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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Jeremy Schilling

Schilling covers golf for RotoWire, focusing on young and up-and-coming players. He was a finalist for the FSWA's Golf Writer of the Year award. He also contributes to PGA Magazine and hosts the popular podcast "Teeing It Up" on BlogTalkRadio.

The PGA Tour moves to Pebble Beach for this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which is one of the toughest events all year to gauge from a fantasy perspective. Some players, like Phil Mickelson and Mark O'Meara, have storied histories there, while some years create complete potluck winners who either ended up on the right side of the weather draw or just had a great week. Three courses muddle the picture even further, as does the fact that some pros like playing with amateurs and celebrities while some would rather stay as far away from it as possible. On top of all that, the pace of play (especially if you're in the celebrity rotation) can be the slowest on Tour all year. General rule of thumb: history may be a good guide this week.

History Lesson

Brandt Snedeker is the defending champion in both the regular tournament and the pro-am, and is strong pick this week. He's 25th on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy. He won by two in 2013 over Chris Kirk, who has since become a PGA Tour winner, winning at The McGladrey Classic last fall. For that reason as well, he's a strong pick. Kirk is 21st in the all-around rankings.

Other recent winners at Pebble include Mickelson in 2012, potluck champ D.A. Points in 2011 and Dustin Johnson in 2009 and 2010.

Johnson already has a win in the 2013-14 season and is comfortable at Pebble (remember he also nearly won the 2010 U.S. Open if it wasn't for some issues early on Sunday). He's first on the PGA Tour in greens in regulation - though there's a bit of a caveat because he's only played in two events, so his stats are based on 144 total holes.

Who Is Playing

Other notables in the field include John Daly (don't pick him, he's too erratic to know what will happen next), Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Hunter Mahan, Vijay Singh and Jordan Spieth.

Be wary of Spieth this week, as he's coming off an ankle injury. His manager says the ankle is much better, but we won't truly have an assessment until he faces real-life conditions on Thursday.

Meanwhile, this is an interesting week to pick Furyk as this is his first start in the 2013-14 PGA Tour season. He failed to get a victory in 2013 but shot 59 at the BMW Championship and had one second- and two third-place finishes on the season. We recommend rolling with him this week, hoping that his accurate tee shots (he was fourth in driving accuracy last year) prevail on three golf courses where it helps to drive it straight.

Mahan was in contention all week last week at the Phoenix Open and finished first in birdies and second in strokes gained-putting.

Sunday Surgers

Michael Thompson, +21 spots
- Thompson, last year's Honda Classic winner, shot a Sunday 67 to get a T19 finish. For the week he finished T10 in greens in regulation.

Justin Hicks, +21 spots
Hicks, who is having a nice start to the season, shot a Sunday 67 as well at the Phoenix Open to also move into a tie for 19th. He concluded the week tied for first in sand saves and tied for second in greens in regulation.

Roberto Castro, +35 spots
One of the biggest Sunday moves belonged to Castro aside: he is going to win soon on Tour, he's just too talented not to who shot a final-round 66 for a 35 spot bump and a T19 finish as well. He was fourth in eagles for the week.