Top-ranked players in short supply at Pebble Beach this week
 

Top-ranked players in short supply at Pebble Beach this week

Even with U.S. Open scheduled there in June, Pebble hasn't attracted world's best

02/05/2019
Reid Spencer Editor & Publisher
image (AP File Photo/Adam Hunger)
Third-ranked Dustin Johnson is the only top-10 player scheduled to compete in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week.

Why does the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am feature one of the weakest fields of the year on the PGA Tour?

After all, Pebble Beach Golf Links is hosting the U.S. Open in June, so you might think major championship hopefuls would be flocking to the legendary course on the Monterrey Peninsula to get a look at the course.

You’d be wrong.

Dustin Johnson, the third-ranked player in the world, is the only golfer in the top 10 who will show up at Pebble this week, and he’ll probably be jet-lagged after winning the inaugural Saudi International on Sunday halfway around the world.

There are several good reasons why players aren’t beating a path to Pebble Beach. First, the course and weather conditions in February typically are quite different from course and weather conditions there in June.

The early spot in the calendar is known for soggy, wet conditions, whereas summer at Pebble has a much better chance of producing playing conditions that are dry, firm and fast. The course setup for this week’s tour stop also will be considerably more benign than the USGA’s Open setup in June.

In addition, quite a few pros on the PGA Tour simply don’t want to put up with the interaction with amateurs, some of whom have a tendency to steal the show in the AT&T Pro-Am (can you say “Bill Murray?”)

So most top-ranked pros mark Pebble Beach in February as a week off, feeling that competition on the course won’t benefit them in the summer.

But let’s concentrate on the players who will be in the field this week. Here’s a synopsis of tournament play in professional golf.

PGA TOUR

AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM

Site: Pebble Beach, Calif.

Courses: Pebble Beach GL (Yardage: 6,816. Par: 72); Spyglass Hill GC (Yardage: 6,960. Par: 72.); Monterey Peninsula GC-Shore (Yardage: 6,958. Par: 71.)

Purse: $7.6 million. Winner's share: $1,368,000.

Television: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 1-2:45 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (CBS); Sunday, 1-2:45 p.m. (Golf Channel); 3-6:30 p.m. (CBS).

Defending champion: Ted Potter Jr.

FedEx Cup leader: Xander Schauffele.

Last week: Rickie Fowler won the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Notes: Pebble Beach will be hosting the U.S. Open this summer for the sixth time. ... Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed are in the field, having played last week in Saudi Arabia. ... Johnson at No. 3 in the world ranking is the only player from the top 10 at Pebble Beach. ... Jordan Spieth (photo) is at No. 21. A year ago, he came into the AT&T at No. 3. Spieth last was outside the top 20 at the end of his rookie year in 2013. ... Phil Mickelson, a four-time winner, has missed only one year since 1995. That was in 2015 when his children were on spring break. ... Davis Love III returns after a two-year exemption. His son, Dru, has a sponsor exemption. It will be their 15th time playing a tournament together worldwide. ... The tournament gave an exemption to Hosung Choi, the South Korean who has created a video sensation with his unorthodox follow-through. ... Among the 50-and-older crew playing Pebble this year are Steve Stricker, Jerry Kelly, Love and Vijay Singh (both past champions) and Kenny Perry.

Next week: Genesis Open.

Online: www.pgatour.com

LPGA TOUR

ISPS HANDA VIC OPEN

Site: Geelong, Australia.

Course: 13th Beach Golf Links. Yardage: 6,625. Par: 73.

Purse: $1.1 million. Winner's share: $165,000.

Television: Wednesday-Thursday, 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. (Golf Channel); Friday, 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. (Golf Channel).

Defending champion: Minjee Lee (photo below).

Race to CME Globe leader: Eun-Hee Ji.

Last tournament: Eun-Hee Ji won the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.

Notes: The tournament is held concurrently for men and women and is jointly sanctioned for the first time by the LPGA Tour, the Australian Ladies Professional Golf, European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia. ... It offers equal prize money for men and women. ... Women's British Open champion Georgia Hall won the tournament in 2016 and is back in the field. ... The women's field includes World Golf Hall of Famers Karrie Webb and Laura Davies. ... None of the top five in the women's world ranking is playing. The highest-ranked player is Minjee Lee at No. 6. She won last year for one of two titles worldwide. ... The Beach and Creek courses will be used the opening two rounds, with the Beach course used on the weekend. ... A 36-hole cut to 60 and ties will be made on Friday, followed by a 54-hole cut to 35 players and ties on Saturday. ... This is the start of four straight tournaments overseas for the LPGA Tour, followed by stops in the Women's Australian Open, and tournaments in Thailand and Singapore.

Next week: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open.

Online: www.lpga.com

EUROPEAN TOUR AND PGA TOUR OF AUSTRALASIA

ISPS HANDA VIC OPEN

Site: Geelong, Australia.

Course: 13th Beach Golf Links. Yardage: 6,796. Par: 72.

Purse: $1.1 million. Winner's share: $165,000.

Television: Wednesday-Thursday, 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. (Golf Channel); Friday, 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. (Golf Channel).

Defending champion: Simon Hawkes.

Race to Dubai leader:

Last week: Dustin Johnson won the Saudi International.

Notes: The tournament is held concurrently for men and women and is jointly sanctioned for the first time by the LPGA Tour, the Australian Ladies Professional Golf, European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia. ... It offers equal prize money for men and women. ... The field includes former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, whose wife and three children recently moved from Arizona to Melbourne. ... Among those in the field are Ryo Ishikawa, Peter O'Malley, Robert Allenby, Matteo Manassero and Greg Chalmers. ... The Beach and Creek courses will be used the opening two rounds, with the Beach course used on the weekend. ... A 36-hole cut to 60 and ties will be Friday, followed by a 54-hole cut to 35 players and ties on Saturday.

Next week: ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth.

Online: www.europeantour.com and www.pga.org.au

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

OASIS CHAMPIONSHIP

Site: Boca Raton, Fla.

Course: The Old Course at Broken Sound. Yardage: 6,807. Par: 72.

Purse: $1.7 million. Winner's share: $255,000.

Television: Friday, noon to 2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 3-5:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 3-5 p.m. (Golf Channel).

Defending champion: Mark Calcavecchia.

Charles Schwab Cup leader: Tom Lehman.

Last tournament: Tom Lehman won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Notes: Calcavecchia won last year by two shots over Bernhard Langer. ... Gary Nicklaus, the son of Jack Nicklaus, makes his PGA Tour Champions debut on a sponsor exemption. Nicklaus did not get through Champions qualifying last year. ... Chris DiMarco makes his 2019 debut. DiMarco turned 50 last August and only shot in the 60s once in 17 rounds over six tournaments. ... The field features 19 major champions. Two others — Larry Mize and Scott Simpson — are alternates. ... Esteban Toledo was given a sponsor's exemption. He won the tournament three years ago in a playoff over Billy Andrade. ... In the 12 years of the tournament, no one has won more than once.

Next week: Chubb Classic.

Online: www.pgatour.com/champions

WEB.COM TOUR

PANAMA CHAMPIONSHIP

Site: Panama City, Panama.

Course: Panama GC. Yardage: 7,157. Par: 70.

Purse: $625,000. Winner's share: $112,500.

Television: None.

Defending champion: Scott Langley.

Money leader: Mark Anderson.

Last week: Mark Anderson won the Country Club de Bogota Championship.

Next week: Suncoast Classic.

Online: www.pgatour.com/webcom

OTHER TOURS

MEN

Sunshine Tour: Cape Town Open, Royal Cape GC, Cape Town, South Africa. Defending champion: Rhys Enoch. Online: www.sunshinetour.com

(The Associated Press contributed the tournament thumbnails in this story.)

 

 
 
 
 
 
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