2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview

2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview

The second signature event of the season is here. A revamped format for one of the longest standing PGA Tour events in its history awaits a star studded field for the 2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. As always, here is your early deep dive of the 2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and a preview of how to bet.

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2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview

The Field

After some likely griping by one of its biggest sponsors, the PGA Tour rewarded AT&T by designating the annual Pro-Am at Monterrey Bay as a signature event.

That means that a tournament that typically was used as a bye week by most top players would now be all but assured that the top names make an appearance. And that’s exactly what we’ll get at the 2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Highlighting the field is Rory McIlroy. After capturing a victory in Dubai on the DP World Tour, Rory makes his PGA Tour debut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Rory has only played the Pro-Am twice, which resulted in two missed the cuts. Pebble Beach will neutralize the biggest weapon in his bag – the driver. He’ll have to use his other talents to try and take down another PGA Tour victory.

Other notables in the field include Patrick Cantlay, Viktor Hovland, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, and Justin Thomas.

But considering every winner this season has had pre-tournament odds greater than 100/1, maybe those names aren’t quite so notable anymore.

For the full field, click here.

The Golf Courses

As mentioned earlier, this year’s tournament has been revamped in two significant ways. First, only Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill will be used in the multi-course rotation.

Everyone will play both courses across Thursday and Friday before the final round will be played only at Pebble Beach.

Second, the amateurs will only participate on Thursday and Friday. For those who love watching Bill Murray toss his clubs around all weekend, my humblest of apologies.

But CBS spent way, way too much time on the weekend showing the shenanigans of the celebrity golfers instead of, oh, I don’t know, professionals playing one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world.

The most famous of the golf courses played in the rotation is Pebble Beach. Ask any golfer what five golf courses are on their bucket list, and Pebble Beach will almost surely be among them.

The golf course was first designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant in 1919 and later revised by H. Chandler Egan, Alister McKenzie, and even Jack Nicklaus when he redesigned the 5th hole in 1998.

Besides being a mainstay on the AT&T Pro-Am rotation, the golf course has hosted numerous major championships. Jack Nicklaus won the 1961 US Amateur at Pebble Beach and ten years later won the first U.S. Open hosted there.

Tiger Woods went completely berserk in 2000 at the U.S. Open, carding a winning score of -12 to win by an astronomical fifteen shots over runner-up Miguel Angel Jimenez.

In more modern times, Dustin Johnson blew a three-shot lead here in 2010 to give Graeme McDowell his first and only major championship victory. And most recently Pebble Beach played host to the 2019 U.S. Open, which was won by Gary Woodland. Viktor Hovland also won the 2018 U.S. Amateur there.

While the entire golf course is breathtakingly beautiful, it’s the front nine that is the crown jewel of the property, specifically from holes six through eight. If you ask any golf fan what they know about Pebble Beach, this stretch of holes should immediately come to their mind:

6th Hole

2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview

7th Hole

2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview

8th Hole

2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview

This might be the most picturesque three-hole stretch in all of golf. It also was the scene of a near-death experience for Jordan Spieth in 2022:

Through the years, viewers have seen two distinct setups of Pebble Beach. The USGA generally sets the golf course up to play very firm and fast, with deep penal rough flanking the fairways. A lack of rainfall in the summer helps set up the golf course like that.

The setup this week is much different. Central California sees significantly more rainfall this time of year. It makes the golf course play much softer. The soft conditions allow for easier scoring conditions. The rough also isn’t quite as thick as it would be for a U.S. Open.

Pebble Beach may steal the headlines, but Spyglass Hill is a good one too. Robert Trent Jones designed Spyglass Hill in 1966. It entered the tournament rotation in 1978.

The golf course was originally named Pebble Beach Pines Golf Club but was renamed in 1969 after a reference to the book Treasure Island. Every hole at Spyglass Hill is named after something from Treasure Island.

The round starts off with a bang as the first five holes have fantastic views of the ocean and surrounding sand dunes. The most iconic hole on the golf course is the 4th hole.

It plays along the coast and features a 55-yard long, 9-yard wide green. Mounds flanking the green makes it a little easier to funnel the ball onto the green, but anyone who hits it in regulation deserves to automatically pass to the final round.

But after the first five holes, the course moves inland and through the forest, which makes the rest of the round a little uninspired. This course is my least favorite of the rotation.

Betting Strategies

To begin the 2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview, here is general information about Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill.

Yardage
  • Pebble Beach: 6,972 Yards
  • Spyglass Hill: 7,041 Yards
Par
  • North Course: 72
  • South Course: 72

In 2024, Pebble Beach was the third shortest golf course played on the PGA Tour.

Average Green Size
  • Pebble Beach: 3,500 sq. feet
  • Spyglass Hill: 5,000 sq. feet

Pebble Beach features the smallest greens on the entire PGA Tour. Spyglass Hill’s greens are smaller than the PGA Tour average and are roughly the same size as the greens featured at Torrey Pines South last week.

Agronomy
  • Pebble Beach
    • Greens: Poa Annua
    • Fairways: Rye Grass/Poa Annua
    • Rough: Rye grass/Poa Annua – 2-3″
  • Spyglass Hill
    • Greens: Poa Annua
    • Fairways: Rye Grass/Poa Annua
    • Rough: Rye Grass/Poa Annua – 2″

The agronomy at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill is identical. The only difference is that the rough at Spyglass Hill is slightly shorter.

And for the second week in a row, players will have to navigate the tricky Poa Annua greens. As hammered home in last week’s preview, Poa Annua is a very difficult grass to putt on.

Past Champions (with approximate pre-tournament odds)
  • 2023: Justin Rose (35/1)
  • 2022: Tom Hoge (55/1)
  • 2021: Daniel Berger (14/1)
  • 2020: Nick Taylor (120/1)
  • 2019: Phil Mickelson (25/1)
Average Scores
  • Pebble Beach
    • 2023: -0.38
    • 2022: -1.30
    • 2021: -0.80
  • Spyglass Hill
    • 2023: +0.80
    • 2022: +0.18
    • 2021: +0.79

Spyglass Hill is the tougher of the two golf courses. Particularly across the first six holes as it winds its way near the beach. In fact, the opening Par 5 played over par in 2023! The golf course is quite exposed in this stretch. Overall, Spyglass Hill features a few more penalty areas, and it is narrower than Pebble Beach.

However, should the area receive any sort of significant wind, players would much rather play the tree-protected Spyglass Hill than the completely exposed Pebble Beach.

In windy conditions, players are protected a bit from the elements as the golf course winds its way around the Del Monte Forest. But at Pebble Beach, there’s nowhere to hide from the wind.

As such, it’s very important to consult a weather report before blindly playing golfers at Pebble Beach in Showdowns, on Underdog Cards, etc. In bad weather, the place to be is actually Spyglass Hill.

Predictive Skillsets

Here are the predictive skillset charts for Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill (per DataGolf). This chart will preview what types of players should excel at the 2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview

2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview

Starting with Pebble Beach, there is very little that’s predictive with one’s strengths and weaknesses off the tee to success at Pebble Beach.

Considering how wide the fairways are and the reliance of less than driver on several holes, all types of drivers can do well at Pebble Beach. It’s one of the few golf courses on the PGA Tour where both short and long hitters are on the same playing field.

The same cannot be said about Spyglass Hill, though. At that golf course, there’s a high correlation to success at Spyglass Hill based on length off the tee.

Longer hitters have generally fared better at Spyglass Hill than shorter ones. Spyglass Hill allows players to hit driver a little more often than Pebble Beach does. It’s also a little narrower than Pebble Beach. Several bunkers can be carried with adequate length.

But what both golf courses have in common is the predictive power behind approach play, around-the-green performance, and putting to success in this tournament.

Both Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill feature higher than average predictive power based on one’s skills in each area to success in the tournament.

For iron play and putting, the revelation makes sense. Both golf courses feature very small targets to hit into. The small greens that are well protected from bunkers require a certain amount of precision to access pin locations. In addition, putting on Poa Annua is very difficult.

As for around the green play, its predictive nature might just be circumstantial to the fields this tournament typically receives. Before this year, the Pebble Beach Pro-Am would be a bye week for most top players.

The fields would be mostly comprised of the middle class to lower class on the PGA Tour. What these players typically lack in ball-striking prowess, they make up for a good short game. That’s how they keep their card.

But considering both the lack of adversity around the green (per DataGolf’s strokes gained rankings) along with one’s in-tournament performance around the green having a much lower impact on one’s total strokes gained than the average PGA Tour event, it is probably just a coincidence why those types of players are around the tops of leaderboards at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill.

Approach Shot Proximity

Here are the types of approach shots players will hit at Pebble Beach (per DataGolf). This will preview what types of approach shots players will hit at the 2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview

For the most part, Pebble Beach is a contest from under 125 yards, with a slightly higher-than-average number of shots from over 200 yards. There are generally much fewer shots to be hit from between 125-200 yards on the PGA Tour. This range typically features the highest number of shots in an average PGA Tour event.

What’s missing from this chart is the proximity buckets from Spyglass Hill. Here’s an estimate of the types of approach shots players will hit there.

Spyglass Hill Estimated Proximity Buckets
  • <150 Yards: 50.0% (9 shots)
  • 150-200 Yards: 27.8% (5 shots)
  • 200+ Yards: 20% (4 shots)

Combined, these are the approach shots players will hit during the entire 2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

  • <150 Yards: 45.8% (much higher than PGA Tour average)
  • 150-200 Yards: 26.5% (much lower than PGA Tour average)
  • 200+ Yards: 28.1% (slightly higher than PGA Tour average)

Follow the tips in this preview, and one should put together a solid betting card and DFS lineup for the 2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

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