Updated throughout each tournament week, 'The Starter' will provide key news, notes, and other nuggets prior to the first tee time on Thursday morning. Think of it as an all-in-one resource to help guide you in the days leading up to the start of the tournament, as you prepare your fantasy golf lineups and entries. As soon as we receive valuable news updates on things such as tee times, featured groups, withdrawals and other course reports we’ll be sure to post them all here.
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Max Homa came from five strokes back at the start of the final round to win the Farmers Insurance Open. He wins for the 6th time on the PGA Tour (4th victory in the state of California).
Most PGA Tour victories over the last three seasons:
Patrick Cantlay - 6
Rory McIlroy - 5
Max Homa - 5
Jon Rahm - 4
Sam Burns - 4
Scottie Scheffler - 4
Tony Finau - 4
The three largest come-from-behind wins in the final round this season all occurred in January:
Jon Rahm, 7 strokes (Sentry Tournament of Champions)
Max Homa, 5 strokes (Farmers Insurance Open)
Si Woo Kim, 3 strokes (Sony Open)
Homa becomes the second two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season (the other is Jon Rahm).
With this win, Homa rises from 16th to 13th in the Official World Golf Rankings. Homa is also now 5th on the U.S. Ryder Cup team's projected points list.
Keegan Bradley led the Farmers Insurance Open field in SG: Putting (+7.04). He finished runner-up and now has three top-5s in six starts this season.
Jon Rahm (T7) came up just short in his pursuit of trying to win in 3 consecutive starts on the PGA Tour after shooting a 74 (+2) in the final round at Torrey Pines.
Collin Morikawa bounced back from his final-round meltdown at Kapalua to finish solo 3rd at Torrey Pines. He ranked 2nd in SG: Tee-to-Green (+9.84).
Sahith Theegala (T4) notched his fourth top-6 finish this season. He's gaining 1.71 strokes per round on approach over two career starts at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rickie Fowler gained 4.43 strokes putting at the Farmers Insurance Open (10th best in the field). It was his second week using a brand-new putter.
Fowler experimented with multiple putters last season and ranked 161st in SG: PUTT (-0.25 per round).
Fowler moved back inside the OWGR Top-100 with this T11 finish.
Rory McIlroy won the Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour and remains the top-ranked golfer in the world. He made a birdie on the 72nd hole to defeat Patrick Reed by one stroke.
Shane Lowry parted ways with long-time caddie Brian "Bo" Martin after missing the cut at the Dubai Desert Classic. As first reported by the Irish Independent, the pair split amicably after losing a "competitive spark" and considering this decision for the past couple of weeks. Lowry and Martin won multiple times over their four-and-a-half-year partnership, which includes hoisting the Claret Jug at the 2019 Open Championship.
Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Monterey Peninsula Country Club - Pebble Beach, California
Event #14 of the 2022-23 FedExCup Regular Season
Full-Field Cut Event (after 3 days!)
The "West Coast Swing" heads to Northern California this week for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, an event that was founded in 1937 and has been played at Pebble Beach Golf Links since 1947.
Located along the California coast, Pebble Beach is widely regarded as one of the most picturesque golf courses in the world. Golf Digest has referred to it as one of the greatest–if not the greatest–meetings of land and see that you'll see in golf.
Pebble Beach has hosted six U.S. Opens, most recently in 2019 when Gary Woodland won. Tiger Woods won the 2000 U.S. Open held at Pebble, and Graeme McDowell did the same in 2010.
Unfortunately, the strength of the field does not match the shine of the course. A trend of top players skipping this event in recent years has led to fewer and fewer big names showing up to play at Pebble Beach (Matt Fitzpatrick is the only OWGR Top-10 player in the field this week).
The lack of big-name players is a result of several factors, such as the disinterest in the longer pro-am rounds, the event being sandwiched on the schedule between more important tournaments, and the emergence of the Saudi International event taking place at the same time.
Like The American Express from two weeks ago, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (as its name suggests) features a pro-am element in which celebrities get paired with PGA Tour pros and compete on a secondary leaderboard. Unlike the AmEx, Pebble's pro-am actually includes legitimate celebrities:
Another multi-course rotation is in play this week. The entire field rotates through three different courses over the first three days with a regular cut coming after 54 holes instead of 36.
The final round on Sunday takes place at Pebble Beach Golf Links, which makes it the one course that golfers play twice if they make the 54-hole cut. Historically, the main Pebble Beach course is the only one of the three with ShotLink set up.
Pebble Beach routinely ranks as one of the shortest courses on the PGA Tour (ranked 36th out of 38 courses in terms of yardage last season). All three courses in the rotation this week total less than 7200 total yards–a stark difference from the 7765-yard Torrey Pines South Course from last week.
Despite the shortness of these courses, each one can present some challenges that would keep scoring from getting out of control. As is often the case with coastal courses, the wind is a variable that can factor into how difficult the courses play.
Additionally, Pebble Beach's green sizes average out to just 3,500 square feet, which ranks among the smallest greens on TOUR.
As the scoring stats below show, it's worth mentioning that Spyglass Hill historically plays as the most difficult of the three courses.
Here's a quick snapshot of each course:
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Yards: 6,972 (Par 72)
Greens: Poa annua
Avg. green size: 3,500 sq. ft.
Sand bunkers: 116
Yards: 7,041 (Par 72)
Greens: Poa annua
Avg. green size: 5,000 sq. ft.
Sand bunkers: 62
Monterey Peninsula CC
Yards: 6,957 (Par 71)
Greens: Poa annua
Avg. green size: 6,000 sq. ft.
Sand bunkers: 130
Here are some scoring stats from each course over the last three seasons:
Pebble Beach Golf Links
2022 Scoring Average: 70.76 (-1.24)
2021 Scoring Average: 71.20 (-0.80)
2020 Scoring Average: 72.52 (+0.52)
2022 Scoring Average: 72.18 (+0.18)
2021 Scoring Average: 72.79 (+0.79)
2020 Scoring Average: 72.88 (+0.88)
Monterey Peninsula Country Club
2022 Scoring Average: 70.10 (-0.90)
2021 Scoring Average: Not used in course rotation
2020 Scoring Average: 69.69 (-1.31)
SG Total: +16.72
SG T2G: +6.16 (4th)
SG OTT: +0.96 (22nd)
SG APP: +4.00 (5th)
SG ARG: +1.20 (25th)
SG PUTT: +5.26 (3rd)
This includes just two rounds' worth of stats since the Pebble Beach course is the only one with ShotLink data.
Winning Pebble Beach was an emergent victory for Tom Hoge who was the 111th-ranked golfer in the world at the start of 2022. He finished runner-up at the 2022 American Express to move up to 64th in the world rankings, and then a few weeks later Hoge jumped up to 39th after winning Pebble.
Since winning here last year, Hoge's shown inconsistencies by missing cuts but mostly has proven to be a rising PGA Tour player. Hoge finished top-10 six times following his victory at Pebble and currently ranks 29th in the world.
Hoge is among the best approach players on the PGA Tour, ranking 11th in SG: APP last season. He can struggle with the putter (ranking outside the top 100 on TOUR in putting last season), but if he gains 5+ strokes on the greens as he did in two rounds at Pebble Beach last year he typically has a good chance to contend.
Winners and Winning Scores (last 10 years):
Tom Hoge (-19)
Daniel Berger (-18)
Nick Taylor (-19)
Phil Mickelson (-19)
Ted Potter Jr. (-17)
Jordan Spieth (-19)
Vaughn Taylor (-17)
Brandt Snedeker (-22)
Jimmy Walker (-11)
Brandt Snedeker (-19)
Field Changes (-): Davis Thompson and Vaughn Taylor both pulled out of the original field list.
Field Changes (+): Robert Garrigus (alternate), Bon Van Pelt (alternate), and Tom Johnson (PGA Section Champion) joined the field.
Monday Qualifiers: None.
Matt Fitzpatrick is the only Top-10-ranked golfer in the field.
Five golfers in the OWGR Top-30 are in the field (Fitzpatrick, Viktor Hovland, Jordan Spieth, Seamus Power, Tom Hoge).
Kevin Kisner (OWGR 32nd) makes his first start of 2023.
Ben Silverman, who won on the Korn Ferry Tour last week, is in the field via a sponsor exemption.
Other sponsor exemptions include RJ Manke, Paul O'Hara, John Pak, Garett Reband, Geoff Ogilvy, and D.A. Points.
Marcel Siem is in the field via a commissioner exemption.
Joel Dahmen (personal) - OWGR 89th
Dahmen is in the field for this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after he withdrew just prior to his previous start at The American Express due to the birth of his child.
Lanto Griffin (back) - OWGR 137th
Griffin returned to the PGA Tour last week after 6+ months away from the game following back surgery on a ruptured disc. He made the cut and finished T37 on a difficult track in Torrey Pines. Griffin appears to be having no lingering effects from this injury as he will tee it up again this week at Pebble.
Chris Stroud (undisclosed) - OWGR 503rd
Stroud has withdrawn before each of his last two expected starts at The American Express and the Farmers Insurance Open. It’s unclear why exactly he WD’d from those events.
Brian Gay (undisclosed) - OWGR 767th
Gay withdrew a few days prior to the start of The American Express for an undisclosed reason. The 51-year-old has played in just two PGA Tour events this season, most recently at The RSM Classic last November where he missed the cut.
J.B. Holmes (back) - OWGR 1796th
Holmes returned at Torrey Pines last week and played in his first PGA Tour event since 2021. The 40-year-old missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open after shooting rounds of 70 and 83. He’s playing under a major medical extension which gives him 25 more starts to try and earn enough FedExCup points to regain status on TOUR.
OUT OF FIELD
Davis Thompson - OWGR 59th
Thompson pulled out of the field for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday. There’s been no exact word on why Thompson decided not to play at Pebble, but it’s worth mentioning that this would have been the rookie’s fourth week playing in a row. He’s more than likely just taking a week off but we will monitor Thompson’s status either way.
John Huh (elbow) - OWGR 177th
Huh remains out as a result of elbow tendinitis. Over the last three weeks, Huh has withdrawn from the Farmers Insurance Open, The American Express, and the Sony Open. He was never listed in the field for Pebble.
Vaughn Taylor (undisclosed) - OWGR 556th
Taylor withdrew from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Monday. The 46-year-old has played in just three events on the PGA Tour this season, most recently at The RSM Classic last November. At this moment, no reason has been provided for Taylor's WD.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golfers with the highest “True Strokes Gained” (avg. adjusted strokes gained) at Pebble Beach Golf Links (min. two starts):
Matthew NeSmith +2.57 (6 rounds)
Maverick McNealy +2.42 (8)
Nate Lashley +2.13 (12)
Jordan Spieth +1.83 (25)
Viktor Hovland +1.60 (6)
Harry Higgs +1.57 (3)
Kevin Streelman +1.40 (26)
This includes data from the 2019 U.S. Open that was held at Pebble Beach.
NeSmith finished T11 and T16 in 2020 and 2021 before missing the cut at this event last season.
McNealy boasts two top-5 finishes in his last three starts at Pebble.
Spieth has finished in the top-10 of this event three years in a row, including a runner-up finish last season. He also won this tournament in 2017.
Most of Hovland's rounds at Pebble Beach come from the 2019 U.S. Open in which he finished T12.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golfers with the highest “True Strokes Gained” (avg. adjusted strokes gained) at Spyglass Hill Golf Course (min. two starts):
Justin Rose +3.73 (3 rounds)
Joel Dahmen +3.52 (5)
Beau Hossler +2.96 (6)
Jordan Spieth +2.81 (10)
Denny McCarthy +2.74 (3)
Luke Donald +1.85 (11)
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golfers with the highest “True Strokes Gained” (avg. adjusted strokes gained) at Monterey Peninsula Country Club (min. two starts):
Sung Kang +2.89 (6 rounds)
Andrew Putnam +2.68 (4)
Doc Redman +2.48 (2)
Camilo Villegas +2.34 (2)
Jimmy Walker +2.03 (12)
Ryan Moore +1.95 (3)
Brice Garnett +1.80 (6)
Jordan Spieth +1.79 (9)