The Pebble Beach Pro-Am is one of the more prominent tournaments on the PGA Tour each season, but fans and bettors won’t see many familiar names in the field when the tournament starts on Thursday.
World No. 4 Patrick Cantlay will head into Pebble Beach as the +650 favorite to win the tournament, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Big names flock to big money on Asian Tour
Cantlay often finds himself among the favorites in every tournament he plays in. The defending Tour Championship winner is always a threat and already has six PGA Tour victories in his career.
This weekend, however, Cantlay won’t face most of his usual rivals at the top of the leaderboard. Only nine of the world’s top 50 players are in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am field. Instead, the majority of the world’s elite are in Saudi Arabia for the Asian Tour’s PIF Saudi International.
The Saudi tournament is part of an effort to lure golfers away from the PGA Tour with the promise of big appearance fees and massive prize funds. Even Cantlay admits it was tempting to go overseas rather than play at Pebble Beach, which he says is one of his favorite courses.
“I think with the amount of money they’re talking about, it’s always very tempting. I think it’s tempting for everybody,” Cantlay said, via Golf Digest. “But I’m really glad that I’m here this week and I love Pebble Beach, and so that definitely factored into my decision.”
Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith, and Phil Mickelson are among the big-name golfers who are playing in Saudi Arabia. But it wasn’t just a big-money tournament on the other side of the world that depleted the Pebble Beach field.
Spieth expects to be healthy at Pebble Beach
Defending champion Daniel Berger pulled out of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am due to a back injury. Meanwhile, both Will Zalatoris and James Hahn withdrew from the tournament because of positive COVID-19 tests.
There are still a number of prominent names in the field, though. Jordan Spieth comes into Pebble Beach as the +1600 second choice, ahead of Justin Rose (+1800) and Jason Day (+1800). Spieth is recovering from a bacterial infection that caused him to struggle mightily during the Farmers Insurance Open last week.
“I should probably be at 100% by Thursday would be my guess,” Spieth told reporters. “I mean everything was just kind of running through me. I got a bacterial infection in my stomach and had to get on some meds and I didn’t know that until I finished my round Thursday, the second round, but the test had come back before I teed off and it was what they were testing for and I didn’t see it until I got done or I may not have played.”
Maverick McNealy (+2000), Seamus Power (+2200), and Cameron Tringale (+2500) are among the other top contenders heading into the Pebble Beach Pro-Am this weekend.