The Punter

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Fitzpatrick fancied at 45/1

Pebble Beach Golf Course
The 18th hole at Pebble Beach

After four surprise winners in-a-row to kick off the 2024 PGA Tour season, a stellar field heads to the iconic Pebble Beach for a significantly elevated historic event...


Tournament History

Originally named the Bing Crosby National Pro-Amateur and first staged in 1937 the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am has been in existence for 87 years. The Crosby name was dropped from the title in 1985, eight years after Bing's death and a year before long-time sponsors, AT&T, began their association.

It's not always been a particularly strong event, but the tournament has been elevated to Signature Event status this year and as a result, there has been a change to the format.

The AT&T Pebble Beach used to be staged over three courses in rotation - Spyglass Hill, Monterey Peninsula and the host course, Pebble Beach.

There would be a cut on Saturday night and the top-60 and ties would fight out the finish at Pebble Beach on Sunday but we're only using two courses this year - Spyglass and Pebble.

With no cut, the limited but high-class field will play the two courses in rotation on Thursday and Friday with the event concluding at Pebble over the weekend.

Given the event's elevated status, mercifully, there'll be no 'celebrities' in attendance this year but according to the tournament's website, there'll be a select number of notable amateurs playing on Thursday and Friday.

Course Details

- Pebble Beach (host course), par 72, 6972 yards, stroke average in 2023 - 71.53
- Spyglass Hill par 72, 7041 yards, stroke average in 2023 - 72.8

The host course, Pebble Beach, needs no introduction to most keen golf fans. This iconic seaside links has hosted the US Open six times and the PGA Championship once. It isn't a long course and it's not a tough driving test either. The fairways are largely generous, and the course's defence is its small greens, and of course, the weather.

PEBBLE BEACH 2023 2.jpg

Spyglass differs from Pebble in that it's largely tree-lined and although it often plays slightly tougher than the host course, as it's more sheltered, it can be a good place to play on a windy day.

The greens at both courses are Poa annua, as they were at Torrey Pines last week, and given how windy it can get here, they're usually set at a pedestrian (by PGA Tour standards) 12 feet on the Stimpmeter.


Weather Forecast


TV Coverage

Live on Sky Sports all four days, starting at 16:30 UK time.

Last Eight Winners with Pre-event Prices

  • 2023 - Justin Rose -18 44.043/1
  • 2022 - Tom Hoge -19 75.074/1
  • 2021 - Daniel Berger -18 17.016/1
  • 2020 - Nick Taylor -19 210.0209/1
  • 2019 - Phil Mickelson -19 36.035/1
  • 2018 - Ted Potter Jr -17 850.0849/1
  • 2017 - Jordan Spieth -19 10.09/1
  • 2016 - Vaughn Taylor -17 960.0959/1

What Will it Take to Win the AT&T?

As demonstrated by last year's winner, Justin Rose, who ranked 44th for Driving Accuracy, 45th for Driving Distance and only 57th for Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, what you do off the tee in this event is largely irrelevant.

The average Driving Accuracy ranking for the 16 winners before Rose was only 38.31 and the average Driving Distance ranking was 35.16.

It doesn't make an awful lot of difference where your drives finish up but where your second shot lands tends to be key.

Rose only ranked 34th for Greens In Regulation but Brandon Wu, who finished toed for second topped the GIR rankings and the average GIR ranking for the 16 winners before rose was just 5.31.

Rose went against the grain given 14 of the last 17 winners have ranked inside the top-nine for greens hit.

The 2021 winner, Daniel Berger, ranked only 18th for Strokes Gained Putting and 29th for Putting Average which is as poor as it gets here. In the previous 15 editions, the worst Putting Average ranking of any winner had been 16th (Brandt Snedeker in 2016 and Dustin Johnson in 2009).

The last two winners have produced much more typical putting numbers. The 2002 winner, Tom Hoge, ranked second for PA and third for SG:P and Rose ranked third and 14th for those two stats. Brendon Todd, who finished second alongside Wu 12 months ago, ranked first for SG:P.

Hot putters, and those that are familiar with Poa annua, are the players to concentrate on.

Is There an Angle In?

It stands to reason that given Pebble Beach is a links-style course and that it's perched alongside the ocean, that Open Championship form stands up well here.

When Jordan Spieth followed his victory here with success at Royal Birkdale in 2017, he became the third different AT&T winner to also win the Open Championship this century. The five-time winner, Phil Mickelson, is also an Open champion and something of a links specialist and a number of recent winners have a cracking record in the world's oldest Major Championship.

Rose has never won the Open but he finished second to Francesco Molinari at Carnoustie in 2018 and he famously finished fourth 20 years earlier as an amateur. He also won the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen ten years ago so he's very much a links specialist.

Justin Rose Pebble Beach scenic.jpg

Wind is nearly always a factor here so players that play well in blustery conditions prosper.

Is There an Identikit Winner?

The last two winners have gone off at 44.043/1 and 75.074/1 but it's unusual to see someone win at that sort of price. Historically, the winners have either been straight out of the top drawer or virtually impossible to spot!

Daniel Berger was a well-fancied 16/117.00 shot in 2021 but two of the last eight winners have been matched at 1000.0999/1 before the off and the 2020 winner, Nick Taylor, was also a huge longshot.

Taking a chance on a wild outsider or two used to be the way to go but I'm not convinced we'll see many in-the-mix now that the tournament is a Signature Event.

Rose was just the fifth overseas winner in the event's entire history so Americans have an incredibly strong record and course form stands up really well too...

Course experience counts for plenty

Rose had Pebble form figures reading 6-39-3-62 and having finished 12th in 2021, when woefully out of form, the 2022 winner, Hoge, had course form in the bag and as unfathomable as they were to find, those last three huge outsiders to win the event all had a bit of event form too.

Nick Taylor had finished 10th back in 2017 and the 2016 winner, Vaughn Taylor, had finished inside the top-ten 12 months earlier. The other 1000.0999/1 winner, Ted Potter Jr, had finished 16th in 2013, before winning five years later.

Course form can be overplayed some weeks but not at this event.

It's sometimes hard to convince yourself to take a shorter price than players usually trade at because of a bit of previous event form but it's worth it here. Year after year the same faces have contended, the leaderboards have always had a familiar look to them, and multiple event winners are common.

Whether that trend continues with the event's new elevated status is debatable buy 13 men have won the tournament more than once and Spieth arguably should have made it 15 two years ago when he was matched at a low of 1.331/3 on the back nine on Sunday.

Brett Ogle is the only debutant winner.

Winner's Position and Price Pre-Round Four

  • 2023 - Justin Rose led by a stroke 3.211/5
  • 2022 - Tom Hoge - tied for the lead 6.611/2
  • 2021 - Daniel Berger - T2nd - trailing by two 7.413/2
  • 2020 - Nick Taylor led by a stroke 2.915/8
  • 2019 - Phil Mickelson solo 2nd - trailing by three 6.611/2
  • 2018 - Ted Potter Jr - tied for the lead 14.013/1
  • 2017 - Jordan Spieth led by six strokes 1.141/7
  • 2016 - Vaughn Taylor - T9th - trailing by six 200.0199/1

In-Play Tactics

In addition to Vaughn Taylor, who trailed by six through 54 holes, we've also seen Tiger Woods win from five strokes adrift, Phil Mickelson six, and in 2001, Davis Love III won from seven back but like many a tournament played on a links course, if the weather is kind, being up with the pace is very often the place to be.

The last two US Open winners at Pebble, Gary Woodland and Graeme McDowell, were both in front at halfway and no more than three off the lead after round one, and Tiger Woods famously powered to a wire-to-wire 15-stroke victory here in the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach.

Phil Mickelson (twice), Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and the 2020 winner, Nick Taylor, have all won this event wire-to-wire in the last 18 years, and 16 of the last 20 winners have all been within three strokes of the lead after the first round.

Spieth at Pebble.jpg


If you're betting in-running on Sunday, things get tough after the first seven holes. Holes eight and nine ranked as the hardest two holes on the course last year they kick off a tough stretch until the par four 15th.

Be very wary of the par five 14th hole, as it's far from a certain birdie hole. The market tends to assume players will pick up a shot there, but it always averages over-par in round four and only 12 players birdied it on Sunday last year.

Only eight birdies were made on the hole on Sunday in 2022 and last year there were eight bogeys and four double-bogeys. In 2022, there were 16 bogeys and two doubles there so it's a demanding hole and far from the standard par five encounter on the PGA Tour.

Market Leaders

Following his successful defence and his fourth victory at the Dubai Desert Classic a fortnight ago, world number two, Rory McIlroy, looks like edging favouritism this week, despite a somewhat shoddy record at Pebble Beach.

He missed the cut here in the US Open 14 years ago and he missed the cut in this event on his only appearance back in 2018, although, to a certain extent, he put those two poor performances behind him with a top-ten finish behind Gary Woodland in the 2019 US Open.

Rory has ranked inside the top-20 for Putting Average in each of his last six outings and he's finished second and first in his two outings on the DP World Tour in 2024. He's the one to beat.

World number one, Scottie Scheffler, has never played in this event and on the only occasion he's played Pebble, he missed the cut at the 2019 US Open.

Like Rory, he probably wouldn't be in the line-up had the tournament not been elevated to Signature Event status and with a cold putter and underwhelming 2024 form figures (fifth in The sentry and 17th at The American Express), he makes very little appeal.

This is Victor Hovland's third appearance in the event and his fourth at Pebble Beach.

After finishing 12th in the 2019 US Open, he's finished 38th and 13th in this event, in 2020 and 2023, so his course form is ordinary at best and on his only start to date this year he finished a disappointing 22nd at The Sentry.

Selection

Understandably, there's been money for course specialist, Jordan Spieth, and a bit too much for my liking.

I may get him onside if he drifts a bit but I'm happy to leave him out at around 20/121.00 and I'll have at least one selection in this event for the Find Me a 100 Winner column.

As highlighted in last week's De-brief, the first four winners on the PGA Tour this year have gone off at 230.0229/1, 1000.0999/1, 1000.0999/1 and 230.0229/1, and we've had a number of huge longshots take this title over the years, so it makes sense to get at least one outsider onside, but I do like one at a double-figure price before the off...

Matt Fitzpatrick at Harbour Town.jpg

Matt Fitzpatrick romped to victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October on the DP World Tour, just six months after he'd beaten Spieth in a playoff at the Harbour Town Links to claim the RBC Heritage title, so he's a renowned links specialist.

He missed the cut in this event on debut in 2019 and again last year but he was 12th in the 2019 US Open and sixth in this event in 2022, two years after finishing 60th on his only other course visit.

His course form isn't anything to write home about, but his sixth placed finish is a big plus and he looks over-priced at 46.045/1.

Fitzpatrick missed the cut in his first appearance at the Sony Open last time out but that's not a great event for debutants and I'm happy to overlook it. Prior to that, he'd finished 14th in The Sentry, where he ranked seventh for Putting Average and 13th for Strokes Gained: Putting.

Back Matt Fitzpatrick @ 46.045/1

Bet now

Now read my preview of the Bahrain Championship here.


*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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