Jon Rahm nearly did it again. He was sitting in second place behind Sam Ryder heading into the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open but a 74 on Sunday ended his dream of three wins in a row. Max Homa shot a closing round 66 to take the title by two strokes over surging Keegan Bradley. Homa played consistent golf throughout the weekend at Torrey before surging to the top of the leaderboard on Sunday. This is Max’s first PGA Tour victory since becoming a father at the end of October. Torrey Pines seems to be a special place for first time father’s like when Jon Rahm won the U.S. Open there in 2021. Collin Morikawa scored his second Top 5 finish of the 2023 calendar year at the Farmers. Another name you should expect to see on a lot of leaderboards this season is Sahith Theegala, finished fourth this weekend and already his fourth Top 10 finish this season. Jason Day does it again at the Farmers, scoring his fourth Top 10 finish at this event in his last six starts. Enough of about last week, let's move onto one of the marquee courses on the PGA Tour schedule, Pebble Beach.
The Pebble Beach Pro-Am is another one of those special events where the tournament is played over three different courses and there is no cut until after the third round. I’ve said this repeatedly but when you get an extra round from all your golfers, you can afford to take more risk in your lineups. I would definitely lean more towards constructing a stars and scrubs lineup.
Let’s talk about the courses. We’ve got Pebble Beach Golf Links (Par 72 – 6,972 yards), Monterey Peninsula (Par 71 – 6,957 yards) and Spyglass Hill (Par 72 – 7,041 yards). You’ll notice that these courses are rather short and these players can go low but that is almost completely weather dependent. This weekend looks to be pretty gray with cloud cover most of the weekend. There is rain in the forecast, mostly in the mornings over the weekend. The winds will fluctuate throughout the weekend ranging from below five to the mid teens. When you see conditions like these, I’m going to lean more towards experienced players at Pebble Beach because they've played through this before.
All of these courses have a few things in common. They are all short for PGA tour standards, they all have tons of water and hazards, they all have poa annua greens and most importantly they are all second shot golf courses. That means we will weigh Strokes Gained: Approach more than usual. We need players who can fire the ball close. We will see these players miss greens which means we are also looking for good scramblers which is why you saw Tom Hoge take it down last year. He finished last season ranked 16th on Tour in Scrambling. This will be weighed even more this weekend because the weather could cause a lot of balls to go wayward.
One more thing you must remember about this event, the celebrity factor. The speed of the game slows down considerably and a lot of these players are not used to it. That's another reason why I'm usually hesitant to roster new guys at Pebble. You've also got a lot of big name celebrities playing with these pros which gives you another level of distraction. Bill Murray is a staple of this event and makes it all about him. Just make sure you check out which type of celebrity is playing with your golfer, that can play a big role in determining the winner this weekend.
Pebble Beach is one of the great public venues in the United States and always a fun weekend of golf. There are not many golf hacks out there that wouldn’t give a full paycheck for a chance to play this track, myself being one of them.
My One and Done Pick will be Trey Mullinax.