As the calendar reached mid-February, the California swing is nearly in the books. With the completion of last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, only the Genesis Open away from Florida and the last “swing” before major season begins.
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AM — AKA Bill Murray appreciation week — is over. Ted Potter, Jr. is your champion. I’m not sure how, but it’s true.
I have to be honest — last week was easily one of the worst of my fantasy career. I incorrectly predicted the winner would be one of the games biggest stars. I think all of them somehow, someway managed to finish second.
Credit where credit is due, Potter did everything he had to do all week long. He put together one of the best rounds in tournament history at Monterrey Peninsula Club on Saturday, bogeying the final two holes to finish with a 62. His Sunday 69 was enough to clinch his second career PGA Tour win.
While Potter seemed to be in control all week, there were plenty of guys who fared somewhere between Potter and David Duval, who missed the cut and finished last at +21.
Here’s a look at those who were sorry to leave the Monterrey Peninsula and those who are looking for some better luck in LA this week:
Ted Potter, Jr. — It’s hard to find enough superlatives to describe Ted Potter, Jr.’s win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last week. I’ll be honest — I was rooting hard against Potter on Sunday. Not necessarily for him to screw up, but just for Mickelson or DJ to put the peddle down. That never happened and, to his credit, the journeyman didn’t blink on his way for a three-shot victory — the second of his career. Potter’s first win was at the 2012 Greenbrier Classic. At the end of the day, I’m happy for Potter. It was a popular win and well-deserved — but it didn’t help my fantasy results.
Phil Mickelson — Don’t look now, but Phil Mickelson is firing on all cylinders as we get closer and closer to the first week of April. Next week, Mickelson will be teeing it up at yet another of his favorite haunts — Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles — trying, once again to snap his career-long winless streak. At Pebble, Mickelson played great all week. In the end, however, it just wasn’t enough to top Ted Potter during his career-affirming week.
Jimmy Walker — Finally! For fans of Jimmy Walker, the wait for him to return to form may finally be over. For the last year or so — and multiple times in these pieces — Walker’s battle to comeback from Lyme Disease has been well-documented. Last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Walker finished T-8 at 10-under following an impressive 5-under 67 on Sunday. Walker, who won this event in 2014, hadn’t collected a top-10 finish since January, 2017 at the SBS Tournament of Champions. I’d still be patient with Walker, but last week’s performance is definitely a sign that he’s headed in the right direction.
Jordan Spieth — Enter the week as the event’s defending champion, Jordan Spieth was very much a favorite at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Unfortunately for Spieth and all us fantasy owners, it wasn’t exactly the week he — or we — were looking for on the Monterrey Peninsula. While he did shoot 66 on Friday, Spieth never managed to crack 70 in either of the other three rounds, leading to a T-20 finish.
Rory McIlroy — To say Rory McIlroy’s performance at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was a disappointment would be an understatement. McIlroy came to Pebble on the heels of a third and a second in the deserts of Abu Dhabi ans Dubai seemed to be rolling. Unfortunately, a cold, cold putter kept him from ever really contending. McIlroy missed the cut after rounds of 68-74-72. Obviously, there’s no reason to hit the panic button here — McIlroy is still a fantasy favorite and will continue to be until, like, year 2030.
Austin Cook — Rookie Austin Cook entered the week on the Monterrey Peninsula having made all eight cuts — including a win at the RSM Classic — to kick off his 2017-’18 season Unfortunately, that streak came to an end at Saturday at the Monterrey Peninsula Country Club. Cook, who opened with rounds of 72 and 74 was only able to muster a 75 on Saturday, leading to his first missed cut of the season.