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Bob Weeks Picks Six – AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy - The Candian Press

Last week:

Not a great week for the Betting Bobster. Or, for that matter, for a lot of prognosticators. For the fourth consecutive week, a long shot came in to win. I didn’t have him. Very few had him. That’s not to say the winners, such as Mathieu Pavon at the Farmers Insurance Open, are not talented, just that the odds on them all were long. Prior to his tee-off on Wednesday, Pavon was at 150-1. Also not helping matters was one of my top-20 picks, Adrian Meronk, who bolted to LIV prior to the start of the tournament. However, there’s another week ahead.

This week:

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is set to tee off and it will look far different than any of the previous events at what used to be known as Bing Crosby’s Clambake. The field of what is now a Signature Event is down to just 80 players and while there are still amateurs, only a few would be classified as celebrities. No Bill Murray. No Ray Romano. No Don Cheadle. As well, the ams who are in the field will only play Thursday and Friday. Only two courses will be used: Spyglass and Pebble. We’ll be looking for trends on those who have made their mark on one of America’s most iconic courses, with a focus on Pebble’s greens, which are among the smallest on the PGA Tour. Also, the weather is forecast to be wet and windy, something else to take into account.

To Win

Rory McIlroy +800

McIlroy is making his PGA Tour season debut this week although he’s coming off a win on the DP World Tour at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. He won’t have a ton of experience on this week’s courses, having played the tournament just once although he tied for ninth at the 2019 U.S. Open which was played on Pebble Beach. We’re picking him based on the fact he can play well anywhere, in any conditions, and that he is coming in with a hot hand and less off-course baggage than he’s had the past few years.

Jordan Spieth +2000

Spieth’s record at Pebble is ridiculous. He won the tournament in 2017 and has finished in the top 10 five more times. He’s also never missed the cut. To date, he’s only played once but he posted a third-place finish at the season-opening Sentry. He showed enough good stuff there to make us believe he is ready to get his first win since the 2022 RBC Heritage. Also important to note that the cliff where he once hit a ball from and barely avoided falling into the ocean has been fixed and we won’t have to worry about him dropping to the rocks below should he find himself in that same situation.

Top 10

Jason Day +350

In 13 starts at Pebble, Day has logged eight top-10 finishes. That includes five in his last six starts. He is coming off a missed cut at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open, but he did post a tie for 10th at the Sentry. After a period in the wilderness, his game appears solid as evidenced by his win last year at the Byron Nelson, his tie for second at the Open Championship and a win with Lydia Ko at the inaugural Grant Thornton Invitational. He also has a very solid short game which comes in handy at Pebble Beach which has tiny greens (average size is 3,500 square feet).

Viktor Hovland +125

Hovland tied for 13th last year and that was before he really started to work on his short game, which has carried him to greater heights since. He has had success at Pebble Beach, having won the U.S. Amateur here in 2018 and finishing as the low amateur in the U.S. Open a year later. Only has one start so far this year at the Sentry so not much to measure him by but we’re expecting big things.

Top 20

Nick Taylor +210

Taylor is, of course, a past champion here, winning the title in 2020 by holding off Phil Mickelson. Since that victory, he’s added two more top-20 finishes and also a win at home last year (just in case you forgot). Had a tie for seventh at the SONY but missed the cut at the American Express which is why we have him for a top-20 finish instead of a top 10. He’s currently 17th in Greens in Regulation percentage and with the small greens at Pebble (have I mentioned that before?), that accuracy will come in handy. Also seems to play well in nasty weather – his wins at Pebble Beach and in Canada came in inclement conditions.

Max Homa -145

Not a ton of value here but still a good guy to have on your ticket. Homa has been seventh, 14th and 10th in his last three starts here and so far this year, he has a couple of top-15 finishes. He’s ninth in Strokes Gained: Around the Green which is a big stat this week because players will miss a fair number of the (wait for it) small greens.