2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am preview: Who will prevail on the Monterey?
PGA Tour

2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am preview: Who will prevail on the Monterey?

Bill Murray, Tony Romo and Ray Romano are among the celebrities lining up alongside golf’s finest players for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week.

The world’s top three layers, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth, head up a strong and exciting field for the pro portion of the tournament. Spieth won it last year and is bidding to become the first man to successfully defend the title since Johnson in 2010. But he will have his work cut out as five of the top 10 players in the world are in the mix, and the field is packed full of danger.

Rory McIlroy will make his AT&T Pro-Am debut this week, providing the organizers with a great boost. He usually swerves most of the West Coast Swing but is building up his schedule in the US to prepare for the Masters in Augusta in early April. Reviewing Bovada for odds on favorites to win,  you will see that McIlroy is the joint favorite along with Spieth and Johnson to seize glory in Augusta this year. He finished second at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic last week and was third in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship the week before that, so he comes into the tournament in fine form.

He took three months off at the end of 2017 and slipped to 11th in the world ranking as he coalesced from an injury-filled 2017 campaign but shot back up to eighth thanks to a strong January.

“I feel better, I am a bit leaner and energy levels are probably a bit better and hopefully that'll affect how I perform on the golf course,” he said. “I want to win golf tournaments again. But you have to play them to give yourself a chance to win them in the first place. I'm playing quite a lot this year, so hopefully I will give myself plenty of chances and the more I give myself the more comfortable I will be in that position again.”

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, a two-time winner of this tournament and a remarkably consistent player, stands in his way, as does Spieth. The 24-year-old missed his first cut in eight months at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last week and will hope to roar back to form at Pebble Beach. Last year he won by four shots from Kelly Kraft and described it as a bucket-list place to win. He is right: Pebble Beach is a gorgeous course, straddling the rugged Northern California coastline and offering expansive views of the Carmel Bay. No wonder it charges some of the most expensive greens fees in the world.

Another former world No. 1, Jason Day, is also taking part and he too is in excellent form after winning the Farmers Insurance Open last time out.

Phil Mickelson will be aiming to end a long, nearly five-year winless run when he makes his 22nd appearance here this week. If he secures victory, he will join Mark O’Meara at the top as the joint most successful player of all time here.

Adam Scott is making his first start of the year, ending a seven-year absence from Pebble Beach.

Peter Jacobsen, who won here all the way back in 1995, is teeing off at the age of 63, alongside fellow veterans Vijay Singh, Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker.

Murray is always the celebrity everyone looks out for, and a range of A-listers and Z-listers are joining him. Chris O’Donnell, Carson Daly and Toby Keith will be there, alongside Chris Harrison from "The Bachelor." Plenty of musicians are taking part, including Jake Owen, Darius Rucker and Pat Monahan from Train. Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith join Romo as celebrity quarterbacks lining up, ensuring a strong field of athletes, celebs and supremely talented golfers will dazzle California this week.

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