AT A GLANCE
When? 08th – 11th February 2018
Where? Pebble Beach Courses: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and Monterey Peninsula Country Club
Format? 72-hole stroke play with one round played on each course over the first three days (54 hole cut) with the final round played at Pebble Beach. Pro-Am consists of paired (professional and amateur) better ball format
Purse? $7.4 million
Course Types? Clifftop links
Course Yardage? Pebble Beach: 6,816 yards Par 72 / Spyglass Hill: 6,953 yards Par 72 / Monterey Peninsula: 6,958 yards Par 71
Weather? Sunny, 0% chance of rain, low/high (54/68F – 12/20C), winds N/NW 5-7mph
What channel is it on? Sky Sports Golf or Golf Channel
Where can I stream the match? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the tournament online via Sky Go or Golf Channel subscribers can stream the tournament online via Golf Channel Digital
Are tickets still available? www.attpbgolf.com
Round One Predictions? Dustin Johnson – T5, Rory McIlroy – T16, Phil Mickelson – T32, Gary Woodland - T32, Shane Lowry – T16
FIVE PLAYERS IN FOCUS
- South African Grace opened up with a four under par 68 around Pebble Beach Golf Links, positioning him T16.
- Grace’s traditionally lower ball flight is well suited to firm and fast conditions, as seen with his history making lowest round in a major at The Open Championship last year. As predominantly a European Tour player, Grace has already recorded one victory on the PGA Tour at the 2016 RBC Heritage.
- Grace’s success was down to his imperious driving skills, hitting 78.57% of fairways (11/14), gaining 1.281 strokes off-the-tee - ranking second - and currently leads the tour in driving accuracy. His all-round game was solid, ranking inside the top 25 for all strokes-gained categories and T7 for SG: total.
Grace’s tee-to-green accuracy and ability to control his trajectory will be perfect this week in the firmer conditions and if the winds picks up at any point, it will only be in his favour. Grace has a great chance at picking up his second tour victory so expect him to be contention on Sunday afternoon.
- Walker did not finish outside the top 25 in this tournament between 2012 and 2016 (2012: T9, 2013: T3, 2015: T21, 2016: T11) which also yielded a victory in 2014, showing his liking for the courses and tournament set-up.
- Walker opened up with a four under par 68 around Spyglass Hill, positioning him T16. The now world number 84 has slipped drastically down the world rankings in recent years since winning the 2016 PGA Championship, his last of six tour victories.
- Walker ranks outside the top 150 for four of the six strokes-gained categories this season, the primary reasons why he has missed three of four cuts. However, he currently ranks 55th in SG: approach-the-green which is a key area that is required for the small Pebble Beach greens.
A player of Walker's calibre will return to winning ways but after a poor start to the season, a victory this week is unlikely. His past form in this tournament and solid start this year could be the catalyst to a better season – expect a top 15 finish, his first on tour since April 2017.
- Casey currently sits T6 after his opening round five under around Pebble Beach Golf Links.
- The last and only time an English golfer finished inside the top two was Tony Jacklin in 1977, a statistic that does not bode well for Casey’s chances this week.
- Casey leads the field in SG: approach-to-green and tee-to-green. Although he lost 0.847 SG: putting, his impressive ball-striking still yielded six birdies on route to a 67.
The world number 17 has had numerous chances in recent seasons to claim his second PGA Tour victory and if he continues in this type of ball-striking form he has a genuine chance. However, Casey has no real past form around here and unless he putts to the standards of his long-game, a victory is improbable. Expect him to record his highest finish of the season to date.
- Kuchar currently sits T3 after his opening round six under 66 around Spyglass Hill.
- After a T5 finish in his last tournament at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Kuchar continues to produce consistent top 10 finishes. However, his last victory was in 2014 and taking into-account how regularly he puts himself into contention, another victory must come sooner or later.
- Kuchar ranks fourth in SG: putting and 15th in SG: total, two areas that demonstrate why he consistently finishing inside the top 25. However, as a short hitter, he must be accurate and so far this season, he ranks 147th in SG: off-the-tee - something that needs to improve to win.
Kuchar’s last victory was around one of the shortest courses on tour which suits his game and Pebble Beach should be no different this year. Expect the American to be in contention heading into the back nine of Sunday.
- McDowell opened up with a one under par 71 around Pebble Beach Golf Links, positioning him T71 at the same venue where he famously won the 2010 US Open, bringing back positive vibes.
- McDowell’s game is suited to the three courses that are short by modern day standards (all under 7000 yards) and put a premium on accuracy into the narrower fairways and smaller greens. The firmer and faster conditions will also help the Irishman’s game.
- McDowell’s success is dependent on accuracy in which he hit 10/14 fairways and ranks 19th in SG: off-the-tee. He also ranked 10th in SG: putting, gaining 1.565 strokes over the field. However, he lost nearly a stroke to the field in his approach-to-green and around-the-green, areas of his game that must improve during today’s round.
If it wasn’t for a scrappy double bogey on the par three 17th, McDowell would have gone bogey free and positioned himself inside the top 32. His game is in a good enough place after some very good rounds already this season so anticipate him to move up the leaderboard and record himself another top 15 finish.
*Strokes-gained statistics are only recorded for rounds played on Pebble Beach Golf Links.