A Pebble Beach (Brief) Preview
History and Picturesque Views on the Coast of California, with a side of PGA Tour golf
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am starts this Thursday, a full-field PGA event that also features amateurs and a handful of notable celebrities playing alongside the pros.
My definitive top 5 celebrities I’d want to be paired up with from this group:
- Bill Murray
- Don Cheadle
- Mia Hamm
- Larry Fitzgerald
- Josh Allen
The pros and celebs will rotate through three courses from Thursday-Saturday — Monterey Peninsula, Spyglass Hill, and Pebble Beach proper.
After 54-holes the top-60 golfers (with ties) will make the cut and play at Pebble Beach on Sunday to try and capture the title.
Last year, Daniel Berger won on the back of four Eagles in three days, including two in the final round — the most memorable of which came from a 30-foot putt Berger buried on the 72nd hole.
Berger’s been spectacular at Pebble Beach in his career and will look to continue that trend this week as one of the clear favorites in the field.
Also headlining this field is the #4 ranked golfer in the world, Patrick Cantlay, who finished Tied-3rd here a year ago.
Jordan Spieth is the other preeminent golfer in the field this week, who also finished Tied-3rd last year and seems to normally play well at Pebble.
Spieth’s form has been tenuous as of late, missing the cut last week at Torrey Pines and not playing particularly well at the Tournament of Champions to start the year. That said, it was here at Pebble in 2021 where the Spieth turn-around and hot-run leading into a win at Valero really started. Perhaps Spieth can find some magic and good vibes once again.
Something to monitor over the course of the week will be what’s happening in Saudi Arabia on the Asian Tour, where many of the PGA Tour’s best have chosen to compete this week instead.
While I wouldn’t say Saudi is holding the better event this week, given the rich history of Pebble Beach, there’s no doubt that the stronger field will be competing simultaneously in the Middle East.
There have been murmurs about deals in which the PGA Tour allows these players to compete at Saudi International if they agree to come play at Pebble Beach in the coming years. Something that could get stirred up and become a talking point throughout this week.
Though the Saudi field is objectively stronger, the field for this week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am is nonetheless an interesting one — filled with an eclectic mix of up-and-coming young golfers and PGA Tour veterans trying to reignite their careers.
One of those vets is former #1 ranked golfer in the world Jason Day, who flirted with victory last week at the Farmer’s Insurance Open. Day showcased shades of his old self, driving the ball beautifully all week and looking very comfortable on and around the greens of Torrey Pines.
Another #1 player in the world, Justin Rose, will tee it up this week at Pebble Beach. Much like Day, Rose clearly found something positive in his game last at the Farmer’s, as he finished T6 and had a legitimate chance to win on Sunday.
Other names that should stand out include: Kevin Kisner, Matt Fitzpatrick, Seamus Power, Ryan Palmer, Matt Kuchar, and Charley Hoffman — just to name a few.
As for some of the younger golfers to keep your eye on this week, Saheeth Theegala is someone that stands out to me for this week.
Theegala finished 6th at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship last summer, and appears to be starting to get comfortable on the PGA Tour — finishing Tied-33rd at the American Express and T-25th at the Farmer’s Insurance Open during this California swing.
Theegala was a very decorated golfer at Pepperdine University, who only just graduated in 2020. It feels like only a matter of time before he becomes a name we regularly see on PGA leaderboards.
A little bit older and more experienced, Aaron Rai of England is another golfer I find myself excited to follow this week at Pebble.
He not only stood out with his two gloves and iron covers last week at Torrey Pines, but Rai demonstrated that he’s a spectacular ball-striker with a ton of fight and determination. I was thoroughly impressed by his final round 72 in the final group at Torrey — good enough for a T6 finish.
To me, Rai just has this sort of blue-collar workman approach to golf that is so easy to root for. He has four top-20 finishes in his last six starts on the PGA Tour, and I think this success can continue at Pebble.