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Risk and Reward - AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Who cares about Tiger Woods, Bill Murray is back for the AT&T Pro-Am! I may not ever walk in between the ropes at the Pro-Am, but at least Bill Murray can carry the same flippant attitude I would, so I've got that going for me. Which is nice. According to Golf Magazine, Murray says he carries between a 7 and 11 handicap. Given the source, I'd imagine that's a convenient pun. Maybe that's where he gets the soup to give away with the hats.

Last year's Pro-Am turned into a man vs. wild tournament, with gusting winds and rain making the course nearly unplayable. I believe Bear Grylls even commented on the conditions, saying something to the extent of, "Yeah, I'd have probably had to drink my urine there". Not so for this year, as the weather is expected to be sunny and calm, so the challenges will mostly reside in the courses themselves.

There will be a few players missing the temperate weather in Monterey this week, one of them being Jamie Donaldson, #12 on the Power Rankings. Other notable withdrawals include Sang-Moon Bae, Freddie Jacobson, and Nicholas Thompson.

My Power Rankings draw on statistics only, while Risk and Reward draws more on gut feel and intuition about players who missed my Top 15. In this column, you'll find "Lay-Up", "Going For It", and "Hazard". Look for more subjective analysis here, as opposed to the Power Rankings, where I rely strictly on data. If the idea of Lay-Up may contain players who, barring a Great Flood, will bank you some points. Going For It is where I'll have players that may have missed the Power Rankings or who I feel present an excellent opportunity to pick up a win, but carry some considerable risk. Lastly, Hazards, where I often find myself on any given Sunday, should be avoided.


Jason Kokrak - TA: 33.41, CHG: (+5.2) - A bomber on a short(ish) track? His putter has been excellent lately and its his tee-to-green game that has been struggling somewhat. He's been making cuts, though not always turning them into stellar finishes. That said, he's got three Top 20s in his last six starts after his only MC this season. Look for him to clear up any uncertainty about whether he's fully recovered from sports hernia surgery last year. That'll happen when you're averaging 302 yards per drive. Monster.

Brandt Snedeker - TA: 33.35, CHG: (+7.6) - Second straight week here after posted a T19 at the Farmers. The poppin' putter seems to have found his stroke again, where he ranks 38th in strokes-gained. He missed the cut here last year while battling injury, but won the year prior.


Dustin Johnson -TA: 49.67, CHG: (-15.2) - This is the very definition of a gamble. By his own account last week, he was a little rusty. He missed the cut by one, so he couldn't have been too far off, and if he's as serious about his game as he says he is now, he'll have found at least that stroke this week. Still, jet-ski injuries and cocaine-theories aren't completely behind him since he hasn't yet made a cut in his return, even if he's only had one try. his course history, however, makes him an extremely compelling option, with a T2 here last year, and a pair of wins back in 2009 and 2010. 

Chad Collins - TA: 41, CHG: (+16.6) - As the polar opposite to the DJ situation, as far as fantasy golf (I don't presume to know Mr. Collins' personal life), he's made five straight cuts. In that stretch, he's managed three Top 30's and a T17 at the Farmers. That last one is particularly impressive, since he drives it only marginally farther than I do, and I sure as hell can't break par at Torrey South. Maybe break one hundred. And twenty. With a few mulligans. Anyway, the dichotomy comes from his having missed the cut with every attempt here, which leaves him playing trend chicken. 

Colt Knost - TA: 46.83, CHG: (+16.6) - Much like Collins, Knost has been playing solid golf in his last handful of starts. He's played four tournaments since his last missed cut, placing T37, T17, T10, and T17. Like Collins, he doesn't hit the ball a mile, but neither of them will need to here. I may as well be writing this all about Chad Collins, since the same game of trend chicken will be played as well. Knost, too, has missed the cut with every attempt here.


Nick Watney - TA: 70.17, CHG: (+15.6) - Without Tiger Woods around, I suppose I'll kick on another Nike player. Unlike Mr. Woods, Nick Watney has made a few cuts this season, including a T7 in his last start. What I like is that his Tee-to-Green game is pretty good right now, but at 181st in strokes-gained putting, he's got no flat-stick to bail him out. Add in three missed cuts in his last five starts, and you're pick is better placed elsewhere.

Chesson Hadley - TA: 65.83, CHG: (-13.6) - Pulled a T10 last year in his first attempt then won four weeks later. Hadley hasn't done much since, missing the cut more often than making it. He's been a little bit more consistent about making cuts so far this season, but only has a lone Top 20 to show for it. Skip him for now.

Alex Prugh - TA: 60.75, CHG: (+19) - His T5 last week is his best career finish on the PGA Tour since a T2 way back at the Open in 2010. Since then he's made just 18 of 52 cuts, not including starts. Certainly, he could do it again, but my Magic 8-Ball says "snowball's chance at a snot party". I think this thing might be broken.

My Picks

PGA Tour 

  • Jimmy Walker 
  • Chris Kirk
  • Hunter Mahan
  • Brandt Snedeker


  • Ryan Palmer (S)
  • Seung-Yul Noh
  • Ian Poulter (S)
  • Hunter Mahan (S)
  • Jason Day
  • Jimmy Walker
  • Kevin Na (S)
  • Shane Lowry

Golf Channel 

  • Jimmy Walker
  • Hunter Mahan
  • Daniel Berger
  • Chad Collins

Kyle Donovan
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