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On The Range Blog - February 8

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On The Range Talent
Host: Gary Williams (Golf Channel)
Analyst: Wayne Player (Instructor & Founder of The Player Approach)
Analyst: Billy Kratzert (4-time PGA TOUR winner)

This Week’s Events
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Pebble Beach Golf Links (Host Course) - Pebble Beach, CA
Defending Champion - D.A. Points

Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Emirates GC - Dubai, UAE
Defending Champion - Alvaro Quiros

Marquee Player
Hunter Mahan
-Runner-up at 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
-Finished Top 10 in last 4 PGA TOUR sanctioned event
-MC last week in Commercialbank Qatar Masters
-3 career PGA TOUR wins
-Swing Instructor: Sean Foley
-Caddie: John Wood

Course Survey
Pebble Beach Golf Links (Par 72 – 6,816 yards)
Spyglass Hill GC (Par 72 – 6,858 yards)
Monterey Peninsula (Par 70 - 6,838 yards)
 
-Putt to Win: 3 of the past 6 winners (’11 Points, ’07 Mickelson and ’06 Oberholser) have led the field in Putting Average while ’08 Lowery was 2nd. Points played his final two rounds at Pebble Beach last year and didn’t miss a putt inside of 9’ on the weekend (31 of 31).

-Look for a lot of birdies and eagles: Last year Points finished T1 in Birdie Average (5.75) and T1 in Total Eagles (2). In 2010, Dustin Johnson made 3 eagles en route to victory. Coincidentally, 4 of the past 5 winners have been Top 3 in Par 5 Scoring for the week.

-Gotta get off to a hot start: The past 3 winners were also the leader/co-leader at the end of the 1st Round (Points opened with a 63 last year, Johnson with a 64 and 65 the previous two years).

-Toughest Par 5 in golf: The 14th hole at Pebble Beach (Par 5, 573 yards) has played as the toughest Par 5 on the PGA TOUR the past two seasons. In 2010 it actually ranked 1st and 2nd toughest because of the U.S. Open also being played at Pebble Beach.

-Short and straight off the tee: Not only are Pebble Beach and Monterey Peninsula the two shortest courses on the PGA TOUR, but they have some of the easiest fairways to hit as well. On the 2011 PGA TOUR, Monterey Peninsula had the 4th highest driving accuracy percentage (76.85%) and Pebble Beach had the 6th easiest (70.29%). Spyglass Hill had the shortest average driving distance on TOUR (271.4)

-Putting is a pain 3 of 4 rounds: On the 2011 PGA TOUR, Monterey Peninsula ranked the toughest in Overall Putting Average, One-Putt Percentage, 3-Putt Avoidance and Putts Per Round. Pebble Beach ranked the toughest in putting percentage from 10’-15’, 15’-20’ and     20’-25’ while ranking 5th toughest inside 5’. Spyglass Hill on the other hand ranked as one of the easiest putting courses in nearly every category.

Top 5: Courses on the PGA TOUR
This week the PGA TOUR returns to Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of the top rated courses in the world. It's hosted U.S. Opens, The Clam Bake and numerous other high profile events, but how does it shake up against the rest of this year's schedule. Gary Williams, Billy Kratzert and Wayne Player share their thoughts on the Top 5 Courses on the PGA TOUR (Share your thoughts or Top 5 in the comments section):

Gary Williams
1. Pebble Beach ('It's America's Mona Lisa. It's the most remarkable golfing canvas in our country.')
2. Riviera
3. Bethpage Black
4. Muirfield Village
5. Quail Hollow

Billy Kratzert
1. Greenbrier ('The Old White TPC is an old style, straight forward course. Love the radar greens!')
2. Pebble Beach
3. Riviera
4. East Lake
5. Colonial

Wayne Player
1. Pebble Beach ('No golf course can replicate the great ocean views and overall experience of Pebble Beach')
2. Muirfield Village
3. Bay Hill
4. Quail Hollow
5. PGA National 

Featured Groups
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Coverage Begins Thursday at 2:30PM ET on Golf Channel

Thursday, 12:50PM ET, 1st Tee (Spyglass Hill GC) 
Phil Mickelson & Skip McGee, Kevin Na & Jimmy Dunne III

Thursday, 1:01PM ET, 1st Tee (Pebble Beach GL)
Dustin Johnson & Joe Rice, Kyle Thompson & Nat Hardwick

Thursday, 1:01PM ET, 10th Tee (Spyglass Hill GC)
Tiger Woods & Tony Romo, Arjun Atwal & Danny Lane