The PGA Tour arrives at picturesque Pebble Beach this week for the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, now elevated to “Signature Event” status on the calendar. While the fabled seaside layout remains the star attraction, a loaded field featuring 16 of the world’s top 20 players aims to put on a show as well.
- Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, and Viktor Hovland are among the favorites but have limited Pebble Beach experience
- The forecast calls for poor weather conditions including rain, wind, and cool temperatures
- Max Homa and Patrick Cantlay have strong Pebble Beach records and fit the course requirements
- Longer hitters like Wyndham Clark could benefit if the rough is saturated and distance becomes an advantage
- Smaller greens and tricky Poa Annua putting surfaces put emphasis on iron play and short game
Big names like Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland lead the way at a course where precision and imagination reign. But they’ll be tested by the traditional challenge of Pebble Beach – wildly undulating Poa Annua greens that reject indifferent iron shots and stress world-class putting.
Mother Nature looks ready to bare her teeth too in the form of steady rain, gusting winds and unseasonably cool temperatures in the 50s. With the softened conditions, PGA Tour analysts see longer hitters like Wyndham Clark as potential beneficiaries if they can avoid Pebble Beach’s numerous pitfalls.
“If there’s one thing that concerns me it is the prospect of being caught out at Pebble Beach during a particularly miserable stretch,” said golf expert Steve Palmer. “For that reason, I’d rather halve the total investment and forfeit the place part in what could be a volatile tournament.”
Palmer is backing in-form veterans Max Homa and Patrick Cantlay instead, experienced Golden State natives with past success at the iconic Monterey Peninsula layout.
While lacking extensive Pebble Beach experience, both strategic masters should relish the shot-making challenge and transition smoothly from last week’s Farmers Insurance Open.
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“Cantlay took an extended break after his post-Ryder Cup wedding and I suspect this diligent operator is primed for a much better February,” Palmer noted, also citing Homa’s ideal aggressive yet methodical playing style for the test ahead.
England’s Matt Fitzpatrick is another intriguing name at longer odds. The precise iron striker finished 12th here during rainy 2019 U.S. Open conditions and snared last year’s water-logged Alfred Dunhill Links against a stacked field.
Fitzpatrick’s ability to control trajectories and manufacture different shot shapes could shine at Pebble Beach if the winds wreak havoc. His world-class short game will also be an asset on the planning-demanding track.
While big bombers like Rahm and McIlroy may capture headlines early, history shows that Pebble Beach is often won by players down the standings who emerge late by avoiding disastrous holes and riding a hot putter.
With danger lurking at every turn, steady veterans with the patience and guile to pick their spots could once again rule the week at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The champions here thrive by playing chess while others play checkers – and this year’s forecast suggests master tacticians have a prime opportunity to shine.