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Fantasy Cheat Sheet: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

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I really have no desire to watch Kid Rock play golf. Fall off a Pacific cliff while attempting to swing a club? To quote the movie Django Unchained, “Gentlemen, you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.”

And if we’re involving musicians and movie stars whose talent on the links is questionable at best, it must be time for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

What’s not to love about this tournament? Split between three beautiful courses (Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill, Monterey Peninsula) for the first 54-holes when pros and amateurs will be paired off prior to a cut, the scenery alone is entertaining. Although without Bill Murray in the celebrity field, I do feel a void that cannot be filled unless surfer Kelly Slater performs some kind of trick shot while riding a killer wave.

The professional field includes a lineup of past champions, such as last year’s winner Brandt Snedeker or Phil Mickelson, who will be looking for win No. 5 at this tournament.

With three days of play at different courses each day, and the courses of unequal par, any fantasy owners in leagues that require day-to-day changes should be aware of how each course plays, but also not be scared off by a higher score on one day. Ride your selection like Slater does a pipeline, and let’s take a look at some of the rocky dangers out there on the way to euphoria. It’s Risk, Reward, Ruin.

RISK

Recent form has changed how many may view several of my risky selections, but by no means does that mean don’t use them. Rather, it’s sort of a “buyer beware” tag that must be read before indulgence. In fact, I have no problem running out any of these five this week, and two actually do make many of my lineups.

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Brandt Snedeker

As I outlined, Snedeker is the defending champion, and if you’ve read this column in past weeks, you’d know I’m still high on Snedeker despite his slow start to this season. Recently, he said he is 100 percent healthy after the freak knee injury suffered last November. It’s taken time for Snedeker to get going this year, unlike last, when he blistered courses for six straight weeks, culminating in a win at Pebble. He isn’t likely to duplicate that this week, but his touch with the flat stick means he can’t be discounted if everything begins clicking with his now-healed lower body.

Phil Mickelson

Lefty is one of those guys who can play bad for a couple weeks and will give us a quote such as, “I feel like my game is coming around and I’m really driving the ball well. I’m just not scoring well.” One week he’s off the radar and the next he wins a tournament. This could set up like 2012 when Mickelson performed ho-hum at the Waste Management Phoenix Open then won at Pebble Beach. And since the four-time Pebble champion has historically played well here even regardless of victory, there’s little to shy from. Oh, except for that back issue, which did allow him to play four days in Phoenix. There’s your risk.

us-open-mcdowell

Graeme McDowell

This will be McDowell’s first start of the calendar year and his first since early December. He’s played well in two unofficial PGA Tour events and well at the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in November. Now he returns to the site of his only major championship title, the 2010 U.S. Open. But he hasn’t played Pebble Beach since then, and he’s only played the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on one occasion—  2006 when he missed the cut. I don’t like that he tends to hover near even-par and doesn’t shoot particularly low, especially for consecutive days. He’s a solid golfer to say the least, just don’t let the U.S. Open win fool you.

Jim Furyk

If Furyk can eliminate the one high round he shoots at this tournament, which typically occurs as the course rotation does, you could be looking at a top-10 finish. The last two years, it was a round in the mid-70’s that ballooned his finish. Even back in 2007, when he finished T6 at 11-under, it was a 76 on Saturday that ruined the 67, 65 and final-round 69 he put together. But seriously, how solid is Furyk’s game? He’s had a Hall of Fame career and even at 43-years old keeps posting strings of top-10 finishes.

wi-charlie-091010-640x360

Charlie Wi

This could be one of those “horse for the course” picks, but I get it if you don’t use him. He missed the cut last week and he’s been moderately successful in the weeks prior. But then you look at his history at Pebble Beach and you just wonder how it clicks as well as it does for him there. A T16 last year, solo second in 2012, and a host of other strong rounds mixed in throughout the years. And, yes, in his second-place finish he shot a Monterey Peninsula course-record 61 on the opening day. I may go for broke on Monterey with him and switch for other rounds to someone stable like Jimmy Walker, who has been just as much a horse for the course in his career (T3 last year, T9 twice before that).

REWARD

I’m not sure why Graham DeLaet isn’t playing this week, but given that Snedeker scored second at the WMPO last year and walked out of Pebble with a win the week after, the Canadian would be as close to a sure thing this week with his recent stretch of upward-trending hot play. But since he’s not, four big names takes center stage and one recent winner in this week’s batch of Reward selections.

Mahan Pebble 2014

Hunter Mahan

Sean Foley pupils just seem to need a few tournaments under their belt before they really begin swinging the club well from tee box to green. Like Tiger Woods, Mahan is one such pupil whose mechanics seem to be catching up to his talent. He opened his 2013-14 season in strong fashion at the WMPO and now looks to grab a victory at a spot where he’s had three consecutive years of top-20 finishes. This includes a solo second result in 2011. Last year, Mahan won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships and the Shell Houston Open following weeks of casual results. I like him to finish in the top-10 and to me he’s the most secure golfer to navigate any course irregularities through consistent iron work.

Dustin Johnson

Born on the Eastern coast in South Carolina where he also attended college, Johnson seems to be at home on courses where the wind can blow and views of the ocean can be see. He already has a win in his first start of the season (World Golf Championships-HSBC CHampions), and he finished T6 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions after a month break so there’s zero worry now with this being the first tournament he’s played since the first week of January. Johnson may be the longest driver on Tour and has really compartmentalized his height into a consistent approach near the greens. Oh, by the way, he’s also a two-time champion at Pebble Beach (’09, ’10) and has a T5 (’12) since then. He’s my pick to win, yet again.

Jason Day

Though he has just one PGA Tour win to his name, Day has developed a reputation as a high-stakes player. If it’s a major, Day is usually in contention. And while this isn’t a major, what it does tell you is the Aussie is supremely close to being an every-day elite golfer. He finished sixth last year at 13-under and finished T14 in his go-round in ’09. He also didn’t miss a single cut last year and finished T2 at the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks ago at Torrey Pines.

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Jordan Spieth

Spieth showed the golf world he should not be taken lightly by finishing second at the Hyundai TOC in January. He missed the cut at the Sony Open before putting together a top-20 at the Farmers despite a sore ankle. Now properly rested, Spieth is ready to tackle the course where he finished T22 in his second Tour start. He could get white hot any time and obliterate any notion of a sophomore slump.

Patrick Reed

Reed keeps building off of last year’s dream run to the FedEx Cup finale. If you haven’t read anything about him, I’ll spare the recap, but it’s still phenomenal to think how the former NCAA champion at Augusta State has put together two wins in such a short span of time with a wife as his caddy and Monday qualifiers as last year’s best friend. We’re now three tournaments removed from the site of his second victory at the Humana Challenge, but Reed shows no signs of slowing down. He finished T19 last week after a week to rest his ribs and he’s been such a great scorer recently it could be near impossible to leave him off a lineup this week for fear he could go super low once again. He shot 12-under last year, good for T7 in his debut at Pebble Beach.

RUIN

Many times, this Ruin bit is really for fantasy leagues such as Golf Channel’s where your Group 4 could have several names you’re unfamiliar with and you think “Oh hell, I’ll just take this guy.” It could be those little decisions that cost several hundred thousand in fictional winnings, especially through the course of year. Don’t think of any pick as a throwaway because history can tell you a lot. And a missed cut gets you nowhere fast.

George McNeill

Ranked 294th in the world, McNeill hung a T7 in his first start of the season at the Frys.com Open. But since he’s had a string of subpar outcomes, including a missed cut last week. At Pebble Beach in 2012, the year he won the Puerto Rico Open, he missed the cut, as he did the year before. Two MC’s in two tries? You can do much better.

Chris Stroud

Stroud just turned 31 a couple days ago and ranks 84th in the world. With T3 finishes twice this year and two-20’s, including last week’s WMPO, he may still have a solid career and get that first Tour victory. But Pebble Beach hasn’t been kind to Stroud. He’s missed the cut the last four years since a T6 in 2009 broke a string off two MC’s before that.

ogilvy pebble 2014

Geoff Ogilvy

There have been a couple times over the past year where Ogilvy, a seven-time champion, has resembled the golfer of his prime (mustache excluded). But to this point this season, he has missed two cuts and been a non-factor. A T29 at the WMPO last week was nice and netted him a little money, but with MC’s in two of his last three trips to Pebble, there’s nothing to suggest picking him is anything other than a tip of the cap to his career standing, not his current form.

J.J. Henry 

Henry has missed his last two cuts, which is a significant trend downward with seven tournaments already under his belt this season. Last year at Pebble, he finished T69, and the year before missed the cut. And aside from a T15 finish in 2011, he has missed the cut five other times with no standout rounds dating back to the beginning of his career. 

Vijay Pebble 2014

Vijay Singh

Looking back on history, Singh has had one truly good Tournament at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. That came in 2008 when he finished second in a playoff. But since then the 34-time Tour winner has done nothing of note, other than hover around the cutline. At 50, his best years are undoubtedly behind him.

As always, you can find me on Twitter @bricmiller if you want to talk about the tournament or if you have any fantasy lineup inquiries. Good luck!

This week’s picks

Yahoo!

A: P. Mickelson (S), P. Reed

B: H. Mahan (S), D. Johnson (S), J. Day, J. Spieth

C: C. Wi (S), J. Walker

(Last week: 184 points; Winter segment: 860 points; Rank: 3,508)

PGATour.com

D. Johnson, J. Day, H. Mahan, J. Spieth

(Last week: 535 points; Season: 1,909; Rank: 4,268)

Golf Channel

Group 1: D. Johnson

Group 2: P. Reed

Group 3: C. Wi

Group 4: T. van Aswegen

(Last week: $726,764; Season: $2,438,239; Mulligan: $63,115; Rank: 10,133)

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Brian Miller is a sports writer of over eight years and his work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, Miami Herald and Tallahassee Democrat. He's a fantasy golf nut and his golf novel will be published in spring 2014. You may find him on Twitter @bricmiller.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. yo!

    Feb 4, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    This is the one golf tournament where the amateurs are the attractions and draw and the pros are the supporting cast. Unless you’re tiger or phil, people are there to watch and be entertained by the entertainers.

    • Brian Miller

      Feb 5, 2014 at 12:59 am

      I don’t think that’s entirely correct; I’d still place the majority of the draw on the pros, but the interaction between celebs and pros is certainly unique in that they have to focus on playing well while at the same time entertain and not be distracted by antics (see: anything Bill Murray does ever). That said, there’s definitely an extra benefit to purchasing a ticket knowing you’ll get to see celebs. I just wish the amateur field was stronger. Quite weak IMO.

      • yo!

        Feb 5, 2014 at 2:27 pm

        I’m not discounting the pros. I think people who go want to see both the pros and celebs. The interesting thing about this tournament is that the pros are playing with and next to the amateurs throughout their rounds as opposed to a separate pro-am day which doesn’t count much for the pros.

    • steve simonds

      Feb 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      i would completely agree. i go every year and no one in our pavilion really cares who WINS the pro-am but if they get to see enough of the celebrity they came out for. golf is definitely secondary.

      • Brian Miller

        Feb 5, 2014 at 3:37 pm

        What do you think of the celeb field this year?

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News

Takeaways from LMPD press conference, Scheffler arrest videos

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If you weren’t able to tune in, here are our key takeaways from the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Tuesday morning press conference regarding the investigation into Scottie Scheffler’s May 17 arrest.

The press conference featured Louisville mayor Craig Greenberg and police chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel. Neither Greenberg nor Gwinn-Villaroel took any questions from the media after speaking.

The press conference is viewable on Golf Channel.

1. The charges against Scottie Scheffler are not being dropped

Despite media speculation earlier this week, Scheffler’s case will continue forward. Echoing a sentiment expressed by the mayor, Gwinn-Villaroel stated, “We respect the judicial process, and we will allow the courts to proceed.”

2. Arresting office detective Bryan Gillis’ body-worn camera was not on and he was disciplined

Gwinn-Villaroel referred to this as a procedural violation and stated he has received corrective action.

“Detective Gillis did not have his body-worn camera operational ready,” Gwinn-Villaroel said, “Our officer has received corrective action for his policy violation. We respect the judicial process, and we will allow the courts to proceed.”

The specifics of the “corrective action” were not discussed.

3. Two videos released and what they show

The department released a pair of videos — one from a fixed camera across the street, the other from a patrol car. You can view the videos here.

This portion of the video appears to show Scheffler attempting to pull into the club, Gillis obstructing his progress, and what followed.

The second video shows Scheffler passing near a police cruiser in handcuffs.

At the request of the Louisville attorney’s office, no other video will be released until the legal process concludes.

4. What Scheffler’s lawyer is saying in response

Steven Romines, Scottie Scheffler’s attorney states, “Scottie Scheffler didn’t do anything wrong. We’re not interested in a settlement. It will either be dismissed or we will go to trial.”

Scheffler is charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, criminal mischief, reckless driving, and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.

Scottie Scheffler’s arraignment is scheduled for June 3 in Louisville.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Wedge Stamping Caviar: “The Traditional” Edition

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Pop open a tin of the finest beluga, GolfWRXers…But really, it’s less jelly-like substance, more richness of intrigue than salt-cured roe at Wedge Stamping Caviar as we present to you some of the finest instances of hammer-and-stamp work on the PGA Tour we spotted over the past couple of weeks.

Grab your mother-of-pearl spoon and dig in — with restraint, please. And be sure to check out the rest of our tour photo galleries when you’re done.

Patrick Reed with a fine articulation of what we’re calling “The Traditional” wedge stamping: First and last initials, usually in white or black. 

Here’s The Traditional on Keith Mitchell’s Mizuno T22 wedge as well as a slab o’ wedge tape positioned to raise CG.  

Tyler Duncan’s Traditional stamping on his Vokey SM10 also includes a note about head weight in Sharpie. 

The Traditional, again, this time for Cam Smith on his Vokey SM10 in Jet Black.  

Jason Dufner’s Cobra’s SB wedge bears his initials, JD.

A variation on The Traditional, Lee Hodges’ initials are surrounded by “RTR,” as is usually the case on his wedges — Roll Tide Roll!

Phil Mickelson’s PM Grind wedge has a saucy little 64 stamped on the toe and a slab of lead near the toe peak. 

John Rahm’s Callaway Jaws Forged wedge featured the motto of his LIV Golf squad, Legion XIII.

John Daly’s Sub 70 wedge is superb, featuring the logo of his alma mater, the University of Arkansas. WPS! 

Check out our tour photo galleries here.

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Morning 9: Scheffler’s arrest to be investigated | LIV team finale venue revealed | Charles Schwab photos

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as day one of the Charles Schwab Challenge gets underway.

1. Scheffler arrest to be investigated for policy violations

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Following Scheffler’s arrest at the PGA Championship, Mayor Craig Greenberg acknowledged that detective Bryan Gillis didn’t have his body camera activated during the incident. According to Louisville Metro police policy, officers must turn on their body cameras before “engaging in all law enforcement activities and encounters.” At a weekly press conference on Tuesday, Greenberg said questions remain on why Gillis didn’t have the camera on.”

  • “I think that’s critically important that we do that [investigate], not just in high profile events like took place on Friday, but on a regular basis,” Greenberg said. “And if policies are not being followed, there will be transparency about that. There will be action taken.”
  • “Greenberg added that Louisville Metro police chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel would address the matter later in the week, including if the Professional Standards Unit investigation—Louisville’s internal affairs arm tasked with investigating policy breaches—will be involved.”
Full piece.

2. LIV names site for team final

Field Level Media report…”The LIV Golf League will host its 2024 team championship event Sept. 20-22 at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas, the organization announced Wednesday…”

  • “Our LIV Golf players are looking forward to playing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with its great golf tradition,” LIV Golf commissioner and CEO Greg Norman said. “Texas is legendary for producing and hosting great golfers who set a high bar while competing for championships.”
  • “The season-ending event will mark the Dallas-area debut for LIV Golf. The private Maridoe Golf Club measures 7,817 yards. Jordan Spieth, Will Zalatoris and golf legend Lee Trevino are among the members there.”
Full piece.

3. 16-year-old Kris Kim to play British Masters

BBC report…”Sixteen-year-old English amateur Kris Kim will make his debut on Europe’s DP World Tour at the British Masters in August.”

  • “Surrey-based Kim, the son of South Korean former LPGA player Suh Ji-hyun, became the youngest player to make the cut on the PGA Tour since 2015 at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson in Texas earlier this month.”
  • “The teenager had five birdies and an eagle in a three-under-par opening 68 in McKinney before finishing 65th overall.”
  • “The British Masters will be hosted by six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo at The Belfry from 29 August to 1 September.”
Full piece.

4. Spieth details Xander’s speed gains

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”But Spieth said Wednesday at the Charles Schwab Challenge that there was one aspect of Schauffele’s improvement that has largely gone unnoticed – but, clearly, paid off in a big way.”

  • “He’s looked to add speed,” Spieth said, “but did it very methodically, very quietly, very in the dark.
  • “It’s been amazing watching him go after the tournament rounds – like on Thursday, Friday, Saturday – and he’ll go to the workout trailer and hit a heavy gym session after the round. It’s not common out here. There’s a few guys that will do it, but it’s still not common. Everybody goes before now; 10, 12 years ago, half the field went before, now everyone does.
  • “But he’s going after and hitting these heavy workouts with a goal in mind that he thought would gain a slight advantage. He already had a lot of speed, and he did it while maintaining his consistency and his short game, and it just allowed him to hit shorter clubs into greens, which, maybe over the course of four rounds, being a shot or two. The way he approached that patiently is extremely inspiring.”
Full piece.

5. Stanford wins NCAA women’s golf title

AP report…”Kelly Xu went undefeated in match play for the second straight year and the rest of Stanford followed her lead Wednesday, beating UCLA in the title match for its second NCAA championship in the three years.”

  • “Rachel Heck delivered the final point in a 3-2 victory and the celebration was on for Stanford, the No. 1 team and the top seed going into match play.”
  • “We never take anything for granted,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “We’re privileged to be in this position. We talk a lot about staying patient, staying grateful and enjoying the moment. These are so hard to win.”
Full piece.

6. Spieth contests ‘false’ PGA Tour narrative

John Turnbull for Bunkered…”Jordan Spieth has dismissed claims that the PGA Tour is in a ‘bad place’, as questions surface over a deal with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.”

  • “But Spieth has hit back at ‘untrue’ notions about the PGA Tour, whilst remaining optimistic about the process.”
  • “I think the narrative that things are in a bad place and are moving slowly… are untrue,” he said, speaking ahead of the Charles Schwab Challenge.
  • “I know that it’s false, actually. Things are actually moving positively from both sides. I think ultimately, we’ll end up in a place where professional golf is maybe the best that it’s ever been.
  • “I think both sides believe that. From what I do know, it’s cordial, there’s open dialog, and it’s moving along at the pace that it’s moving along. And anything else that’s said about it is just, I just know to be false.
  • “So, I’m very optimistic I think is what I would say out of all of it.
  • “I think that’s starting to resonate amongst players as they’re able to get more and more information on the matter and it will continue to get more and more information over the coming months.”
Full piece.

7. Photos from the Charles Schwab Challenge

  • Check out all of our galleries from this week’s event!
Full Piece.
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