spyglass Hill Golf Club
Spyglass Hill Golf Club will have the player’s full attention this week. Every year this course is ranked as one of the toughest on Tour, especially if the wind picks up. The 6858 yard Par 72 course was home to the US Open in 2010 and showed its ability to make players look foolish. Dustin Johnson had a 3 shot lead going into Sunday where he unfortunately shot 82. He should still have plenty of confidence this week though as he has won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in both 2009 and 2010.
The course record at Spyglass Hill is shared by Phil Mickelson and Luke Donald who both fired 62’s on this challenging track. To go low at Spyglass one will have to manage their way through holes 5, 8 and 16. These four holes will give the players fits all week.
Hole 5 is a 197 yard Par 3 that the players will need their best iron shot on to ensure they don’t end up with bogeys or worse. Nicknamed ‘Bird Rock’ the Par 3 is surrounded by 3 pot bunkers, one of which is the deepest and most challenging on the course.
Hole 8 is the number one handicap hole on the course and is a beast of a 399 yard Par 4. You might be thinking to yourself, 399 yards is not long at all for a Par 4, but this one is. Uphill all the way to the green, the players are faced with two difficult shots only to get to a green with a large crown near the centre. A four here is an excellent score.
Finally, Hole 16 is a 476 Yard Par 4 that the players will want to get through and head as quick as they can away from it. This tree lined dog leg right nicknamed ‘Black Dog’ will challenge the players off the tee. A large tree protects the right side of the fairway forcing the players to shape a shot. A straight shot off the tee has potential of running through the fairway setting up a long and difficult approach. In 2010 there were only 12 birdies all week on this hole.
Monterey Peninsula Country Club (The Shores)
The 6838 Yard Par 70 Monterey Peninsula CC Course replaced Poppy Hills in the rotation of Pebble Beach courses just a few years ago. This challenging ocean front golf course has a gorgeous design thanks to Mike Strantz. With very little foot traffic on the course (its private) and the PGA players coming to play, we can expect pristine conditions this week.
The course is filled with plenty of undulation, rocks, trees, grass and the ocean. When combining all three of these factors the players will have to take into account not only the land and the grass they are hitting off of, but the wind. Located right on the ocean the wind can cause havoc on the pros this week if conditions deteriorate even slightly.
The Par 3 11th is the courses signature hole and demands an excellent tee shot. It is a 176 yard hole with an elevated tee block (on the natural rock), hitting towards a difficult green. This is a hole that really shows its muscle when the wind picks up. The players will have to rely on the help of their caddies and natural feel to hit this green and come away with a birdie opportunity.
Pebble Beach Golf Links
A classic golf course and one the players love coming to, Pebble Beach offers everything. Coastal lined fairways, massive undulating greens, ocean views and perfectly placed bunkers will be challenging the players this week at Pebble.
Playing as a 6816 yard Par 72 course, Pebble offers the players plenty of risk and reward shots. Shot shaping and accurate club selection is key to player’s success while playing this California master piece.
Hole number 18 is the one most of us think of when we hear Pebble Beach. A 543 Yard Par 5 that lines the Pacific Ocean, hole 18 can win and lose tournaments. To hit this green in two you will have to bomb a drive and hit a very accurate iron shot. The green slops toward the ocean and has many subtle breaks. Hopefully we witness some drama unfold this week on the famous 18th.
Steve’s 6 Pack Picks for This Week
This week we will be going with a combination of a great history at this event and players who are currently playing well.
Below is the free pick for the week. To get all picks that are sent to members sign up at www.GolfBanker.com
MATT JONES – 50 to 1 – We go with another Aussie and this one is trending upwards as the 2014 season enters February. Jones has two Top 15 finishes in his past three starts, and has been making birdies from everywhere it seems. It has been Matt’s driving that has propelled him to some nice finishes, as he currently ranks 6th in Total Driving. Jones has three Top 30 finishes in his past four starts at Pebble Beach, including a T10 in 2010. He has yet to win on the PGA Tour but seems to be one of those players on the cusp of his first victory. Last week Jones was playing a home game at TPC Scottsdale, and opened up with a pair of 65’s to enter the weekend in the lead. Unfortunately he struggled on the weekend due to a few bad bogeys on Par 5’s. I am very surprised we are getting 50 to 1 odds this week for Matt, as i figured he would be closer to 35 to 1.
Enjoy the golf everyone.