17-Mile Drivers

Mike Glasscott
Farmers Insurance Open Preview
Brandt Snedeker eyes his second title at Torrey Pines after losing in a playoff at the Sony Open in his last start. He's a known poa annua specialist

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Pebble Beach Golf Links (Host Course)

Spyglass Hill Golf Club

Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore Course)

Pebble Beach, Calif.,

Pebble Beach Golf Links (Host Course)

Yards: 6,816

Par: 72 (36-36)

Greens: Poa annua; 3,500 square feet on average (very small)

Rough: Perennial ryegrass at 2”

Stimpmeter: 10’

Bunkers: 111

Water Hazards:  The Pacific Ocean would qualify

Course Architect: Jack Neville and Douglas Grant (1919); Ed Conner and Jack Nicklaus (1991)

Purse: $6,500,000

Winner’s Share: $1,188,000

FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner

Defending Champion: Brandt Snedeker coasted to a two-shot victory over Chris Kirk as he fired 19-under par to raise the trophy.

Dates:  February 6-9

Format: The professionals will play all three courses before cutting the field down to the top 60 players and ties. The professionals will play with the amateurs on Sunday at Pebble Beach.

Notes: Back to Poa annua greens and pro-am format this week.

Spyglass Hill Golf Club

Yards: 6,953

Par: 72 (36-36)

Greens: Poa annua; 5,000 square feet on average

Rough: Perennial ryegrass and Poa annua at 2”

Stimpmeter: 10’

Bunkers: 62

Water Hazards:  4

Course Architect: Robert Trent Jones (1966)

Notes: Spyglass was the 17th most difficult course used on TOUR last year. Stay away in Yahoo! There were only 21 rounds in the 60s last year.

Monterey Peninsula Country Club

Shore Course

Yards: 6,867

Par: 71 (34-37)

Greens: Bentgrass and Poa annua; 7,000 square feet on average

Rough: Perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass at 2”

Stimpmeter: 10’

Bunkers: 106

Water Hazards:  1

Course Architect: Robert Baldock and Jack Neville (1960); Mike Stranz

Notes: Gamers, two things: Each year MPCC has increased in difficulty and it has five par threes with three par fives. Got that?

Recent History Lessons

After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won the first 11 events of the new wraparound 2013-14 season. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (2), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed, Scott Stallings and Kevin Stadler have lifted the winner’s trophy. Only Chris Kirk, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Kevin Stadler can join Jimmy Walker on two victories unless Walker himself takes home the title for win No. 3!

After racking up 12 first-time winners in 2013, the new season has added only two more in the first 11 events. Jimmy Walker won the Frys.com and Kevin Stadler won the WMPO last week to join the list of invitees to Augusta in April.

Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and was joined by Ryan Moore (30) in Malaysia and Zach Johnson (37) at Kapalua and now Kevin Stadler, 33, at WMPO. Scott Stallings, 28, Patrick Reed (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29) and Harris English, (24) are the twenty-somethings on the board. The Young Guns now have six of 11 wins to start the season. The Old Guys were led last week by Greg Chalmers, 40, and his T15. Not a good week for the Old Guys!

Pay Attention: It’s FREE

Since 1994, there has been ONE, foreign-born winner, Vijay Singh, in 2004. Baseball, apple pie and winners at Pebble Beach, right?

In the last 20 years, only Matt Gogle (2002), Aaron Oberholser (2006) and D.A. Points (2011) have made this their maiden victory on TOUR. It also gets you a job on The Golf Channel when you quit playing so congrats D.A. whenever you decide to hang it up! Who knew?

Rookies don’t win here. I gave up after 30 years of looking for the last one. Brett Ogle (1993) is the last player to win in their maiden voyage.

Mark O’Meara has won this tournament five times. Phil Mickelson has won it four times. They both shared the tournament record of 268 until Brandt Snedeker beat it by a shot last year.

The last player to defend their title was Dustin Johnson in 2009 and 2010. Before that, it was Mark O’Meara in 1989-90.

The OWGR sends 13 of the top 50 this week to the most beautiful place on Earth, in my opinion.

Graeme McDowell did win the 2010 U.S. Open here.

Charlie Wi won the California State Amateur here as well in 1990.

Scott Langley won the Pro-Junior First Tee with Dana Quigley here in 2006.

Kevin Kisner won the Pebble Beach Callaway Invitational last March. Tommy Gainey was victorious in 2012 and John Mallinger in 2010. #anglescovered     

Past Champions in the Field

2013 Brandt Snedeker

2012 Phil Mickelson

2011 D.A. Points

2010 Dustin Johnson

2009 Dustin Johnson

2007 Phil Mickelson

2005 Phil Mickelson

2004 Vijay Singh

2003 DL III

2001 DL III

Inside the Ropes

Thankfully for gamers this is the final week of the season with multiple courses in use. No more questions about rotation, par fives or scoring averages but rather the old fashion early or late debate. Ah, refreshing! The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is played over three courses the tournament’s first three days. The final day, which does include the LIVE Pro-Am, will be played on Pebble Beach.

Before we get started, let’s remember that is NOT a major championship. Just because the U.S. Open was held here in 2010 does not make this weeks’ tournament in that class. There is NO CHANCE that the course set up will be difficult because amateurs are playing and they don’t want rounds that take 12 hours. This goes the same for Spyglass and MPCC. The greens on all three courses will be running at a manageable 10’ on the Stimpmeter, which is the slowest rating on TOUR. Each course has its own defense mechanism but the tournament will be won, essentially, on Pebble Beach.

At just over 6,800 yards, this American gem has proven again that great courses don’t have to be 7,800 to provide a challenge. A combination of winds, rain and small greens can put up a decent fight even if it is the shortest course on TOUR. Bombers have had their way in this event over time but Snedeker reminded us that players who have excellent short games can also make their presence felt. Charlie Wi was second in 2012 and nobody mistakes him for Dustin Johnson off the tee. He fired 61 on MPCC in 2012. Graeme McDowell won a U.S. Open at Pebble as well so length is not THE determining factor.

Players who are West Coast or North Coast in California have the most experience putting Poa annua greens and that’s a factor this week. Experience in general around these parts doesn’t hurt either so I’ll be looking at some course horses as well. Finally, it doesn’t hurt to look at players who have been on form lately.

The Chalk

The players that should be on your fantasy rosters and should be making the most noise come the weekend. Yahoo! gamers, each player’s Yahoo! group is in ( ).

Jason Day (B): Every time he’s included in the column I shudder when I see he’s only won once on TOUR. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? He’s only 26 and he’s ready to pop. He opened 2014 with T2 at FIO and plays well just about everywhere. Pebble is no different as he’s finished sixth twice in four starts and also has a T14. He was 14th in the all-around last season and 11th in scoring average.  A massive season is on the cards and he’s already off to a great start.

Hunter Mahan (B): His last three trips around the Monterey Peninsula have resulted in second, T15 and T16 last year. He opened up the season at Torrey with no rounds under par but followed that with four rounds of par or better at WMPO. He’s trending in the perfect direction to a course he’s had recent successes. BANG.

Dustin Johnson (B): Last year he played with his girlfriend’s dad and missed the cut. This year, he’ll be playing with his soon-to-be father-in-law so THAT pressure is long gone. Johnson and Paulina Gretzky are engaged and the 2009 and 2010 champ also has a T7 and T5 to brag about in six starts here. Did I mention that he’s already won in the wraparound season and finished sixth in his other start? Oh, that too. #Someguyshavealltheluckandgame

Jimmy Walker (C): Gamers opined the reason that DYNOMITE MC at FIO was the presence of playing with Tiger Woods Thursday and Friday. The theory was valid until @TourWifeTravels, Erin Walker, his wife, let us all know on the Twitter that he was sick as a dog that week. Information is power people and the one percent hesitation I had for him this week is long gone now that he’s healthy. Not many guys have three consecutive top nine finishes at this event. No player besides Walker has won twice this season.

Phil Mickelson (A): Another week, another question on Mickelson and what to expect. For gamers who hedged last week in the Yahoo! game with Moore, I’m thinking that you didn’t burn a start on him. He looked like he didn’t have any problems throwing the ball, er, I mean swinging the club in the desert so that’s positive. One round of four under par was the negative. In his last 10 starts here he’s won three times and has added three other top 10s. The other four outings were T60, T55, T38 and MC. Gamers who believe he is physically fit will have a hard time leaving him out of most formats this week. The skeptics will pray that their skepticism pays off and they can save a start. There is no other golfer that moves the meter like Mickelson does in the fantasy world, period. He’s ranked here under the assumption he’s fit and will play four rounds. I’m benching him this week.

Jordan Spieth (B): If gamers are still wondering when he’s going to “wake up” maybe they are the ones trapped in a bad dream. He fired 10-under total Thursday and Friday playing along Tiger Woods at the FIO before a bum ankle slowed him down to 75-75 on the weekend. His ankle, by all reports, is healed and he should be back to his ball-striking best as he returns to the site of his first-ever made cut as a pro last year.  His worst round in his T22 maiden was 70. #HookEm

Chris Kirk (B): His 66-64 weekend in 2013 should have him full of confidence as he tries to rebound from a disappointing WMPO. After opening with 65 last week in Scottsdale, the wheels wobbled as he failed to break par the final three days. Kirk has already won and finished second in this young season and has added two other top 25s. I’m ready to hop back on!

Graeme McDowell (C): After a bizarre 2013 that essentially saw him win or MC, McDowell, according to his new blog at bbc.com, has refocused after 10 weeks and is raring to kick off his season. He should be quite familiar with most of the surroundings as he hoisted his first and only major at Pebble Beach in 2010. He’ll be playing with his old man this week and if he hits his usual amount of fairways and putts, he should start 2014 off on a positive note. I’m always nervy starting guys after long layoffs.

Pat Perez (C): In four starts in calendar 2014 Perez’s new life, thoughts and coach have made a profound difference. His T8 at Sony has been backed up T2 at FIO and 11th last week at WMPO. He knows his way around Poa annua and his solid short game should help him continue his hot streak this week.

Horses-for-Courses

Yahoo! group in ( )

Kevin Na (C): He was T5 in 2012 and T22 last year. Only one round of his last eight is over par. His health has returned and his worst round in 2014 is 70 in three events.

Aaron Baddeley (C): His last three years he has posted T6, fourth and T12 on the lumpy, bumpy greens on the Pacific Ocean coast. He’s opened 2014 MC, 74th and T48 last week so he’s in the right category this week.

Richard H. Lee (C): His best finish in 2013-14 in seven starts is T35 but if Lee is going to kick-start his season it’s going to be this week. In two trips to the Pro-Am he’s registered finishes of T15 and T12 the last two seasons.

Spencer Levin (C): The Nor-Cal native has been par or better in 14 of 15 career rounds at this event. He’s racked up finishes of T14, T46, T4 and T9 in four events over the last four years. He didn’t’ play last year as he was recovering from a wrist injury. He played the Web.com Tour last season to work his game back into shape. His plan has been solid as he’s seven of eight in the new season on TOUR.

Justin Hicks (C): His 67 on Sunday last year vaulted him to T12 in just his second start at the Pro-Am. His 2014 sees him trending in the right direction as well as he has finished T51, T48, T43 and T19 in his last four including 67 on Sunday at WMPO. Shhhhhhhhhhh.

Bryce Molder (B): In the last four years he’s been T12 or better three times. In two of those finishes he had Sunday finishes of 76 in 2010 to finish T10 and 74 to finish T6 in 2011. Last year, he cracked the code on Sunday to post the low round of the day, 64, to move up to T12.

James Driscoll (B): Somewhat all-or-nothing, in the last six years he’s finished T14, T69, MC, T13, MC and T9. You and I have both reached for much worse.

Clam Bake

The recent form of this bunch has been heating up

Patrick Reed (A): Gamers will be aware of his T16, WIN and T19 streak in his last three. Add that to his T7 (-14) in his maiden voyage last year and everyone is paying attention.  He was eight-under heading into the weekend at WMPO before cooling off (71-72) on the weekend. My only question is if he is ready to bring it every week because there is no question the talent is there.

K.J. Choi (C): Not surprising that he cooled a bit last week in a birdie-fest in the desert but Choi did NOT fire a round over par in the four days. His steady ball-striking will be his biggest asset this week as he continues his bounce-back season here in 2013-14.

Russell Knox (C): He’s quietly six out of seven to start the season and his two best finishes have been in his last two events. He posted T13 at Humana and backed that up with a T10 at Torrey so he’s proving his game can adapt to multiple styles of golf courses. He’s in the top 20 in fairways and greens and is also 56th in total putting. He went low at MPCC last year as he opened with 64.

Matt Jones (B): He’s played the weekend in five of six tries at this event and has seen the weekend in his last five TOUR events. He was tied with Bubba Watson after 36 holes last week in Phoenix after a pair of 65s but faded with 72-73 on the weekend. He’s been T43 or better in his last five with a T13 at Humana and T12 last week.

Matt Every (B): He has seen the weekend, dating back to last season, in 10 straight events. In 2013-14 he’s six from six with half of those T13 or better. He was in the mix last Sunday before a final round 75 saw him fade to T37.

Brendon Todd (C): Hey, looks who is back! Sure, he’s only made one cut in three tries at Pebble but his only finish was T9 in 2012. He’s 37th in fairways, 15th in GIR and 17th in strokes gained-putting. He’s also made 10 straight weekends.

Will MacKenzie (C): He returns to this event for the first time since 2010 and he does so on mayjah fiyah. He’s played five weekends in seven events this year with finishes ranging from T15 to T7. His history at Pebble is null and void for me as this is a straight form play this week.

Kevin Stadler (A): He could have been in the horse-for-course section as well as he fired 69-65 at Pebble last year to finish T3. After last week, he’s now 1-239 on TOUR.

Sunsets

Players I’ll watch from a distance

Brandt Snedeker: Too many high ones to offset the weekly low one. He was T2 and second before he won here last year. This year he limps in MC and T61 so that form doesn’t suggest a repeat.

Chris Stroud: In seven trips to Pebble he has a T6 and six MCs. Sounds like his 2013-14 season! I’ll pass.

Brendon de Jonge: Most weeks he’s a fantasy favorite with his propensity to go low but in five events here his best finish is a mere T44.

The Man with His Own Section in the Column

Jim Furyk: One of my favorite players, Furyk has not won on TOUR since The TOUR Championship (and FedExCup Playoffs) in 2010 but he has managed to scrape over $3 million in the last two seasons. He has begun his season here the last two years and has finished T40 and T30. I would prefer him to have a start or two under his belt before entering him into the lineup but he does have four top 10s here in 15 starts. When I’m conflicted with a big player, he gets his own section in the column.

Jordan Spieth of the Week Last Week

The column was taken over and thrashed by the kid from Texas last year. Out of respect, I’m not changing the title of it for 2013-14. It will remind me just how good Spieth was in the last three months of the season. This year, we’ll still identify an up-and-coming player and/or rookie that fantasy players should have on their radar.

Frys.com: Hideki Matsuyama, T3; Brooks Koepka, T3; Max Homa, T9.

SHCO: Ryo Ishikawa is only 22, don’t forget, T2; Chesson Hadley, T5.

CIMB: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 24, might have enough money after this week to earn Special Temporary Membership. Pay attention!

WGC-HSBC: Jordan Spieth was 17th. Tommy Fleetwood (T18) is only 22 and plays in Europe. Matsuyama WD with a bad back.

McGladrey: Scott Langley turned 24 last April and is in his second season on TOUR. He finished T22 last week and No. 124 last season. #slimpickinngsthisweek

OHL Mayakoba: Harris English turned 24 last July. He won.

HTOC:  Er, Jordan Spieth, solo second.

Sony: Hudson Swafford and Will Wilcox both finished T8. Both played on the Web.com Tour last year and are rookies on TOUR this season.

Humana: Patrick Reed won. He’s 23. You need to pay attention.

FIO: Ryo Ishikawa, 22, bagged another top 10 finish. That’s his sixth in his last 10 events on TOUR or the Web.com Tour. He’s an alternate this week as of Monday afternoon.

WMPO: Hideki Matsuyama is 21. In 11 events the last two years, he’s hit the top 25 in NINE of them, including T4 last week. #ALLRIGHTYTHEN

One-and-Done

SEASON TOTAL: $566,246

Frys.com: Gary Woodland, MC. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about when I’m using GARY WOODLAND again!

SHFC Open: Hideki Matsuyama. Time to break through, son. Matsuyama WD with injury so he was replaced with Nick Watney. He finished T48 for $15,264

CIMB Classic: Let’s try this again: Hideki Matsuyama. There’s no cut. This pleases me. His T25 after 74 on Sunday does not please me. Oh well. Here’s $53,433 into the piggy bank.

WGC-HSBC: Martin Kaymer. There’s no other place I would consider using him and he’s the defending champ on this track. #hangsonfordearlife. Kaymer’s third round 62 dared me to dream but his T8 and $161,667 is a nice deposit.

The McGladrey Classic: David Toms. He’s finished T3 in 2010 and second last year. His recent form suggests he’s playing well and I don’t see another chance to burn him down the road. It was him or CH III. Well, BOTH of my selections finished T27. I should have listened to O…T27 was good for $39,050.

OHL Mayakoba: Brian Gay. When form meets course history…  Well, that was a nice theory but it resulted in T45 and $18,060. I’m glad 2013 is now over.

HTOC: Martin Laird. Since I’m off to a woeful start I see no reason to burn a premium player. Chris Kirk was my second choice but nobody wins in back-to-back starts plus he’s just had another child. Laird is the horse-for-course. The Scot finished T20 in a 30-man field for $87,000.

Sony: Charles Howell III. He plays great in the early part of the season and his record at Waialae has everything BUT a win. If you notice, I saved most of my heavy hitters for the latter part of 2013 last year and that strategy worked out. Hey, a top 10 and $119,000! Feels like a winner!

Humana: Webb Simpson has been on fire to get 2013-14 started and going low has never been a problem. It’s time to start firing at ‘em. Sigh. Another week brings another disappointing selection as I add a whopping $57,000 to my morbid total.

FIO: Same as last year, Rickie Fowler. He’s working with Butch Harmon to get to the next level and he’s played SoCal courses plenty in his young life. He finished up last week at Humana 67-66 and he’s finished T5, T20, T13 and T6 last year in four career starts. I’ll save Woods and Mickelson for down the road for bigger winner’s checks. Snedeker and Walker were also considered and are solid options for this week. Fowler was just as bad as the other four I had listed, save for Woods’ MDF cash. Tough week in OAD for most I’m guessing. MC $0.

WMPO: Ryan Palmer. He’s on fire, can really putt and was fifth here last year. His excellent 64 saw him make the cut but his 70-72 weekend resulted in T48 at $15,772. I finished strong last year because I had a stable full of studs from The Open Championship through the FedExCup Playoffs. I’m not panicking. Yet.

AT&T PEBBLE: Jimmy Walker is the pick this week. He’s a beast on the West Coast and he’s had time to recover from his illness after MC at Torrey Pines.

GolfChannel.com Fantasy Golf

Glass ($2,236,907; Rank: 12,931)

Group 1: Jason Day

Group 2: Jimmy Walker

Group 3: Justin Hicks

Group 4: Justin Thomas

Rob Bolton ($2,569,698; Rank: 8,599)

Group 1: Jason Day

Group 2: Jimmy Walker

Group 3: Jason Kokrak

Group 4: John Mallinger

Ryan O’ Sullivan ($1,760,167; Rank: 19,301)

Group 1: Jason Day

Group 2: Jimmy Walker

Group 3: Jason Kokrak

Group 4: Sean O’Hair

Ned Brown ($2,434,130; Rank: 10,188)

Group 1: Dustin Johnson

Group 2: Jimmy Walker

Group 3: Kevin Na

Group 4: John Mallinger

Ned said, “…

Ned Brown is a long-time contributor for Rotoworld Golf.  He’s had documented success in Yahoo!’s game for years.  Even if you’re confident in your selections for that game, give his insight a read. 

Group A

Phil Mickelson-- He tested out the back last week in the WMPO and he was able to get around for the four days. He claims he had no pain, so I'm going to use him this week based on his past record here of four championships and four other top 10s in 17 career starts.

Patrick Reed-- I was thinking that I would be able to pencil Brandt Snedeker here after he carded a second round of 7-under-par 64 at the WMPO, but a very poor weekend has me scared off him. Instead, I'll turn to Patrick Reed, who won two starts ago at the Humana and who had a very impressive T7 result last year in his first career start at the AT&T Pebble Beach.

SUPER SUBS

Kevin Stadler, Brandt Snedeker

Group B

Jason Day-- He had been playing well going into the FIO and he didn't disappoint with a tie for second place finish. His history at the AT&T Pebble Beach is solid with a pair of sixth place results ('08, last year) in four career starts.

Dustin Johnson—He won the WGC-HSBC for his first WGC title and opened the new calendar year with a T6 at the TOC. His record in this event is great, with two championships ('09, '10) and two other tops 10s in six career starts.

Hunter Mahan-- It didn't take him long to knock the rust off from the off season, as he looked great last week at the WMPO in his T4 finish. His record at the AT&T has improved in recent years with the highlight being a solo second place in '11.

Jordon Spieth-- He was in the hunt for FIO title until an ankle injury contributed him dropping to a T19 result. It seems he is already over his ankle injury and is good to go for this week. He has only one start here (T22 last year), so he is mostly about playing the current hot player.

SUPER SUBS

Chris Kirk, Matt Jones, Jason Kokrak, Jim Furyk

Group C

Jimmy Walker-- He opened the season with a victory at the Sony open and then missed the cut at the FIO, but his wife tweeted that Walker was dog sick with what sounded like the flu, so I'm going to ignore his last start. His recent record at the AT&T Pebble Beach has been very good with T9s in '12 and ''11 and a T3 result last year.

Graeme McDowell-- He looked pretty good in the off-season events and has taken a break from the tours for the last couple of months. His last tournament here was the '10 U.S. Open, which he won, and it's the main reason I'm using him this week.

SUPER SUBS

Aaron Baddeley, Kevin Na, Nick Watney, Pat Perez

“Pure Spin”

Points this season: 852

Rank: 4,454

Percentile: 94th

 

Coming Wednesday

 

And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat WEDNESDAY at NOON p.m. ET. We will be breaking down the field at the AT&T and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.