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AT&T Pebble Beach DFS picks 2024: Why I’m fading Rory McIlroy this week

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 21: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his second shot on the third hole during the final round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic on The Majlis Course at The Emirates Golf Club on January 21, 2024 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

The PGA Tour heads to Northern California this week for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at one of the most celebrated venues in our sport. The tournament format is receiving a bit of a shakeup this year, as the event will now be under the Signature Event banner. The field will now consist of just 80 players, the top 50 in last year’s FedEx Cup standings, the “Swing Five,” (five best players from the Fall series), current year tournament winners, the top 30 in the official world golf rankings and four sponsor’s exemptions.

Rory McIlroy will be making his PGA Tour of the 2024 season, Viktor Hovland will be returning to the site of his U.S. Amateur victory, and they will be joined by the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Max Homa and Jordan Spieth, among other stars.

Players will rotate on Thursday and Friday between Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill, before playing both weekend rounds at Pebble Beach. With a smaller field, the event will no longer feature a cut, and we can also say goodbye to amateur play over the weekend. Hopefully, this allows tournament organizers to take some more chances on course setup. We haven’t seen such a strong collection of players tackle Pebble Beach since the 2019 U.S. Open, which should make for one of the non-major events of the season. Let’s dive into the DraftKings pricing.

Pebble Beach Golf Links
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Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, CA
Not just the greatest meeting of land and sea in American golf, but the most extensive one, too, with nine holes perched immediately above the crashing Pacific surf—the fourth through 10th plus the 17th and 18th. Pebble’s sixth through eighth are golf’s real Amen Corner, with a few Hail Marys thrown in over an ocean cove on the eighth from atop a 75-foot-high bluff. Pebble hosted a successful U.S. Amateur in 2018 and a sixth U.S. Open in 2019. Recent improvements include the redesign of the once-treacherous 14th green, and reshaping of the par-3 17th green, both planned by Arnold Palmer’s Design Company a few years back—and the current changes to the iconic eighth hole. Pebble Beach hosted the Women's U.S. Open for the first time in 2023.
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Spyglass Hill Golf Course
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Spyglass Hill Golf Course
Pebble Beach, CA
Given the task of designing a course just up the 17 Mile Drive from Pebble Beach and Cypress Point, Robert Trent Jones responded with a combination of Pine Valley and Augusta National. The five opening holes, in Pine Valley-like sand dunes, are an all-too-brief encounter with the Pacific seacoast. The remaining holes are a stern hike through hills covered with majestic Monterey pines (which, sad to say, may someday disappear to pitch canker, but are being replaced in some areas with cypress trees). Add several water hazards that hearken back to the 16th at Augusta (a hole which Trent Jones designed, by the way) and you have what some panelists consider to be Trent’s finest work. Others say it’s the best course never to have hosted a major event. After all, even Pine Valley and Cypress Point have hosted Walker Cups.
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$10,000 range

Play: Viktor Hovland, $10,200:

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Michael Reaves

In a vacuum, I far prefer Viktor Hovland to Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler at this specific golf course, so one can imagine my enthusiasm to see him priced over a thousand dollars cheaper than both. The vibes at Pebble Beach for Hovland should be at an all-time high, as this was not only the site of his U.S. Amateur victory but also where he finished as the low Amateur at the 2019 U.S. Open. Hovland is one of the few players in this field who has succeeded at Pebble both in U.S. Open and regular PGA Tour conditions. I expect the reigning FedEx Cup champion to add to his storied résumé at the iconic venue.

Fade: Rory McIlroy, $11,500:

I’m normally as big of a Rory fan as it gets, but that’s price and course fit dependent. It’s no secret that elite driving ability is Rory’s greatest weapon, a skill that is largely de-valued at Pebble Beach due to the forced layups, generous landing areas and low missed fairway penalty. That is not to say that Rory is incapable of playing well, but he doesn’t possess the inherent advantage at Pebble Beach that he does on longer, driver heavy tracks. I’ll opt for the discount on stronger course fits.

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$9,000 range

Play: Patrick Cantlay, $9,700:

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Orlando Ramirez

Despite frustrating weekends in each of his past two starts, Patrick Cantlay now returns to a very comfortable golf course for him. In seven appearances at Pebble Beach, Cantlay has recorded five top-25s, including a third and a fourth in his past two appearances. The eight-time PGA Tour winner has experienced a tremendous amount of success on Pebble’s tricky putting surfaces, and he remains the No. 1 player in this field on shorter golf course. I’m expecting a strong bounce-back performance out of the California native.

Fade: Collin Morikawa, $9,100:

In theory, Collin Morikawa makes all the sense in the world at this golf course, but I’m having a difficult time shaking what I watched last week at Torrey Pines. We know that Morikawa’s putter comes and goes, yet he is still one of the best players in the world due to his driving accuracy and elite iron play. Not only will Morikawa’s ability off the tee be de-valued at Pebble Beach, but his irons looked awfully shaky at Torrey as well, placing far more pressure on his flat-stick than we would have hoped for. I remain bullish on Morikawa in 2024, but I’m not sure a tournament that expects cold, windy and rainy conditions is the best opportunity to deploy him.

$8,000 range

Play: Matt Fitzpatrick, $8,200:

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Octavio Passos

The weather forecast this week looks a bit dicey, with steady rain across Thursday and Friday, temperatures in the low 50s and wind gusts up to 25 mph. Under these circumstances, Matt Fitzpatrick raises strongly in my estimation. Just a few months ago, the former U.S. Open champion triumphed at the water-logged Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and he now returns to a golf course where he has already experienced loads of success. Similar to Hovland, Fitzpatrick is one of the few players in this field to have finished top 15 at both the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble and the AT&T. Something about Pebble Beach clearly fits the Englishman’s eyes, and I expect him to build upon his strong track record in Monterrey.

Fade: Cameron Young, $8,600:

I’ve always been a tremendous supporter of Cameron Young, but I’d struggle to here at this price point. Similar to my concerns with McIlroy, Pebble Beach neutralizes Young’s greatest weapon, his elite driving ability. The name of the game at Pebble Beach is wedges and putting, and I’m not sure I can confidently rely on either of those out of Young at the moment.

$7,000 range

Play: Eric Cole, $7,300:

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Michael Reaves

Eric Cole was a big fade for us last week at Torrey Pines based on course fit, but now the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year returns to a golf course that accentuates what he does best. Cole remains an elite wedge player and one of the best putters in this field inside 15 feet. His greatest weaknesses—power and accuracy off the tee—will be mitigated here, and Cole can get back to what he does best: dominating shorter golf courses with strategic and technical play. This is an easy one.

Fade: Corey Conners, $7,700:

Until Corey Conners shows any signs of life on Poa greens, I have no interest in backing the Canadian on the West Coast. A poor putter to begin with, Conners lowers his baseline on Poa annua greens more than any other player in this field, and he has yet to record a single encouraging putting performance on this surface. In two appearances at Pebble Beach, he has failed to make the cut. I’m comfortable letting him beat me here until proven otherwise.

Flier: Brendon Todd, $7,000:

Similar to Eric Cole, Brendon Todd is the exact type of player we want to target on shorter, less than driver courses. Todd has already recorded three top-10s at Pebble Beach, including a runner-up finish last year. In terms of West Coast/coastal, wedge heavy courses, Todd has also dominated at both Silverado and Port Royal, two of my strongest comparative courses to Pebble Beach. At this price point, we’ll be hard pressed to find a stronger course fit than Todd.

$6,000 range:

Play: Adam Svensson, $6,600:

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Kevin C. Cox

In terms of fliers in the $6,000 range, I’ve got the most confidence in Adam Svensson, who already boasts an incredibly strong résumé on shorter, coastal tracks. With a win at the RSM Classic under his belt, and a top-15 player in this field on less-than-driver courses, the Canadian should be up for the challenge this week at Pebble Beach. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the down week at Torrey Pines on a golf course that was always going to be a challenging fit. Svensson was one of the leaders in ball-striking two weeks prior at Waialae, a far more translatable track to what he will be tasked with at Pebble Beach.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for RickRunGood.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports