AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Preview and Picks to Win

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Thursday, Feb. 11 – Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010
Pebble Beach (multiple courses)
Golf Channel/CBS

by Evergreen of

The California weather has not cooperated with the PGA players in the early part of the year as rains and cool temps have made getting into the swing of things a bit difficult. Rain is in the forecast again this week for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which could force another 54-hole finish as it did last year. Dustin Johnson came out on top in 2009 as rounds of 65, 69 and 67 were four shots clear of the field and good enough for a soggy win. Johnson is back for a title defense against an unusually strong field for a Pro-Am as several top players look to get a sneak peak of Pebble Beach which will host the U.S. Open later this summer.

Pebble Beach Golf Links is only one of three host courses this week as Spyglass Hill and the Shores course at Monterey Peninsula CC wil also host one round each. Pebble and Spyglass are known commodities in the Tour rotation but Monterey will be hosting a PGA event for only the fourth time overall and the first time since 1977. The Shores replaces Poppy Hills and looks to be a stern test with the par-70 track playing the longest of all three at 6,900 yards.Pebble and Spyglass both play at par-72 and measure right around 6,800 yards. Both courses are in the top half in terms of difficulty from 2009 play but birdies can be had at all courses as the greens are tamed down in terms of speed to help out the celebrities a bit.

Winners can come from anywhere in this event as top stars like Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh have lifted the trophy in the past as well as journeymen like Steve Lowery and Matt Gogel. Patience is a key to success in Pro-Ams and a well balanced game will help as the players will see three distinctly different layouts through the week. Scores could go low as the wet conditions should help players hold greens near the pins and the longer players will have the advantage in the low-roll conditions.

Each week, we takea look at the online golf sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we like to win it all. We’ll pick a short, middle and long odds golfer and breakdown a few head to head matches as well. Here are our picks for the 2010 AT&T Pebble Beach National.

Short Favorite: Dustin Johnson (20 to 1 odds)
This isn’t a blind pick for the defending champ, but it is hard to go wrong with a player that has such a proven track record at a value like 20 to 1. Along with the win last year, Johnson has a T7 in ’08 at Pebble and has played all the courses equally well. Dustin finished 3rd last week and shook off a Saturday 74 with a final-round 66 to carry in some momentum. Why he could win: Balance. Johnson has a nice combo of length and accuracy, ranking 4th in driving distance while coming in at 39th in greens in regulation. That mix has led to 4.71 birdies per round and 66 total birds in just four starts. The length off the tee could come in handy with the soft course condition and he proved he could get it done in the elements last week.

Middle of the Road: Sean O’Hair (28 to 1 odds)
Sean is making his first start since week two but his two starts inHawaii did produce a T4 at the SBS. He struggled in his only other start, but the time off since should have him in the form that brought a T10 finish at the 2009 AT&T. Why he could win: Consistency. O’Hair has a low mistake approach to the game which maximizes his results. In 2009, Sean turned the 21st best birdie average in the 10th best scoring average by limiting big miscues and keeping himself in the hunt. That solid style fits nicely when the circus comes to town in the Pro-Ams. Stat wise, O’Hair is bombing it in 2010, averaging nearly 290 yards off the tee and ranks 4th in par-5 birdie conversions.

Longshot: Hunter Mahan (33 to 1)
In other years, Mahan may be in the 18 to 20 to one range, but he brings a bigger potential payday with the high field strength. Hunter has some success here, finishing 16th and 14th in 2006 and 2007 but hasn’t fared as well since. He’ll look to change that trend and also bounce back from a missed cut at the Northern Trust. Why he could win: Scoring. Mahan was one of the best when it came to the scoring stats in 2009, finishing no worse than 6th in birdie average, scoring average and total birdies. Ranking 7th in total driving and 19th in greens hit looks even better when you factor in the course rotation.

Head to Head Matches (our pick)
*all matches are for entire tournament. Check with your favorite sportsbook for single round matches, updated daily.

Tim Clark (-115) v. Matt Kuchar (-115) (Clark)
Until further notice, always put a little scratch on the best putter on Tour. Clark has the best putting average in 2010 and although the sample size is relatively small, you’d rather be with the guy on the hot streak than against him. While Kuchar is having a great start to the season, Clark is more consistent overall, leading to the edge in scoring average.

Brandt Snedeker (-115) v. J.B. Holmes (-115) (Snedeker)
Here is your classic match between the control player and the bomber. Snedeker may give up 40 yards in distance on some holes, but is light years ahead in the accuracy department. Holmes misses as many fairways as he hits and thats just too streaky to bet on when up against a player that ranks 12th in fairways and also owns the edge in greens hit despite being a ways back to start.

Good Luck!