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PGA Tour preview: AT&T National Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Preview – PGA Tour — AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – Pebble Beach Golf Links (host) – Pebble Beach, California –

This week’s PGA Tour event – AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – features a three-course rotation with scenic Pacific Ocean views and a mix of professional and celebrity amateur golfers.

The four-round event has a field of 156, which will be cut to low 60 professionals and ties after 54 holes. Pebble hosts the final round.

The host course is Pebble Beach Golf Links (par 72, 6,816 yards), but players also navigate Spyglass Hill Golf Club (72/6,833) and Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club (72/6,900). Pebble is the shortest course on the PGA Tour, but it also has the smallest greens.

This week’s field features defending champion Phil Mickelson, a four-time champion at Pebble since 1998, and Dustin Johnson, who has two victories here. International players Jason Day, Graeme McDowell (who won his U.S. Open at Pebble Beach), Aaron Baddeley and Matt Jones are expected to contend.

The tournament dates back to 1937 when Sam Snead captured the title.

On the celebrity side, look for National Football League quarterbacks to earn some air time with Aaron Rogers, Tom Brady and a late-entry for Peyton Manning, fresh off his Super Bowl appearance. Others in the field include hockey great Wayne Gretzsky, ESPN’s Chris Berman and musicians Darius Rucker and Kid Rock.

2013 Results:

  • Brandt Snedeker (19-under) rallied with four rounds in the 60s to win the title by two shots. He had been runner-up to Mickelson the week prior in Phoenix. Chris Kirk used a third-round 64 to help him end up runner-up. Kevin Stadler, Jimmy Walker, James Hahn all finished T-3 at five shots behind. Day and Patrick Reed logged Top 10s.

Look for long hitters to fare well again this week with all three courses playing less than 7,000. Golf Channel has television coverage all week with CBS Sports closing out the end of the weekend coverage.

FANTASY: With his history at this venue, Johnson is a must play this week, but also take Walker and Kirk. Walker won the Sony Open in Hawaii and has three Top 10s at Pebble. Take Baddeley historically plays well here with his putting ability. He has Top 6 efforts in his last two of his last three starts at Pebble. He was T-12 last year.

BETTORS: Day is 10-to-1 odds at www.skybet.com and for good reason. Day has Top 15s in seven straight worldwide starts including a T-2 at the Farmers Insurance Open. He also has two Top 6 finishes at Pebble. For a proven winner, take DJ (12-1) who won the WGC-HSBC Champions in November in China. He has been off since a T-6 in Hawaii, so he’s fresh. For the value, consider Walker at 25-1 odds. He has three Top 10s at Pebble in his last three visits.

Other Golf News:

  • The Champions Tour tees it up this week at the Allianz Championship. Rocco Mediate won here last year in his Champions Tour debut, but Bernhard Langer is the overall betting favorite at 3 1/2-1.
  • Mickelson has a run of 1,053 weeks inside the Top 150 in the Official World Golf Rankings. That’s the longest active streak. Phil ranks 4th in the world heading into Pebble Beach.
  • Richard Sterne is defending champion at the Joburg Open, which tees off the 2014 version this week in South Africa. Charl Schwartzel, at 3 ½-1, is the overall betting favorite.
  • The London Golf Club will host the European Tour’s Volvo Match Play in October. McDowell is the defending champion.