Pebble Beach Pro-Am 2024 Tips: Spieth one of three for Pebble

 | January 29 | 

18 mins read

jamie worsley pga tour

The PGA Tour continues to take a battering, as it looks like Tyrrell Hatton is joining LIV Golf imminently. However, the golf is still writing it's own stories and we have another elevated event taking place this week, as the Pebble Beach Pro-Am takes place on the iconic Californian course. Jamie Worsley is back with his comprehensive preview and three each way tips for the weekend. 

Pebble Beach Pro-Am Betting Tips

  • 3 pts Jordan Spieth each way (1/5 - 8 places) - 16/1 
  • 2.5 pts Justin Thomas each way (1/5 - 8 places) - 22/1 
  • 1 pt Wyndham Clark each way (1/5 - 6 places) - 80/1

It’s hard to believe that we are only four weeks into the new PGA Tour season, as there have been enough winning storylines to last a year.

Matthieu Pavon added his name to that list at Torrey Pines last week, belying what has previously proven to be a critical lack of experience to win the Farmers Insurance Open in taking fashion.

The Frenchman – who only broke his DP World Tour duck at the end of last year in Spain, following eight years as a pro – entered the final round trailing Germany’s Stephan Jaeger by a shot, in an all-European top 3 alongside Dane, Nicolai Hojgaard, and proceeded to move himself into the driver’s seat with an excellent and unflustered front-nine 33.

He continued to look good on the back nine, getting himself out of trouble with little fuss when his ball-striking led him astray, but a short par miss on the 17th gave several players hope. After finding the bunker off-the-tee on the 18th, then laying up into the thick rough, he looked all at sea.

It was at this moment, where he could’ve easily lost his head completely, that Pavon produced one of, if not the best shot of the week, muscling his approach over the water to leave himself 7ft for birdie. Duly dispatching the birdie putt, he became the first French winner on the PGA Tour on just the third start of his rookie season.

The Frenchman has now played his way into this week’s event, as an elite 80-man field heads to Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am – the second Signature Event of the year.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Having made its debut on tour in 1937, the Pebble Beach Pro Am is one of the oldest events still played on the PGA Tour.

Like the previous two weeks in California, this is our third straight multi-course tournament; though in a change to the usual format, it will be played across just two courses this year rather than three.

The course with which the event is now synonymous - the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links – is the main stage for the tournament and has been used in every renewal since 1947. It will share hosting duties with the also renowned Spyglass Hill Golf Course – which itself has been used in every renewal since 1978 – over the first two rounds, before the field returns to Pebble Beach for the final two rounds. It is the same two-course setup as that used in 2021, when Monterrey Peninsula CC was excluded in a covid-enforced change.

As with the first Signature Event of the year, The Sentry, there will be no cut this week, with all eighty players competing over the four days.

Sam Snead won the first two editions of the event in 1937/1938 before going on to win a further two times, in 1941 and 1950.

Only two players have won this title more times than him: Mark O’Meara (1985, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1997) and Phil Mickelson (1998, 2005, 2007, 2012, 2019). Whilst Jack Nicklaus (1967, 1972, 1973) and Johnny Miller (1974, 1987, 1994) are tied together on three wins apiece.

Other notable former winners of the Pebble Beach Pro Am include Ben Hogan (1949), Tom Watson (1977, 1978), Hale Irwin (1984), Payne Stewart (1999), Tiger Woods (2000), Dustin Johnson (2009, 2010) and Jordan Spieth (2017).

Last five winners:

  • 2023 – Winner: Justin Rose (-18); runners-up: Brendon Todd, Brandon Wu (-15)
  • 2022 – Winner: Tom Hoge (-19); runner-up: Jordan Spieth (-17)
  • 2021 – Winner: Daniel Berger (-18); runner-up: Maverick McNealy (-16)
  • 2020 – Winner: Nick Taylor (-19); runner-up: Kevin Streelman (-15)
  • 2019 – Winner: Phil Mickelson (-19); runner-up: Paul Casey (-16)

Justin Rose successfully converted a 54-hole lead in the event last year to break a four-year winless streak and secure his eleventh win on the PGA Tour. He returns to defend this week.

THE COURSE(S)

This week’s courses:

Pebble Beach Golf Links: 6972-yard par 72; 10x par 4s (331-504 yards), 4x par 5s (516-580 yards), 4x par 3s (106-202 yards)

Spyglass Hills Golf Course: 7041-yard par 72; 10x par 4s (325-476 yards), 4x par 5s (549-595 yards), 4x par 3s (130-203 yards)

Designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant in 1919, Pebble Beach is the star attraction this week and brings a long major championship history to the table. It has hosted the US Open six times (1972, 1982, 1992, 2000, 2010, 2019) and the PGA Championship once, in 1977. Whilst last year it hosted the US Women’s Open on the LPGA for the first time.

In contrast, Spyglass Hill – a 1966 design by Robert Trent Jones Snr that has typically been the most demanding course used in the event – is often described as one of the best golf courses never to host one of golf’s four most coveted championships.

Both of these courses are two of the shortest played all year, and are situated a mere five-minute drive from one another on the Monterrey Peninsula in California, where they share coastline with and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.

Though they align in many ways; with small poa annua greens; continuous and often dramatic elevation changes; and undulating, sloped fairways, they differ greatly in others. Whilst Spyglass Hill is the more challenging test in benign conditions, Pebble does become a different beast if the wind blows.

Pebble Beach is a largely exposed oceanside course, built high up on cliffsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Holes 4-10 are played directly parallel to the ocean and represents one of the best stretches of golf anywhere in the world, with that perilously watery danger returning on the final two holes. Which includes the famous par 5 18th finishing hole; protected by water up the entire left-hand side.

Fairways here are very generous and slope severely, predominantly towards the ocean. Due to the pro-am element of the event, the rough aside the fairways isn’t especially penal, though the huge amount of bunkers (116 on the course to be exact) makes up for this and is waiting to punish you should you miss these large targets off-the-tee.

As detailed, elevation changes are a constant and make approaches difficult into these tiny but slow poa surfaces, which are the smallest on tour. Many are elevated and overall more challenging and interesting than at Spyglass; with several which are severely undulating and plenty which slope heavily from back-to-front. They are again protected by that bunkering, as well as steep false fronts and run-offs.

Spyglass Hill also starts off fairly exposed over the opening five holes but moves into more densely tree-lined territory from there on in.

As the name suggests, it’s a very hilly course, possessing many tightly doglegging holes that are framed by tall Monterrey pine and cypress trees. Fairways are considerably tighter than at Pebble Beach, and although bunkering isn’t as prolific it is strategic, making finding fairways all the more difficult.

The small, elevated greens are quite sloped but more subtle than at its co-host, with deep greenside bunkers offering the most protection.

Each course features four reachable par 5s; potentially drivable par 4s; and a mixture of par 3s, that includes one which is ultra short. With an ideal mixture of similarities and contrasts, the two courses really do compliment each other well for this event.

THE STATS

Key stats:

  • SG: Approach
  • Greens-in-Regulation
  • Proximity from 100-125 yards
  • SG: Putting (poa annua)
  • Par 5 Scoring

With strokes-gained data only recorded from the rounds at Pebble Beach, stats for previous editions of this event are incomplete, and with the added change in the course setup, we can take even less from those numbers than before.

Whilst slow and receptive – even more so with likely conditions bringing more rain – the small greens across both of these courses will still be tricky to hit; especially in the correct spots to leave yourself with the preferred uphill putt on the sloping surfaces. Therefore a high-class iron game, particularly excelling with the wedges in that 100-125 yard range looks the most important asset this week.

A proven ability to putt these tricky, bumpy poa surfaces is always an advantage, with it being of little surprise to find players such as Vaughn Taylor, Brandt Snedeker and Jason Day in possession of positive records in this event.

Finally, all eight par 5s across the two courses are excellent scoring opportunities and I expect taking advantage of these holes to be an important factor in your chances of lifting the trophy on Sunday.

CORRELATING EVENTS (COURSES)

Travelers Championship (TPC River Highlands)

First up is TPC River Highlands and the Travelers Championship. This is another of the shortest courses on tour and similarly to Pebble, has wide fairways and small, usually receptive greens. It ranks closely to this week’s course in most aspects, from average GIR percentages to scrambling difficulty.

Notable correlating form:

Dustin Johnson:

Pebble Beach (1st, 1st) / Travelers (1st)

Jordan Spieth:

Pebble Beach (1st) / Travelers (1st)

Daniel Berger:

Pebble Beach (1st, 5th) / Travelers (2nd, 5th)

Vaughn Taylor:

Pebble Beach (1st, 10th) / Travelers (4th, 9th)

Kevin Streelman:

Pebble Beach (2nd, 6th, 7th) / Travelers (1st, 2nd)

Chez Reavie:

Pebble Beach (2nd) / Travelers (1st, 4th)

Hunter Mahan:

Pebble Beach (2nd, 6th) / Travelers (1st, 2nd, 2nd)

J.B Holmes:

Pebble Beach (2nd) / Travelers (2nd)

Scott Stallings:

Pebble Beach (3rd, 7th) / Travelers (6th, 8th)

Farmers Insurance Open (Torrey Pines)

Though Torrey Pines South is much longer than both of this week’s courses, they do share plenty of similarities. They each have small poa annua greens, strong bunkering and are built on a similar cliffside location. All of which has contributed to strong correlating form between the two events.

Notable correlating form:

Justin Rose:

Pebble Beach (1st) / Farmers (1st)

Brandt Snedeker:

Pebble Beach (1st, 1st) / Farmers (1st, 1st)

Jimmy Walker:

Pebble Beach (1st, 3rd) / Farmers (4th, 4th)

Tom Hoge:

Pebble Beach (1st) / Farmers (5th)

D.A Points:

Pebble Beach (1st) / Farmers (5th, 8th, 9th)

Jason Day:

Pebble Beach (2nd, 4th, 4th, 4th) / Farmers (1st, 1st)

Nick Watney:

Pebble Beach (2nd, 6th, 7th) / Farmers (1st, 4th, 6th)

Scott Stallings:

Pebble Beach (3rd, 5th) / Farmers (1st, 2nd)

J.B Holmes:

Pebble Beach (2nd) / Farmers (2nd, 4th, 6th)

Pat Perez:

Pebble Beach (4th, 7th, 9th) / Farmers (2nd, 4th, 6th, 6th)

Kevin Streelman:

Pebble Beach (2nd, 6th, 7th) / Farmers (3rd)

 

Fortinet Championship (Silverado Resort – North Course)

With its tight tree-lined fairways, the Silverado Resort’s North Course would look a stronger comp for Spyglass Hill than Pebble. However, as a short course, with small(ish) poa annua greens, there is enough to make this fellow Californian course well worth a look for this week’s event.

Notable correlating form:

Brandt Snedeker:

Pebble Beach (1st, 1st) / Fortinet (2nd)

Nick Taylor:

Pebble Beach (1st, 10th) / Fortinet (6th, 9th, 10th)

Maverick McNealy:

Pebble Beach (2nd, 5th) / Fortinet (2nd)

Kevin Streelman:

Pebble Beach (2nd, 6th, 7th) / Fortinet (3rd)

Chez Reavie:

Pebble Beach (2nd) / Fortinet (3rd)

Troy Merritt:

Pebble Beach (4th, 8th) / Fortinet (4th, 7th)

Brendon Todd:

Pebble Beach (2nd) / Fortinet (6th, 9th)

Scott Stallings:

Pebble Beach (3rd, 5th) / Fortinet (6th)

 

RBC Heritage (Harbour Town Golf Links)

On opposite sides of the country but I’m hoping Harbour Town Golf Links can help us in searching out the winner at Pebble Beach this week. It’s another short coastal venue and has the second-smallest greens on tour behind Pebble Beach.

Notable correlating form:

Jordan Spieth:

Pebble Beach (1st) / Heritage (1st)

Graeme McDowell:

Pebble Beach – US Open (1st) / Heritage (1st)

Brandt Snedeker:

Pebble Beach (1st, 1st) / Heritage (1st)

Vaughn Taylor:

Pebble Beach (1st, 10th) / Heritage (3rd, 4th)

Daniel Berger:

Pebble Beach (1st, 5th) / Heritage (3rd)

Patrick Cantlay:

Pebble Beach (3rd, 4th) / Heritage (2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd)

Kevin Streelman:

Pebble Beach (2nd, 6th, 7th) / Heritage (3rd, 6th, 7th)

Maverick McNealy:

Pebble Beach (2nd, 5th) / Heritage (4th)

Brendon Todd:

Pebble Beach (2nd) / Heritage (4th)

Troy Merritt:

Pebble Beach (4th, 8th) / Heritage (3rd, 10th)

 

Bermuda Championship (Port Royal Golf Course)

As another sub-7000-yard course in a coastal location, with generous fairways and elevation changes throughout, Port Royal GC looks a potentially suitable comp for Pebble Beach.

That event is still relatively new on the schedule though form-ties have already started to develop.

Notable correlating form:

Brendon Todd:

Pebble Beach (2nd) / Bermuda (1st)

Seamus Power:

Pebble Beach (9th) / Bermuda (1st)

Denny McCarthy:

Pebble Beach (4th) / Bermuda (4th, 6th)

Matt Jones:

Pebble Beach (5th, 7th, 10th) / Bermuda (4th)

Scott Stallings:

Pebble Beach (3rd, 5th) / Bermuda (5th)

Kevin Yu:

Pebble Beach (7th) / Bermuda (3rd)

Patrick Rodgers:

Pebble Beach (8th) / Bermuda (3rd, 4th)

 

THE WEATHER

There has been a lot of rain in the area in the build up to the event and more is set to fall on Wednesday, which will soften up the course further.

With cool temperatures all week and windy conditions (gusting up to 29mph) over the first two rounds, it could be a testing opening to the event, though the winds are forecast to die down over the weekend.

THE FIELD

Our second Signature Event of the year brings about world #2, Rory McIlroy’s first PGA Tour start of the season, and means we have the top two players in the world teeing it up together for the first time, with world #1, Scottie Scheffler heading the field.

Each of the top 50 in last year’s FedEx Cup are all currently down to appear, which includes nine of the top 10 in the world rankings. However, there could be a small change to that list of players with Tyrrell Hatton imminent in joining LIV.

Justin Rose is the defending champion and one of four former winners in attendance at Pebble Beach, joined by Tom Hoge (2021), Nick Taylor (2020) and Jordan Spieth (2017).

At the opposite end of the experience scale in this event there are ten debutants. These include Scottie Scheffler; last week’s memorable Farmers Insurance Open winner, Matthieu Pavon; and Nick Dunlap will be making his professional debut two weeks after his incredible win in the AmEx.

 

SELECTIONS

Market leaders: Rory McIlroy 8/1, Scottie Scheffler 17/2, Viktor Hovland 12/1, Xander Schauffele 16/1

The tour’s run of three-figure priced winners has to end sometime and with the strength of this field, that time must surely (SURELY) be this week.

Rory is clearly in fine shape after his 2-1 start to the year on the DP World Tour, though with the potential for draw biases and the fact he’s only played this event once, missing the cut in 2018, he doesn’t appeal at the price. The same applies to Scottie Scheffler, whose only prior pro experience of Pebble came with a missed cut in the 2019 US Open.

Xander Schauffele was the best tee-to-green player in the field at Torrey Pines last week and Patrick Cantlay has an excellent record here; the type of record that could bring about an improved performance from his opening starts to the year.

However, there’s a man that stands out most among the market leaders, who is a past winner here and produced his best putting performance in over two years when 3rd on his first start of 2024 in The Sentry, Jordan Spieth. He goes in as this week’s headline selection in California.

3 pts Jordan Spieth each way (1/5 - 8 places) - 16/1 

There were lots of positives to be taken from 2023 for Spieth. He once again went well at Augusta, finishing 4th and recorded several other top 5 performances; going closest when losing out to Matt Fitzpatrick in a playoff at Harbour Town. Ultimately, a year that ends without a win will surely be tinged with disappointment.

The Texan displayed his intent to put that right this year, finishing 3rd in The Sentry four weeks ago. He gained strokes across the board but it was especially encouraging to see him firing again with the putter, where he comfortably ranked 1st on the greens and produced his best putting performance since the 2021 Charles Schwab Challenge.

His irons too looked in good shape there, coming in off the back of an inconsistent year with the clubs in 2023, although when firing he’s a strong wedge player, ranking top 20 between 100-125 yards in 2022. Add in his quality on the par 5s, ranking 12th in par 5 scoring in 2023 and his general creativity, and we have a player who is a good fit for Pebble Beach

Spieth debuted here with a 22nd-place finish in 2013 and in ten following starts, he’s only finished outside the top 25 twice. He won the event in 2017, finished 2nd in 2022 and was 3rd in 2021; generally looking comfortable on these greens.

Not that we need extra reasons but with wins in the Travelers Championship and RBC Heritage, his correlating form is stronger than most and plays a part in one of the more compelling cases from the top of the betting this week.

spieth

2.5 pts Justin Thomas each way (1/5 - 8 places) - 22/1 

After hitting a well-documented flat spot in the middle part of 2023, Justin Thomas now looks close to his best form and can rely on his elite wedge game to record a first win since the 2022 PGA Championship, this week at Pebble Beach.

I do think JT’s struggles last year were slightly overplayed. He started the year hitting the ball well, which helped him on his way to five consecutive top 25s to start the year, including a 4th-place finish in the Phoenix Open. His ball-striking did go awry in the middle part of the year, resulting in that humbling missed cut in the US Open, where he finished fourth-last in the entire field. Though he did start to find his feet again towards the end of the year, finishing 4th in the Fortinet Championship and 3rd in the Nedbank Challenge on the DPWT on his final official starts of 2023.

He made his seasonal debut at the AmEx two weeks ago and was hugely encouraging in 3rd; shooting the best round of the week at the Stadium Course with a 61 in round three and gained strokes in all areas across his two rounds at that main host venue.

Thomas has one of the best wedge games around. Despite his mid-season struggles last year, he still ranked top 20 in approaches from 100-125 yards, although this was still a step down on him leading the tour in this range in 2022. He’s also a proficient par 5 scorer and a sneakily good poa annua putter, gaining strokes on the greens in every start at the Fortinet Championship – where he’s finished inside the top 5 on three occasions - and all but one of his four starts at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Taking that into consideration, it’s perhaps a surprise that he has very limited experience of Pebble Beach; missing the cut on his only start in this event in 2014 and also narrowly missing the cut in the 2019 US Open here.

That is a very small sample size though and with top 5s at the Travelers Championship added to his good record in the Fortinet, Thomas has plenty in his favour that can help him capitalise on his return to form this week.

justin thomas

1 pt Wyndham Clark each way (1/5 - 6 places) - 80/1

2023 US Open winner and one of the most improved players around in recent years, I felt Wyndham Clark was overpriced this week. He hit the ball very well two weeks ago at the AmEx, with his usually trusty putter undoing that good work and has played better here than the bare form figures suggest. He looks well worth chancing at the price.

After his two wins on tour last year, first with a breakthrough PGA Tour title in the Wells Fargo Championship and then following with that US Open win, Clark entered 2024 with more expectation than ever before in his career.

He recovered after a slow start in The Sentry to finish around mid-table in 29th in that limited field and followed with a 39th in the AmEx two weeks ago; shooting under par in all eight rounds so far this year.

The driver did the heavy lifting in the season opener in Hawaii but he put in a more rounded ball-striking performance last time out, ranking 3rd in greens-in-regulation, 10th off-the-tee and 11th in approach for his two rounds at the Stadium Course.

This quality in approach is what enabled Clark to make huge strides on tour last season. He’d previously been a player who did well in all areas bar approach; adding a top 30 ranking in that area to the bag instantly turned him into a PGA Tour winner and major champion.

It’s with these improvements last year that makes his record in the Pebble Beach Pro Am stand out a little more. He’s played the event three times, finishing 18th in 2020 and missing the third-round cut by just one shot in 2019 and 2022; all whilst he was a player who overall still struggled in approach.

Clark gained strokes on the greens in two of those three starts – no surprise for a player whose putter has been his biggest weapon for much of his pro career.

Added positives come from a runner-up finish on another short, hilly, coastal course in Bermuda in 2020, and if hitting the ball as well as he did in La Quinta he could make this price look huge come Sunday evening.

wyndham clark 80-1

You can find all Jamie's latest Golf Betting Tips over on our dedicated golf Insights hub. 

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