I'm not sure how the drama of last week's Phoenix Open can be topped, but the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am certainly has the field --and background -- for it this week. The PGA Tour will conclude its California swing with a nasty one-two punch of Pebble this week and Riviera next before heading off to Mexico and hurtling toward the Players Championship in March.
Let's take a look at this week's contest.
What: Pebble Beach Pro-Am | When: Feb. 7-10
Where: Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Monterey -- Pebble Beach, California
Ranking the field (odds)
- Dustin Johnson (11/2): Not only is he coming off a win last week in Saudi Arabia, but he's a two-time champion of this tournament and second only to Jordan Spieth in scoring average over the last five years.
- Tommy Fleetwood (22-1): I need it. Make him the U.S. Open favorite!
- Jason Day (9-1): Day has been fabulous here with no finishes outside the top 11 in the last four years.
- Jordan Spieth (20-1): Twenty to one! Between Pebble and Augusta National, Spieth has owned MacKenzie courses throughout his career. I'm not picking him this week, but I think I'm going to for the U.S. Open in June.
- Adam Scott (30-1): I'm optimistically curious about the whole "putting with the flag in" narrative as it relates to Scott. I'm not sure it helps him as much as he thinks it does, but I'm also not sure that matters. I think what matters is that he believes in it.
- Tony Finau (20-1): Finau has the most top 10s on the PGA Tour (20) since the start of the 2016-17 season without a victory (shout out to my guy Justin Ray at Golf Channel on that stat).
- Brandt Snedeker (50-1): An absurdly high number for somebody who's won here twice.
- Phil Mickelson (25-1): He lit up the Desert Classic a few weeks ago but went 68-75 in Phoenix for a missed cut. I have no idea what to expect this week from the four-time champ.
- Matt Kuchar (25-1): Who's been hotter over the last six weeks?
- Patrick Reed (33-1): Missed the cut last season, but according to Data Golf, he's fifth in strokes gained at this tournament since 2010.
Field strength -- B-: It's a fun field, but I don't know if it's a great one. I do think several golfers are playing for the first time (or the first time in a long time) because the U.S. Open is here later this season.
Three things to know
1. U.S. Open preview: The return to Pebble later this summer might not mean a ton for this year's event, but it's certainly a lens through which I'm going to watch. If not for which players handle the course well then for how the course sets up for the third major championship of 2019.
2. Ho Sung Mania: The 194th-ranked player in the world, Ho Sung Choi might be the most popular man in the field this week. If you haven't seen him and his, uh, unorthodox swing, you will this week. He'll be the one who looks like an amateur but plays like a pro.
3. A 1929 throwback: How about this for history? At the 1929 U.S. Amateur, a man named Johnny Goodman beat back-to-back and reigning U.S. Open champ Bobby Jones in Round 1 of the match play portion of the event at Pebble Beach. Why is that significant? Well, it's one of the more stunning wins in golf history, and it led to Jones hanging for a week with Alister MacKenzie to talk about course architecture. As the story goes, that conversation was part of a bigger conversation that would eventually lead to the construction of a place you may have heard of: Augusta National.
One story I'm following
With a win this week, Johnson would become just the 38th golfer in history to win 20 PGA Tour events and one of just a handful to accomplish the feat before age 35. He's still smack in the middle of his prime, even if it feels like every week we forget that he even exists. Oh yeah, and he won last week.
Tiger Woods will pick things back up next week when he plays the Genesis Open. This will be his second consecutive week to sit.
- 2018: Ted Potter Jr.
- 2017: Jordan Spieth
- 2016: Vaughn Taylor
- 2015: Brandt Snedeker
- 2014: Jimmy Walker
Pebble Beach Pro-Am picks
| Winner: It's so easy to envision, isn't it? Tommy Locks and his hair flowing off the Pacific Ocean. He's never played here, but I could not be more in on the debut. Odds: 22-1 |
| Top 10: He's never chased any of his worldwide wins with another one in the following week, so this would be unprecedented territory even for him. Still, it's hard to ignore the finishes ( seven top fives in his last 11 starts ). Odds: 11/2 |
| Sleeper: He's won two of the last six tournaments here, and he's 50-1. Odds: 50-1 |