AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am picks

February, 3, 2014
02/03/14
6:37
PM ET

Each week of the season, our experts 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.


Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Phil Mickelson
Four wins, four top-10s and $4.6 million banked in this event make him the leading money winner all time. Playing in this format, yet not being paired with a celebrity, almost guarantees Mickelson as a must pick for your fantasy golf league.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Phil Mickelson
Lefty is a four-time winner in the event. He last won at Pebble Beach in 2012, when he shot a 64 in the final round to win by 2 shots.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Dustin Johnson
He has been quiet since his HSBC Champions victory in China, but two of his eight PGA Tour wins have come at Pebble Beach. And lest we forget, he contended at the 2010 U.S. Open.

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: Jimmy Walker
His first three starts at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am went like this: MC, T-55, MC. The next three? T-9, T-9, T-3. Something clearly clicked for Walker, who is currently the PGA Tour's top money winner and the FedEx Cup points leader.


Birdie Buster

Collins: Jordan Spieth
Last year, he not only made the cut but finished tied for 22nd. Not an easy feat for a kid who had never played in an event quite like this. Now he comes back a year wiser, knowing the courses and understanding what to expect during the six-hour rounds.

Evans: Pat Perez
Best known around the tour for his hot temper, the 37-year-old San Diego native says he's now a more mature professional. Bogeys on five of his last 12 holes cost him a chance of winning in Phoenix, but after a tie for 11th there and a tie for second at Torrey Pines, his stock is rising.

Harig: Kevin Stadler
He's coming off the good vibes of his first PGA Tour victory, a 1-shot win over Bubba Watson and Graham DeLaet at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The victory earned him his first Masters invitation.

Maguire: Pat Perez
The Arizona State product owns top-11 finishes in three of his last four starts, including a T-2 at Torrey Pines.


Super Sleeper

Collins: Max Homa
Making only his fourth start of the season and second of calendar year, Homa has the right laid-back attitude for this style tournament. Of course, averaging 308 yards off the tee and being ranked 16th in strokes gained putting won't hurt either. Homa will be a Web.com Tour rookie this year unless ... remember Jordan Spieth and Bud Cauley.

Evans: Jim Furyk
The 43-year-old former U.S. Open champion had top-10s in five of his last seven events in 2013, including a second at the PGA. He's looking to carry that success over into the new season at Pebble Beach, his first event of the year.

Harig: Graeme McDowell
The 2010 U.S. Open champion is making his first return visit to Pebble Beach since that victory, but McDowell has been on an eight-week break since last competing.

Maguire: Kiradech Aphibarnrat
Most U.S. fans probably haven't heard of this 24-year-old golfer from Thailand, but he won on the European Tour last year and did post a T-3 finish at the CIMB Classic in the early portion of the PGA Tour's wraparound schedule.


Winner

Collins: Dustin Johnson
Why yes, I do believe that missed cut last year was an aberration. That was his only MC in six tries, which also included two wins and two top-sevens. Well rested coming off a three-week vacation after the Hyundai Tournament of Championship, Johnson gets win No. 2 of the 2013-14 season.

Evans: Hunter Mahan
The five-time PGA tour winner finished in a tie for fourth last week in Phoenix. He has had top-16s in his past three appearances at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, including a second in 2011.

Harig: Phil Mickelson
Back woes are still a concern, but Lefty showed a few flashes last week in Scottsdale after withdrawing at the Farmers Insurance Open. A victory would be his fifth win in the tournament.

Maguire: Jason Day
The Aussie played all of one tournament in the first month of the season (a T-2 at Torrey Pines), so he's clearly pacing himself for the majors. That being said, don't be shocked if PGA Tour win No. 2 comes this week in Northern California.

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