Coop’s AT&T Pebble Beach Preview

This week we are headed back to California for the Pebble Beach AT&T Pro-am. This is the last of the wonky tournaments as this week we will once again be playing three different courses over the four rounds. Once again expect long rounds and easier set ups with the amateurs playing over the duration of this tournament. This weeks field features several top ranked players but the depth of the field is not nearly as deep as what we saw in Pheonix last week. Jordan Spieth is the defending champion while Vaugh Taylor and Brandt Snedeker won the previous two years. Winning score over the last three years has ranged from -17 to -22 and how high or low it ends up will depend upon how much wind we see this week. While the winning score is very good over the last two years only ten and seven players have made it to -10 so if the winds pick up don’t expect it to be a outright birdie fest by all players. All players are guaranteed three rounds as long as they don’t withdraw mid tourney. The cut for this tournament is T60 and ties after the third round. Over the last three years the fourth round has consisted of 65, 69 and 64 players. This means that we are likely to see at least 86 players miss the cut and not play in round four. If you get a 6/6 this week you will be in a very good spot on Sunday as the DFS leaderboards will fluctuate tremendously as the 6/6 will most likely fall under 10% simply because so many players miss the cut. A couple final notes, this tournament has been around since 1950 and there has only been one first time winner and on top of that according to Josh Culp 13 of the past 15 winners were playing this event for at least the fifth time when they got the win.

COURSES
This week we have three similar courses in length as they all play around 6850-6920 yards with two par 72 layouts and one par 71. All three feature poa annua greens that are small. The host course which will be played twice including the final round is Pebble Beach and it has the smallest greens on tour at only around 3,000 sq ft. Keep in mind that the average size green on tour is around 6500 sq ft. If wind becomes a issue in rounds 1-3 you may want to try to get players playing Spyglass Hill on the windy day as it is protected by trees which will help the limit the high winds were as Pebble Beach and Monterey are open courses with no defense against the wind. The par 4 holes on these courses are relatively short as thirteen play under 400 yards while twelve fall in the 400-450 yard range. Yes, they are short but that doesn’t mean they are easy as many played over par due to the small greens. The par 5’s all play 500-599 yards and all but one played under par last year. One other note on par 5’s is the Monterey Peninsula course has four total like all three courses but it has three on the back nine while it has three par 3’s on the front side and two on the back side which means it has one less par 4 playing as a par 71.

STATS FOR THIS WEEK
As mentioned above the players will be playing several par 4’s so will I be looking at scoring on par 4’s this week specifically in the ranges of under 400 yards and 400-450 yards. I will also be looking for players that are hitting greens as this will be important to provide birdie opportunities so I will key in on proximity distances of 125-150 and 150-175 as well as SG Approach. Since the greens are small we will need players who are scrambling well because we need to save par on those greens that are missed. My final stat category for the week is SG Tee to Green as we always want players who play well all around. Driving is mitigated this week due to the shorter courses so no need to look at driving distance, SG Off the Tee or accuracy. The player stats listed below are based on were the player is ranked within the field based on the number of tournaments they have played in dating back five weeks to the Tournament of Champions.

BIG NAMES AT THE TOP
Similar to last week we have a star studded field at the top and it will be interesting to see how player ownership plays out. Last week we had Hideki coming in as two time defending champ and as the week went on it became apparent that the play was to use Jordan Spieth over Hideki with the feeling that they would be the two highest owned among the top tier players. At the same time many people were thinking that Justin Thomas would go low owned due to the number of high quality plays at the top. Meanwhile Rickie Fowler was just sitting there and was destined to have the third highest ownership behind Jordan and Hideki. When all was said and done many people in the DFS community played game ownership theories which resulted in Fowler being the highest owned by a fairly significant margin with Jordan next up while Hideki barely edged out Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas. How this weeks plays out will be interesting as we are once again in the same scenario. Let’s start with the guy making his return to the pga tour, Rory McIlroy. McIlroy made his return to competitive golf three weeks ago on the Euro tour playing in the Abu Dhabi Championship finishing third and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic were he placed second. McIlroy looked very good in both tournaments shooting no worse than a 70 and as low as a 63. While the scores were great in those two tournaments the course style he will be playing this week is completely different. This will be the initial tournament for McIlroy but he did play the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach missing the cut. Finding stats for Euro players is challenging as the tour over the pond is just now starting to support stats but the stats they are providing pale in comparison to what the pga tour provides. Playing McIlroy this week is purely based off his ability as there is nothing out there statistically or course history that says play him.

Dustin Johnson makes his return this week after a couple weeks off as he last played overseas at the Abu Dhabi championships finishing ninth. DJ has by far the best course history entering this weeks tournament as he has made 9/10 cuts with two victories to go along with five other T7’s. DJ has only played one tournament this calendar year and the one stat based off that tournament that worries me is his proximity as he is ranked near the bottom within the field in both key distances. DJ will be extremely popular this week so if you play him make sure you include at least one unique player in your lineup so you can differentiate yourself among the entries. DJ will be my highest owned player this week.
Key Stats one tournament
SG T2G 1st
Par 4 Scoring 1st
SG Approach 20th

Jordan Spieth enters this tournament coming off a missed cut last week at Pheonix. Spieth continues to have issues with the flat stick as he once again lost strokes putting but what makes it worse is Spieth did not hit the ball as well last week. Spieth has very good course history making all five cuts with three T10’s including his win last year while his worse finishes have been 21st and 22nd. DK has priced Spieth down this week which will make his ownership interesting. If Spieth was priced right behind DJ it would have basically cemented him being low owned but since he is the cheapest of the big five this week Spieth will probably see ownership north of 20%. If you play Spieth this week it’s because you feel his putting will return and if you bench him it’s for the opposite reason as the only major issue with his game is his putting. Spieth does have solid numbers when putting on poa but putting on poa can be tricky.
Key Stats three tournaments
SG Approach 24th
SG T2G 8th
Scrambling 67th
Proximity 125-150 50th
Proximity 150-175 16th
Par 4 Scoring 16th

This will be Jon Rahm’s fourth tournament in as many weeks but he is young and the travel required between these tournaments is minimal. Rahm is playing good golf but in his last two tournaments he has struggled to finish as his rounds on Sunday have been the worse scores for him over those two tournaments. Rahm played here last year and finished fifth, it’s his only appearance at this tournament. Rahm is someone I will most likely pass on this week as his iron play has been spotty and putting on poa is not his best turf. I still expect a solid finish from Rahm but I feel his upside is not as good as his peers this week.
Key Stats four tournaments
SG T2G 11th
SG Approach 59th
Par 4 Scoring 12th
Proximity 125-150 73rd
Proximity 150-175 109
Scrambling 53rd

After a one week break Jason Day is back on the course after winning the Farmers Insurance Open. At Torrey Pines Day showcased his game as if it was two years ago when he was playing top notch golf. Day is quite familiar with these courses as he has made 7/8 cuts with four T10’s. Day will most likely be my second highest owned player this week as he is familiar with the turf, environment and is coming off a win in a course that provided similar conditions.
Key Stats one tournament
SG T2G 27th
SG Approach 89th
Par 4 Scoring 8th
Proximity 125-150 77th
Proximity 150-175 25th
Scrambling 42nd

LOOKING FOR THAT WIN
Brandt Snedeker will be in full force I have to win this tournament mode. Snedeker knows that time is ticking on his chances to get a invitation to play in this years Masters and he knows this week is his best opportunity to win a tournament and get that automatic invitation. Snedeker is 7/10 cuts made at this tournament with two wins and several other solid finishes including a fourth. Snedeker has improved his golf along with his finishing position in all three tournaments and I don’t see why he won’t continue to improve at one of his favorite tournaments. Snedeker does need to improve his SG Approach and SG T2G as he ranks in the bottom third of the field but I feel as he gets more playing time this portion of his game will improve. I expect Snedeker to be popular this week with his course history and relatively low price this week.
Key Stats three tournaments
Scrambling 8th
Proximity 125-150 45th
Proximity 150-175 36th

Patrick Reed continues to play solid golf early this year and now heads to a tournament that boasts his best course history on the West coast swing. Reed is 5/5 in cut mades at this tournament with two top 10’s while his worse finish is 29th. I am hoping that Reed comes in no higher than 15% this week but that may be a stretch considering his current form.
Key Stats three tournaments
SG Approach 14th
SG Total 14th
Scrambling 13th
Proximity 125-150 25th
Proximity 150-175 42nd

Pat Perez has resurrected his career over the last two years playing some very good golf. This week Perez heads back to one of his favorite tournaments as he has made 11/12 cuts with two T10’s and and two additional T20’s. Perez has made all his cuts this year to go along with his last twelve which includes one win and several other T10 finishes. If the wind were to pick up at any point during the tournament having Perez on your roster is a plus as he is known as a good wind player.
Key Stats one tournament
Par 4 scoring 7th
SG Approach 18th
Scrambling 24th

James Hahn is going to be severely underowned this week due to his price and he is playing some very good golf currently. Hahn is usually priced in the lower 7k range and draws 10-15% ownership at best when all the scenarios line up for him. With Hahn being priced at 8.4k this week I expect his ownership to be in the 1-3% and I will gladly play him at 10-15%. Hahn has made 3/5 cuts at this tournament with his best finish being third. Hahn is from the area so he is familiar with the turf. Hahn enters this tournament making his last four cuts with a finish of second and eleventh being his best.
Key Stats four tournaments
SG Approach 10th
SG T2G 20th
Par 4 Scoring 5th
Proximity 125-150 17th
Proximity 150-175 39th
Scrambling 69th

WILDCARDS THIS WEEK
Adam Scott makes his return to the pga tour this week after a several month hiatus as he last played in late October. Scott says he is motivated this year to play much better golf than last year. Scott admits that his wife’s pregnancy did hurt his mental aspect of the game and he is now free of that. Scott is also on the record as saying he is tired of hearing about all the young talent on tour and it’s now his time to step up and show he still has game. Scott has no credible stats since he has not played recently so if you roster him you are either a Scott fan, like his price, or feel he will have low ownership. Scott only has one appearance in this tournament playing in 2010 and missing the cut. Scott also played in the US Open that same year at Pebble Beach placing 52nd.

Paul Casey is in a similar situation to Adam Scott except he has one tournament under his belt since late October as he played in the Abu Dhabi Championships a few weeks ago and finished ninth. Casey has no stats to go by so you will be playing him for the same reasons you would be playing Adam Scott. Casey has never played this tournament but is familiar with Pebble Beach as he finished 41st at the US Open in 2010.

Phil Mickelson continues to play solid golf after his missed cut at the Career Builder Challenege as he finished fifth in Pheonix last week. I mentioned that DJ had the best course history, well Mickelson is not far behind him as he has made 11/12 cuts with two victories and three other T10’s as well as a T10 at the 2010 US Open. Currently I am up in the air with Mickelson this week as he gained several strokes putting last week while the rest of his play has been up and down. Mickelson is priced high this week which could lead to low ownership but if I get the feeling he will be over 15% I will be passing.
Key Stats three tournaments
SG Approach 15th
Par 4 scoring 32nd
Proximity 125-150 68th
Proximity 150-175 78th
Strokes Gained T2G 95th
Scrambling 105th

The last seven to ten days have been a whirlwind for one JB Holmes. Holmes issues during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open are well documented and then he missed the cut at the Pheonix tournament last week. Holmes is now returning to Pebble Beach, a place that has treated him well over the years. Holmes should be settled down and in a much better state of mind heading into this week as he won’t be the pre tournament talk this week as everyone is discussing the players up top. Holmes has made 9/11 cuts at this tournament with two T10’s and five T20’s. Holmes is purely a ownership play along with course history as his stats are not the best. I also feel that this being a pro/am will negate any slow play issues as the pace of play will be slow.
Key Stats two tournaments
Proximity 150-175 22nd
Proximity 125-150 100th
Scrambling 82nd
SG T2G 69th
Par 4 Scoring 61st
SG Approach 100th

Brandon Grace is making his debut at this tournament this week along with his first appearance on the PGA tour this year. Grace has played three times in January on the Euro making the cut all three times and finishing 2nd, 15th and 37th. It would appear that Grace is making it over to the states a little earlier than what he has in the past to get ready for the Masters. I went back to 2012 and Grace has only played one West coast tournament with that being the Genesis Open in 2016, placing 22nd. I like Grace this week especially if the wind kicks up and you need to plod your way around the courses. Considering his DK price tag and the other name players around him I see Grace being very low owned and could be a good GPP play this week.

FADES THIS WEEK
Rafa Cabrera-Bello tends to be a DFS darling and attracts high ownership quite often. Bello has missed his last two cuts at this tournament not breaking 70 either time. I am not sure why Bello has decided to play this week as he has zero West coast tournament appearances minus his two missed cuts at this tournament. Bello is certain to draw ownership over 30% this week due to being the number 21 ranked player in the world, making several cuts in his last eight tournaments to go along with some T5 finishes and he is priced under 7k. I have said it before that on a weekly basis there is not much difference between the 20th ranked player in the world and the 150th as its consistency that draws you high rankings. Bello is playing on turf he has not played well on before as well as a tournament set up that he hasn’t participated in often. When you look at the Career stats for Bello at this tournament they are horrible. Bello has Zach Johnson from last week written all over him. If you can answer yes to this question then go ahead and play him but I think most will answer no. If Bellow was priced between 8.5k and 9k would you play him this week?

Patrick Cantlay is back this week after a one week break were he finished 51st in his last tournament at the Farmers Insurance Open after opening with a 69 but he struggled the rest of the tournament to put together any good rounds. Cantlay has played this tournament twice finishing 48th last year and 9th several years ago. As I have mentioned before I see Cantlay as a player who will do well in tournaments were the winning score is -8 to -11 as he has not shown the ability to go really low over four rounds. Much has been made about the horrible putting that one Jordan Spieth has displayed early this year but are people aware of were Cantlay currently stands when it comes to putting? What Cantlay is doing well is SG off the tee which is negated this week with all the shorter holes. I see another finish this week for Cantlay being much like his Farmers performance.
Key Stats
SG Putting 125th
SG Approach 65th
Proximity 125-150 112th
Proximity 150-175 133rd

Austin Cook is a player who I have rostered often this year and written up previously as a good play. This week I will be off Cook as he like Bello will draw high ownership in an environment he has not played in yet. How will Cook handle the pro/am? How will Cook handle the poa greens as he has not played on them? How will Cook handle playing on the coast which can provide challenging conditions? If Cook had played at Torrey Pines I would be more inclined to play him as he would have some experience in the environment he is in this week.

DO YOU HAVE THE STONES LIKE ONE DOUG PEDERSON
I am honoring one Doug Pederson this week due to his aggressive play calling in this past weeks Super Bowl. Pederson didn’t back down going for a first down on fourth down in his own territory along with throwing the football to his quarterback for a touchdown. Pederson stayed aggressive with his play calling the entire game and it paid off as it helped his team win the Super Bowl. So do you have the stones of one Doug Pederson this week and be aggressive with your roster construction? If you are playing the 500k contest this week with 148k entries you will need to throw some darts if you are looking to win as several relatively unknown players have finished in the T10 over the past three editions of this tournament. The relatively unknown players who have T10 finishes over the last three years are Vaugh Taylor, Kelly Kraft, Seung Yul-Noh, Rob Oppenheim, Cameron Percy, Jonas Blixt, Freddie Jacobsen, Hiroshi Iwata, Roberto Castro, Charlie Beljan, Matt Jones, John Curran, Andres Gonzales, and Brendan Todd. I feel confident in saying that all of these players were less than 1% owned when they T10.

Vaugh Taylor is a former champion at this tournament as he won two years ago. Taylor has mixed success at this tournament making 5/8 cuts including his victory and one other T10. Taylor is coming off a solid performance in Pheonix finishing 11th. I imagine that Taylor will get lost amongst all the chalky low priced players this week and will come in at 1-3% at the most. What will help drive down his ownership is he sits right next to Rafa Bello and Bryson DeChambeau on the price chart.
Key Stats three tournaments
SG T2G 35th
SG Approach 28th
Proximity 150-175 41st
Par 4 Scoring 48th

Jimmy Walker played pretty good golf two weeks ago at the Farmers Insurance Open until the fourth round when the winds picked up. Up until the aforementioned tournament Walker had missed the cut at his three previous tournaments this year. Unfortunately due to the Lyme disease that Walker continues to battle we will never know how he is feeling heading into any tournament. Walker has had plenty of success over the years at this tournament make 8/10 cuts with one victory and three other T10’s. With Walker being priced up this week and his recent string of missed cuts he will check in with low ownership and I am more than willing to throw him in some gpp’s this week.
Key Stats three tournaments
Proximity 150-175 1st
SG Approach 30th

I have been waiting to write this next guy up because he is one of my favorite players on tour. Many of you are probably not familiar with Colt Knost as he is making his return to the PGA tour after missing the majority of last year due to an injury. I love me some Knost as he is a hilarious follow on twitter while he doesn’t give the appearance as your typical pga player as he doesn’t appear to visit the gym often and he seems like a person you could sit down with over a few drinks and have great conversation. Knost is playing ok golf right now making 3/6 cuts. Knost is a plodder and these courses set up well as he has made his last two cuts at this tournament. Knost has always played solid golf along with some of his best on the West coast tour. Knost has the ability to be a solid player as at one point in 2016 he made 19/20 cuts.
Key stats two tournaments
Proximity 150-175 11th
Par 4 scoring 38th
Proximity 125-150 40th
Scrambling 47th

For many Derek Fathauer is known as a good first round leader bet but at this tournament he has shown to be a solid player as he has made all four cuts including three in a row while finishing 22nd, 23rd, 41st and 52nd. As you will see from Fathauer Stats he is playing solid golf heading into this tournament as he has made two of his last three cuts. Fathauer is priced up this week and will be another player that can be had for under one percent.
Key Stats three tournaments
Sg Approach 35th
SG T2G 23rd
Proximity 150-175 19th
Par 4 Scoring 42nd
Scrambling 41st

Tom Hoge has made two out of three cuts at this tournament finishing 39th and 41st. Hoge has made three of his last four cuts which includes a third place finish. Hoge finished 12th a few weeks ago at the Farmer Insurance Open which boasts similar conditions to what we will see this week.
Key Stats four tournaments
SG Approach 7th
SG T2G 12th
Par 4 Scoring 20th
Scrambling 31st

Sam Saunders is playing perhaps his best golf of his life over a long period of time. Saunders enters this weeks tournament coming off a 8th and 25th place in his two tournaments this year. Saunders has not played well at this tournament in the past missing 4/6 cuts including his last three. Saunders has never entered this tournament in the form he is currently in and I feel he will continue to provide solid results as he had not played well at the Sony Open or Career Builder until this year.
Key Stats two tournaments
SG T2G 4th
SG Approach 9th
Par 4 Scoring 21st
Proximity 125-150 68th
Proximity 150-175 31st
Scrambling 110th

My ultimate Doug Pederson dart throw this week is Shane Bertsch who has played this tournament five times over his career making the cut all five times. The majority of Bertsch’s appearances were six to twelve years ago although he did finish 35th two years ago. Bertsch is basically a web.com player at this point in his career but he knows with his course history this is potentially a place were he could resurrect his career by gaining confidence to play himself back on the pga tour through finishing in the top twenty five of the web.com tour. Bertsch is a player who I would only play with five other players who I felt confident making the cut and finishing in the T20. I expect Bertsch to be one of the lowest owned players this week possibly checking in as low as .01%.

THROWING DARTS AT THE AUSTRALIANS THIS WEEK
Let’s just call this part of the blog Team Australia and if it gets windy you will want some of these players on your teams as Australians are known for playing well in the wind. This is were you need to pay attention to the weather as my willingness to play these guys if the wind is light goes down. Let’s start with Matt Jones who has made 7/9 cuts at this tournament and has finished as high as 7th with four other finishes in the T30. Jones has a very solid short game which will fit in well with having small greens this week. No matter what his form has been in the past Jones always seems to be on track when he gets to this tournament.
Key Stats three tournaments
Scrambling 35th
Par 4 Scoring 37th
SG T2G 64th

A name I mentioned above as having a T10 was Cameron Percy. Percy has made 4/6 cuts at this tournament with a T10 last year but his other finishes are range in 40-60th range. Percy has played one tournament this year and his stats are horrible. This is purely a bad weather, good course history under one percent owned pick.

Many of you are probably familiar with Aaron Baddeley as he use to be a up and coming emerging player but it just never happened for him. Bads has made the cut at this tournament 7/8 times with two T10 and two additional T20. Unfortunately his last three appearances have all been in the lower 50’s. Baddeley played solid golf last week at Pheonix finishing 26th. Baddeley is a very strong putter and if he can get that part of his game rolling he has the ability to post a solid finish. Baddeley is priced up based off his results and will be a player you can get for under one percent.
Key Stats three tournaments
Scrambling 12th
Par 4 Scoring 39th
SG T2G 63rd
Proximity 125-150 57th

My final Australian golfer is 22 year old Cameron Davis. Some of you may be aware of Davis as he shot a 64 in the final round of the most recent Australian Open to come from behind and win over the likes of Jason Day and Jordan Spieth. Davis has competed twice on the pga tour making both cuts with his most recent being at the Farmers Insurance Open were he made the cut and played well until the final round. If you recall the final round was windy and he shot a 80. This makes my interest in Davis only if the wind is down as the better wind players are the older more experienced players. Davis did struggle at Torrey Pines with his scrambling game and his proximity from 150-175 so the small greens could give him problems. I am still willing to throw him in a couple gpp’s as I know he will be owned under one percent.
Key Stats one tournament
Proximity 125-150 7th
SG Approach 27th
Par 4 Scoring 67th
SG T2G 68th

Good luck to everyone this week and my blog the next two weeks may be short as I will need to help my daughter move as she will be entering the real world and living in Washington DC. Empty nester life is now setting in for the wife and I. I leave you this week with my Masters recap and were we stand with qualifying.

81 players have qualified and there are 8 tournaments left to qualify by winning

Players who have to stay inside the T50 world golf rankings to qualify
Satosha Kodaira 37th
Dylan Fritelli 47th

Players who need to get inside the T50 world golf rankings to qualify and are playing this week
James Hahn 60th
Chez Reavie 61st
Julian Suri 66th
Brandt Snedeker 67th
Chesson Hadley 68th
Shane Lowry 69th

About the Author

Comments

  • nicholasmarsh

    Good stuff as always. Thanks, Coop!

  • Ketter

    Another great blog. Thanks.

    I was happy to see Hahn make the list. Looking through the stats and recent form he really seemed to pop, but he’s James Hahn so I was kind of scared to play him. You are right that price will definitely knock ownership way down on him too.

    I am so tempted to throw Cam Davis in my main lineup. His recent form really is great and looking at some of his hole by hole scoring he looks to be a great DK play. Lots of birdies and power to reach the Par 5s. He could be a guy that with three guaranteed rounds can make value even if he misses the cut. So unproven though he could get dead last too.

  • Gtzerphy

    Great write up, thank you.

  • Cooper08

    • Blogger of the Month

    @Ketter said...

    Another great blog. Thanks.

    I was happy to see Hahn make the list. Looking through the stats and recent form he really seemed to pop, but he’s James Hahn so I was kind of scared to play him. You are right that price will definitely knock ownership way down on him too.

    I am so tempted to throw Cam Davis in my main lineup. His recent form really is great and looking at some of his hole by hole scoring he looks to be a great DK play. Lots of birdies and power to reach the Par 5s. He could be a guy that with three guaranteed rounds can make value even if he misses the cut. So unproven though he could get dead last too.

    Thanks to all! I like Cam to but I have some worries as I mentioned.

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