Will Jordan Spieth Bounce Back at Pebble Beach?

The advanced stats, recent form, and course history suggest that Patrick Cantlay and Daniel Berger are in a tier of their own coming into this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Cantlay’s finished 3rd and 11th the last two years here, while Berger is the defending champion who also finished 5th the year prior. They’re justifiably the betting favorites.

But who might emerge from the rest of the pack and contend at Pebble?

Jordan Spieth (+1600; $10,300 on DraftKings)

I like Spieth as both a bet to win outright and as a DraftKings play this week.

It feels like Jordan’s either just going to have “it” or not this week at Pebble. Certainly it could go very wrong very quickly if Spieth continues playing as he has of late…

But if you guess correctly on Spieth finding some solid form, there’s a great chance you get paid off in both markets — particularly in daily fantasy, where it feels like most people will avoid Spieth in their lineups.

I’m absolutely willing to gamble on Spieth turning around his recent poor play and competing well at a course he loves and has won at in the past.

Spieth’s course history at Pebble Beach rivals that of both Cantlay and Berger. It’s possible he even just musters up his B-game and finishes in the top-10. It’s something we’ve seen at Pebble over the past decade with Jason Day, who boasts eight top-11 finishes here in the past nine years.

While there are not any statistical indicators to make you think Spieth is set for a bounce back week, I’m willing to consider some other factors going into this week:

(1) Spieth Getting Over a Stomach Bug

Reports emerged last week about Jordan Spieth having some sort of bacterial infection, which clearly hampered him during his two rounds at Torrey Pines before missing the cut. From what it sounds like, this was a serious issue that had been giving Spieth problems for some time now — part of the problem being that they weren’t sure what the cause of his sickness was prior to going to a hospital and getting some testing done.

According to Spieth, he believes that the bacterial infection is in the past now and he expects to feel 100% healthy come Thursday.

(2) Nothing but Good Vibes at an Event Spieth Enjoys

We know Spieth arrives at Pebble Beach with good vibes year after year. I mean, how couldn’t you after finishing top-10 there every other season?

But even more than the on-course success at Pebble, I think Spieth really loves the Pro-Am aspect that allows him to get paired up with his buddy and country music star, Jake Owen.

I expect that playing with Jake Owen for three days at Pebble is going to help Spieth relax and just have a bit of fun hitting golf shots — not over-thinking any technical aspects of his golf swing that has looked a bit differently lately.

Heck, Spieth could be cashing a check by playing in Saudi Arabia this week. Instead he’s gearing up for 6-hour rounds at Pebble Beach with amateurs — ideally to have a good time and play well.

(3) Spieth’s Game Might Not Be as Far Off as People Think?

The recent on-paper finishes are bad for Jordan Spieth. There’s no denying it.

However, I heard an encouraging little nugget of information during Patrick Cantlay’s pre-tournament interview earlier this week.

Cantlay informed the media that him and Spieth played a competitive practice round together at Pebble, in which Cantlay beat Spieth by a single shot. I know this is such a minute thing to read into, but this tells me that Spieth’s game really can’t be far off at the moment if he’s scoring about the same as Patrick Cantlay.

All I’m saying is that I was encouraged to hear this insight.

Closing Thoughts

It would not be entirely shocking to see Jordan Spieth play poorly and miss the cut this week at Pebble Beach, but I’m going to take a gamble on Spieth and just hope that the reasons mentioned above — as well as the “horses for courses” logic — wins out over recent form.

At the same time, I wouldn’t fault anyone this week for choosing safety in guys like Cantlay or Berger, or potentially backing some guys with similar odds as Spieth to win — Justin Rose, Jason Day, Cameron Tringale, Seamus Power — who come into the week riding some hot play.

Thanks for reading and happy golf.

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“Strokes Gained: Narrative” is a PGA Tour betting and DFS blog aiming to supplement golf data and stats with storylines and humor.

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Nick DeMott

Nick DeMott

Golf Writer + Naturalist + Old Man at Heart

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