The greater emphasis on driving distance should very much favour Sunday’s winner Nick Watney, and Charley Hoffman, who has put up strong challenges in both events over the past fortnight. In both cases, though, that recent good form has been more than factored into much shorter odds. The fact that they have only one good effort at Pebble Beach in eight tries between them doesn’t make the shorter prices any more attractive either.
PAT PEREZ may be slightly shorter than he would otherwise be as a result of his recent maiden win in the Bob Hope Classic, which showed again how much he loves this type of golf. Perez first made the headlines in this event back in 2002, after seriously losing the plot when appearing to have the title sewn up. Consequently, Perez carried the ‘bottler’ tag around for years, right up until that recent win, where he at last demonstrated a fine temperament to lead virtually all the way from the opening day. I have a feeling that success may breed more success, and am therefore prepared to take 50/1 now.
Given the extra emphasis on driving distance, several long-hitters came in for consideration. Pick of the power players is DUSTIN JOHNSON, who recorded a very encouraging 7th place on his tournament debut last year. Since winning his maiden title last October, Johnson has shown plenty more promise, with three top-20s in decent company including last week.
Huge-hitting, sometimes birdie-machine Robert Garrigus could be worth a trade at over 250/1 on Betfair, and it will be interesting to see if JB Holmes can improve on a disappointing tournament record. Young Aussie Jason Day has a big reputation and plenty of power, so could be worth keeping an eye on. Another trading at enormous prices on Betfair who could have a squeak is pro-am specialist Ryan Palmer.
Instead, the best outsider in the pack could be TIM HERRON, who has some excellent form in the rain. ‘Lumpy’ knows these courses well, with a best of 3rd place here in 2003. He’s available at a huge 200/1, partially because he’s missed his last couple of cuts, but would be a strong contender on the form shown previously. Herron made the top-8 in three of his last six starts in 2008, and started the 2009 campaign strongly with three sub-70 rounds for 12th place at Waialae.
AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM
3pts ew PADRAIG HARRINGTON @ 16/1 (GENERAL)
2.5pts ew MIKE WEIR @ 20/1 (GENERAL)
1pt ew PAT PEREZ @ 50/1 (GENERAL)
1pt ew DUSTIN JOHNSON @ 70/1 (BET365, 80/1 CENTREBET)
0.5pts ew TIM HERRON @ 200/1 (TOTE, CENTREBET)
2008/2009 STATS: -185pts
2007/2008 STATS: +618pts