2023 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview, Picks & Analysis
THE first of two successive Marmite events takes place on the PGA Tour this week as Tom Hoge heads to California to defend his title at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am - it is followed next week by the uproarious Phoenix Open.
This week’s tournaments takes place over three courses, with 36 holes being played at the iconic Pebble Beach. The other courses used are Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula.
This is one of the most spectacular parts of California but the pace of play in this tournament is funereal. The reason for that is the amateurs. It is not unusual for 18 holes to take almost six hours to complete as the likes of Bill Murray strut their stuff for the benefit of the TV cameras. Look out, too for former Real Madrid and Wales footballer Gareth Bale, who is a proper golfer.
With all these distractions going on, there are a numbers of top players who will always opt to give this week a miss.
But last year’s tournament was a cracker, with Hoge surging past Jordan Spieth. Seven players shared the lead at some point during the final round but Hoge came out on top after nearly holing out from the fairway at the 16th to catch Spieth, who then dropped a shot at the par-three 17th as Hoge holed a 20-footer for another birdie. He then closed out with a par to secure the trophy.
The 33-year-old had been runner-up twice in his previous 202 starts on the PGA Tour, most recently at The American Express two weeks earlier.
With the win, Hoge earned his first trip to Augusta National for The Masters, along with a two-year exemption and a cheque for $1,566,000.
“It's awesome,” Hoge said. “I've worked through so many hard times. I'm almost a little in shock,” Hoge said. “It's been so long since I won anything that I forgot how to celebrate.”
Hoge, who played college golf at TCU, has been on the PGA Tour since 2015. It has been a rollercoaster ride since Pebble Beach, with Hoge missing 10 cuts.
Thomas Detry, of Belgium, has enjoyed a highly promising start to his PGA Tour career. He finished second in Bermuda and has three other top-15 finishes to his name in his first six starts. He was tied 26th at the American Express with rounds of 69, 66, 67 and 68. If he has a weakness it is with the putter in his hands. It is difficult to believe that Detry is still looking for his maiden win as a professional.
US Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick is also in action. It is hard to believe that Fitzpatrick is a fan of the pro-am format but the key thing is that all three of these golf courses are made for his game. Don’t be surprised to see him contend.
(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)
It was won in 2016 by Vaughn Taylor, in 2017 by Jordan Spieth, in 2018 by Ted Potter Jr, in 2019 by Phil Mickelson, in 2020 by Nick Taylor, in 2021 by Daniel Berger and last year by Tom Hoge.
Garrick Higgo enjoyed a sensational year in 2021, winning twice on the DP World Tour and claiming his first victory on the PGA Tour. But he struggled horribly throughout 2022. The left-hander is one of the biggest hitters in the game but missed a lot of fairways last season. He finally seems to have harnessed all that power and it is beginning to pay off. He played well at the recent American Express Championship - that could well be the result he needed to get his promising career back on track.
The tournament is hosted by Pebble Beach (par 72, 6,816 yards), Spyglass Hill (par 72, 7,035 yards) and Monterey Peninsula (par 71, 6,958 yards). Pebble Beach is used for 36 holes. It is one of the most famous courses on the planet, running alongside the Pacific Ocean. It is a classic layout, featuring small greens and many pot bunkers. The par-five 18th, with the Pacific running down the left, is a spectacular finishing hole.
Matthew Fitzpatrick. These courses are made for his game
Players to Follow:
Matthew Fitzpatrick. Has the game to win here
Thomas Detry. Loving life in America
Garrick Higgo. Hugely impressive ball striker
Adam Long. Making good progress
Nick Watney. Looking to recapture past glories
Ryan Palmer. Still grinding it out
Greyson Sigg. Could have a big future
Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at Golfbreaks.com.
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