The AT&T Pro Am at Pebble Beach was about as enjoyable as the near-record-breaking weather we saw all week on the Monterrey Peninsula. I mean, we’re used to watching the pros swinging it in some of the nicest weather around the globe each wintery week, but did we really need San Francisco at sunny and 70s four days in a row?? Not fair, said us, the average viewer from a cold and gray land.
The level of play was stepped up with the perfect conditions, as Brandt Snedeker ultimately broke the record-low (set by himself in 2013) and the record-low to par (set by Mark Calcavecchia and Phil Mickelson). And there were chasers around all weekend, too, keeping the action interesting until Sneds broke off from the pack on the back 9 on Sunday.
All in all, the tournament was great for reasons in addition to Bill Murray telling jokes to the crowd, Larry the Cable Guy hacking it around in a cutoff, and Chis Berman’s entertaining-in-itself swing. And the strength of some of the names up there on the leaderboard this week (mentioned below) added optimism for the season moving forward. Let’s take a look at how we did in perhaps our best week of predictions to date:
PGATour.com: Jimmy Walker (T21/47 points), Brandt Snedeker (Won/500 points), Hunter Mahan (T54/16 points), William McGirt (T21/47 points). Overall Grade – A-
Our first A of the season! It comes thanks in large part to Sneds, who carried both teams on his back. But thanks also to all of our picks playing on Sunday, and especially to William McGirt, as our “sleeper” pick, climbing up to nearly a top 20 – with the T21 finish being his best yet in 2015. Jimmy Walker under performed by his standards, but also earned a decent chunk of points with a T21 finish. Hunter Mahan was the only true disappointment, especially given the quality of names inside the top 10 (Nick Watney, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Pat Perez, Jordan Spieth, Jim Furyk, and Brendon Todd).
Golf Channel: Jimmy Walker (T21), Brandt Snedeker (Won), Michael Thompson (Cut), D.A. Points (MDF). Total Earnings: $1,301,367. Overall Grade – B-
A full letter grade below our PGATour.com picks, we were at least saved by once again picking the winner in Brandt Snedeker. Again, Walker was a disappointment, but at least he disappointed many (48% picked him on Golf Channel, and he was listed as the number one pick on the PGATour.com power rankings). Though neither Thompson nor Points got to play on Sunday, there is a difference between missing the cut, and being marked as a “MDF” at Pebble Beach – mainly meaning that Points actually earned a paycheck and FedEx points for his -6 finish. Not a huge difference, but we’ll take it. The unfortunate thing is (at the risk of being “those guys” who point out pointless circumstances) one of our top 3 considerations for the fourth tier was Charlie Beljan, who went on to finish in solo third. We first noticed Beljan when he went to a playoff and lost against John Merrick in 2013 at the Northern Trust Open – which is this week – proving that he can show up on the California swing. Maybe a name to consider moving forward…