2018 Pebble Beach Pro-Am picks, field: Can anyone beat Dustin Johnson?
Can anyone take down the No. 10 player in the world this week in Mexico?
Following maybe the craziest locale of the year, the PGA Tour heads to the most scenic course on the 2017-18 slate. The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am takes place this week on a three-course rotation of Spyglass Hill, Monterrey Peninsula Country Club and Pebble Beach (where the final round also takes place). The rounds are long (thanks, Bill Murray), but the views are fantastic and the field is absolutely loaded once again.
Let's take a look at this week's contest.
What: Pebble Beach Pro-Am | Where: Pebble Beach, California | When: Feb. 8-11
Field and odds
- Dustin Johnson: 11-2
- Jon Rahm: 10-1
- Rory McIlroy: 10-1
- Jason Day: 10-1
- Jordan Spieth: 11-1
- Gary Woodland: 25-1
- Paul Casey: 25-1
- Phil Mickelson: 28-1
Field strength: A-
Goodness, that's a group. It's also astonishing to see Spieth outside the top four favorites even though he won here last year and is currently the No. 3 player in the world. His putting his been absolutely terrible (objectively, not just for him), but it seems a fool's errand to go against Spieth when he's down.
Three stories to watch
1. D.J.'s dominance: We haven't seen Johnson since he burned down Kapalua in the fourth round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions to kick off 2018. It's astonishing to see how big of a favorite he is with this type of field showing out. His +550 number is nearly twice as low as the next favorites (Rahm, McIlroy and Day). With good reason, too. Johnson has finished first or second in three of his last six PGA Tour events, has two wins on this course and four other top-five finishes. He's pacing himself nicely to start 2018, and I would be more surprised if he finished outside the top 10 here than if he won. That's how much more locked in he is than everyone else.
Rahm, who is currently No. 2 in the world and gunning for D.J.'s No. 1 slot, even called him Superman earlier in the year. "It doesn't mean that he's unbeatable, because this is golf, nobody's unbeatable," said Rahm. "You're going to get beat at some point. But definitely we all know he's a force to be reckoned with. He's a great player and in great form and in great physical form. But, yeah, I mean it wouldn't make me Superman [if I took his No. 1 ranking], because like I said, he is, but I would be the guy who defeated Superman."
2. Spieth's rebound: Spieth missed the cut last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Following his last missed cut (May 2017), he finished T2 and won twice in his next five events. He's the defending champion here, and, a correction is coming with his putting. I don't know if it's going to be this week or next week, but it's going to happen and the results are going to be staggering.
3. Adam Scott's fall: The Australian is such an interesting case within this sport. He never plays (he's only played 20 or more events twice in his career on the PGA Tour), which means that to stay upright in the Official World Golf Rankings he has to play lights out when he tees it up. Last season he was good, not great, and had four top 10s in 16 starts. That wasn't enough to hold off the decline. The lowest Scott has been ranked since 2001 is No. 62 in 2009. He was No. 7 this time last year, but he's trending the wrong way as he makes his U.S. and calendar year debut at Pebble.
- 2017: Jordan Spieth
- 2016: Vaughn Taylor
- 2015: Brandt Snedeker
- 2014: Jimmy Walker
- 2013: Brandt Snedeker
I had honestly forgotten that Snedeker won this tournament twice in the last five years. Other recent winners include Phil Mickelson (four times) and Dustin Johnson (twice). It's a big boy week.
As everyone knows, this tournament is unique because of the celebrities that play. This year's group includes Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Larry Fitzgerald, Bill Murray (a staple), Wayne Gretzky, Jake Owen, Justin Verlander and Steve Young. Sadly we will not get Tom Brady or Bill Belichick's hoodie.
There will be dancing from pro-am staple Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton). There will (probably) be on-course announcing from Tony Romo. And there will likely be a set of World Series champion wedges in the bag for Verlander.
Pebble Beach picks
Winner: Patrick Reed has two top 10s in five appearances here and is playing well right now. If (a big if) he straightens out the driver (he's No. 151 off the tee right now), he will likely contend. I'm in on him grabbing his first win since the end of 2016. Odds: 35-1
Top 10: Dustin Johnson is the obvious pick here. You saw the stats I listed above. He's just flat out on another level than everyone else in the sport right now. I don't know how long that will last, but it should be enough to grab another top 10 at this tournament (he finished third here in 2017). Odds: 11-2
Sleeper: J.B. Holmes has been in the news for something other than his play over the last few weeks, but he has a chance to change that this week. And wouldn't it be humorous if Holmes grabbed a win at the tournament where the longest round of the season occur. He has finished in the top 25 at this event in his last three outings. Odds: 66-1
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