AT&T Pebble Beach experts' picks

February, 5, 2013

Each week of the season, our experts will share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week's tournament: The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Club and Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore Course) in Pebble Beach, Calif.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, senior golf analyst: Dustin Johnson

Only once in his five starts at this event has he finished outside the top seven. It's a course that "fits his eye" and a format that fits his demeanor. Expect more of the same this year and maybe even a chance to win & again.

Farrell Evans, senior golf writer: Phil Mickelson
A four-time winner at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, including last year's event where he shot 64 in the final round, the 42-year-old four-time major winner has a lot of confidence in his game after a masterful victory in Phoenix.

Bob Harig, senior golf writer: Dustin Johnson
The winner at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions earlier this year, Johnson has fared quite well at Pebble Beach, where he has two victories and four top-10s in five appearances. And he did contend at the 2010 U.S. Open, too.

Kevin Maguire, senior golf editor: Aaron Baddeley
A fourth-place finish last year and a T-6 in 2011 show this Aussie knows how to get it around at Pebble Beach. He has made all three cuts so far in 2013, so expect another strong showing this week on the Monterrey Peninsula.

Birdie Buster

Michael Collins: Hunter Mahan
He's coming off back-to-back top-20s and has a pretty solid track record at this place. His fairways hit percentage and greens in regulation percentage have both improved in the past two weeks and expect them to get even better as he gets into the groove of the season.

Farrell Evans: Billy Horschel
The 26-year-old former Walker Cupper got a lot of national exposure in San Diego, where he played 36 holes with Tiger Woods. The Grant, Fla., native struggled playing with Woods, but the experience could pay dividends for him down the road. Last week in Phoenix, Horschel tied for 11th.

Bob Harig: Phil Mickelson
Lefty heads back to Pebble to defend his title coming off the high of an impressive victory in Phoenix, where he nearly shot 59 in Round 1 and led the entire way by seemingly finding some confidence in his new driver.

Kevin Maguire: Robert Garrigus
His worst finish so far this year? A T-16 at the Humana Challenge. A T-6 at Torrey Pines followed up by a T-11 last week in Phoenix shows the long-hitting Garrigus is in midseason form.

Super Sleeper

Michael Collins: Brian Stuard
Three starts, three made cuts and two top-10s & Unless you've won, there's not much of a better start you're going to ask for on the PGA Tour. And he was smart enough to take the week off last week after a hard week at the Farmers. His only concern this week will be who his amateur partner will be.

Farrell Evans: Padraig Harrington
The 41-year-old Dubliner hasn't won on the PGA Tour since he took the 2008 Open Championship and PGA Championship. Last year he had resurgence with a tie for eighth at the Masters and a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open. In Phoenix last week, Harrington tied for ninth.

Bob Harig: David Duval
The former No. 1 is back with Nike and optimistic now that he is again healthy. Duval has had little success over the past several years, but he did tie for second at Pebble in 2010 in one of his rare times in contention.

Kevin Maguire: David Lingmerth
He'd be hard to pick out of a lineup for most fans, but Lingmerth did lose in a playoff at the Humana Challenge just a few weeks ago.


Michael Collins: Ryan Palmer
Last week in Phoenix he opened with a 64, closed with a 62, and if not for a 73 in the second round & He's not a slow player but more important the pace of play at Pebble won't bother him. Don't let his past performances there fool you.

Farrell Evans: Dustin Johnson
With a win already in the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the long-hitting 28-year-old is carrying a lot of momentum into Pebble Beach, where he won in 2009 and 2010. Last year he finished T-5 at the event after an opening-round 63.

Bob Harig: Padraig Harrington
The Irishman loves this event but often laments not showing up in top form. He took care of that by playing last week in Phoenix, where he made it into the final threesome. He tied for ninth and seemingly carries a little bit of momentum to Pebble Beach.

Kevin Maguire: Brandt Snedeker
I picked him to win last week in Phoenix and he finished runner-up for the second straight week. This week, Snedeker is the buzz saw and he breaks through for that first win of 2013.





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