Remember our rules for this exercise – no one listed among the Top 20 favorites is eligible to be selected. Now let's go find some buried treasure for the bumpy greens putting contest known as the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Davis Love III: Okay, he's in his mid-40s and far from a sure bet these days – note the quick exit at Riviera last week – but Love has to be respected over these familiar grounds. He's cashed in 14 of his last 16 appearances here, including wins in 2001 and 2003, and he was fourth as recently as 2007. Even the last two years he was a semi-factor, finishing T22 and T24. And what would be more apropos than Love hoisting a trophy on Feb. 14? Don't let the age of this veteran get you off the trail; keep in mind he finished tied for fifth at the Sony Open.
Ricky Barnes: He's still in his 20s and finally starting to show us some consistency – consider the four checks he's grabbed to start the year (T62, T33, T22, 9th). The California native isn't having a great ball-striking year thus far but a smooth touch with the putter and a creative eye around the greens have served him well.
John Mallinger: He's been a trunk-slamming machine in 2010 but a trip to the Clambake should fix that; Mallinger ran third here in 2007 and 2008 and he was a respectable T33 last season. He was one of the better putters on tour the last two seasons, and he's obviously knowledgeable about what it takes to succeed at this event.
Matt Kuchar: He's making his tenth straight visit to the Clambake and he's started to get the hang of it, running 6th, 34th and 14th the last three seasons. Kuchar was expected to be an instant star when he left Georgia Tech but it's been a deliberate path to glory; that said, he's very quietly pocketed around $4.2 million the last two seasons, another post-hype sleeper makes good.
Paul Goydos: He's got a modest amount of natural ability but he's easy to root for, a short but straight hitter who putts well and gives you straight answers in the press tent. We need more guys like Goydos on the circuit.
Why is Alex Prugh not on this list? Two reasons: he's playing for the fifth straight week, and he's spotting an experience edge to the rest of the field here. That said, he's on my most important auction-league team and in formats where you're not limited to number of starts, I have no problem with dialing him up here. But in games where the start count is limited, this probably isn't the best time to use him.
I also would have used J.B. Holmes as a sleeper but he's actually one of the Top 20 favorites this week, which nixes him from consideration. He's always had the long game, and finally in 2010, there's some improvement around the green.