This article is part of our DraftKings PGA series.
AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM
Winner's Share: $1.332M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Pebble Beach, Calif.
Course: Pebble Beach Golf Links
2017 champion: Jordan Spieth
It was not even two years ago we were talking about the Big Three – Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day. Right about now, it's closer to a Big 10. There are so many elite-level golfers that we're bound to see at least a few of them in almost every tournament. This week at Pebble Beach, there are five, including Spieth, who is the defending champion; McIlroy, in his 2018 U.S. debut after an injury-lost 2017; and Day, coming off his first win since that Big Three talk almost two years ago. They are joined by, oh, only the top-two players in the world, No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. All five of them are are so highly priced on the DraftKings board ($10,700+) that it's really hard to take more than one for your lineup, and good luck picking which one will do best this week (we'll give you three options below). All but McIlroy have exceptional tracks records in this event. You might be able to pick two, but then that becomes doubly hard – picking the two who will do best. And if you pick two, then you face a remarkably tough scenario at the other end of the board: combing the sub-$7000 scrub pool in this maxed-out 156-man field. Of course, there is another option behind Door No. 3: not picking any of those five, which should allow you to avoid the bargain-basement barrel, too.
All that is the fantasy backdrop for a tournament that has pretty fair backdrop to begin with: breathtaking ocean vistas along the rugged Pacific coastline. And it's always a fun event filled with four days of celebrity shanks. The usual suspects are on hand: Bill Murray, Aaron Rodgers, Wayne Gretzky, Ray Romano and perhaps the best of the bunch, Tony Romo. With 18-hole rounds more aptly described as six-hour slogs, they spread the first three days of the tournament over three courses just to get everyone done before dusk. Spyglass Hill (par-72, 6.953 yards) and Monterey Peninsula (71, 6,958) join Pebble in the rotation. One perk for gamers is that there won't be a cut till after 54 holes, so if you happen to miss on one of your six, you might be able to survive the hit. The downside is the cut is only top–60 and ties.
Maybe the field is so strong this year because the U.S. Open returns to Pebble next year. The course won't be as penal now as it will be then, but it still is home to the smallest greens on Tour. That calls for highly accurate golfers and, barring that, great scramblers. We'll get into that more in the key stats and Champion's Profile below. We all know about No. 7, the tiny, 106-yard par-3, and the par-5 18th along the ocean. But the toughest stretch is Nos. 8-10, all par-4s and the three hardest holes on Pebble last year. Spieth was able to negotiate the rainy, chilly weather for the first of his three titles on the season. His 19-under total falls within the range of five of the past six winners: 17-under to 22-under. This year, with temperatures in the 60s, no rain and little wind forecast, scores could approach the high end of that range.
Key Stats to Winning at Pebble Beach
Note - The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key stats" follow in importance.
• Greens in regulation/strokes gained approach
• Proximity to the hole
• Scrambling/strokes gained around the green
• Putting average/strokes gained putting
2017 - Jordan Spieth
2016 - Vaughn Taylor
2015 - Brandt Snedeker
2014 - Jimmy Walker
2013 - Brandt Snedeker
2012 - Phil Mickelson
2011 - D.A. Points
2010 - Dustin Johnson
2009 - Dustin Johnson
2008 - Steve Lowery
Six of the eight years this decade, big names have won this tournament. So you might say the Champion's Profile is chalk. Specifically, Pebble is a second-shot course. Getting on the green is always harder when the greens are small, so superior wedge play is paramount – both from the fairway and around the greens (scrambling). And because the courses are all so short, many of those approach shots will be wedges. Some big hitters have won here, but you can be a short hitter and still thrive. None of the past four winners has been top-20 in driving distance. Normally when greens are small, that neutralizes the best putters. But that doesn't mean you don't have to putt well to win here. In fact, six of the past eight winners have been top-10 in putting average, with no winner worse than 16th. Lastly, and perhaps coincidence more than anything else, there have been only two non-U.S. winners of this tournament since 1965 (though Graeme McDowell did win the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble).
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
Tier 1 Values
Dustin Johnson - $11,700 (Winning odds at golfodds.com: 6-1)
Johnson is the overwhelming favorite at 6-1, and that's saying something with five of the top-10 golfers in the world in the field. He's had six top-5s through the years at Pebble and...and? That's plenty of reason to pick him right there.
Jason Day - $10,900 (10-1)
Day finished fifth here last year, despite subjecting his bad back to rainy and chilly conditions. He also has played well here in better weather, with three other top-6s through the years. Day looked his best in two years in winning at Torrey Pines two weeks back
Jordan Spieth - $10,400 (10-1)
The defending champion is a surprising No. 5 on the DraftKings board. Really, a stunner. Yes, Spieth was horrible in missing the cut last week at Phoenix. But his track record here is exemplary, with three top-10s and five top-25s in five visits.
Tier 2 Values
Matt Kuchar - $8,800 (30-1)
Kuchar missed the cut here last year, but that is such a rarity for him that we're going to discount it. He's ninth in GIR on the season, fourth in strokes gained putting and is coming off a T5 last week at TPC Scottsdale.
Pat Perez - $8,600 (30-1)
Perez has steered clear of the West Coast Swing till now, in favor of some far-away cash grabs. He's missed only one cut in his past dozen Pebble starts, and three of the past four years he's finished in the top-15. Perez already has three top-fives on the PGA Tour season.
Chesson Hadley - $8,500 (50-1)
Hadley turned in twin T10s in his first two trips to the Monterey Peninsula back in 2014-15. He's 7-for-7 in made cuts in his return to the PGA Tour this season, with a fourth top-5 last week at TPC Scottsdale.
Kevin Kisner - $8,200 (40-1)
Kisner missed the cut in three of his first four visits to Pebble, but rebounded for a T10 last year. We don't know about another top-10, but surely we don't envision a missed cut, either – not for a golfer who is 20th in greens in regulation and third in strokes gained putting.
Brandt Snedeker - $8,100 (30-1)
Snedeker cost $10,000 last year, so this is quite a savings. And all he did last year was finish T4, after winning in 2013 and 2015. Snedeker has played three weeks in a row, so his season-ending rib injury is fully in the rear-view mirror. Last week was his best effort of 2018, T23 at Phoenix. He appears to be back to his old self, ranking 19th in strokes gained putting.
Tier 3 Values
Patrick Reed - $7,900 (40-1)
Reed is coming of a pair of top-25s, and those are good results for him. No matter what he says of himself, or his Ryder Cup record, he's not a top-10 golfer. That's why top-25s are good – he's got four of them here in the past five years, two of them being top-10s. Reed is 22nd in strokes gained approached, seventh in strokes gained around the green and 31st in strokes gained putting.
J.B. Holmes - $7,400 (60-1)
These six-hour rounds must make Holmes feel right at home. He's finished top-25 here the last three years, and all that's gotten him is a $1,000 drop in price over last year. Holmes has horrendous GIR numbers this season, but he does rank a remarkable seventh in strokes gained putting.
Kevin Streelman - $7,300 (80-1)
Streelman has top-20s here the past two years. He's 8-for-8 in cuts so far in 2017-18, with four of them top-25s. Streelman ranks fourth on Tour in greens in regulation.
Steve Stricker - $7,100 (100-1)
Stricker hasn't played here often, but he did turn in a T23 last year. And he tied for 31st last week in his first action in months. Stricker always was among the GIR leaders when playing enough rounds to qualify.
Austin Cook - $7,000 (60-1)
Cook hasn't missed a cut in eight starts, and that by itself is enough to take a $7,000 golfer. But he of course also has a win and five other top-25s. Heading into his Pebble debut, Cook is 35th in GIR and 41st in strokes gained putting.
Bryson DeChambeau - $6,900 (60-1)
DeChambeau has strung together a bunch of good finishes going back to October, and last week's T5 at TPC Scottsdale was the best one yet. He is seventh in greens in regulation this season.
Jason Kokrak - $6,900 (80-1)
The big hitter has cashed top-25 in three of the past six years, including T23 last year. And Kokrak already has four top-25s so far this season. He's 44th in strokes gained total.
Tom Hoge - $6,600 (150-1)
Hoge finished T39 and T41 here the past two years, and now he's a far better golfer. In the past month, he's finished third at the Sony at T12 at Torrey Pines, a course that correlates favorably to Pebble. Hoge ranks 14th in strokes gained approach and 24th in scrambling.