AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am preview

The PGA Tour is in California this week for the exciting AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. D.A. Points is the defending champion and Tiger Woods will make his 2012 PGA Tour debut.

DA Points and Bill Murray won last year (Getty Images)

Lowdown: The PGA Tour is in California this week for the exciting AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. D.A. Points is the defending champion and Tiger Woods will make his 2012 PGA Tour debut. The AT&T Pebble Beach pro-am is one of the most popular tournaments on the PGA Tour circuit. With stars of stage and screen competing, the event always attracts large crowds. The tournament began life in the 1930s when Bing Crosby decided to give some of his golfing friends the chance to play with the top professionals by creating a Pro-Am event. The Second World War intervened but, in 1946, the competition was revived and it moved to it's present home at Pebble Beach. Since then there have been some notable winners: Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods amongst them. Last season D.A. Points, partnering comedian Bill Murray, secured a memorable maiden PGA Tour victory. Together with Murray, a long-time fixture in the event, Points also won the Pro-Am section of the event. Tiger Woods, who starts this week, won the tournament back in 2000. He went on to win the US Open at Pebble Beach later in that year. The event is contested over three courses - the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Spyglass Hill and the famous links at Pebble Beach. The Shore Course has a par of 70 compared to 72 at the other two venues, that means the 72-hole par for the tournament will be 286.

Venue: Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula CC and Spyglass Hill, California Date: Feb 9-12 Course stats: Pebble Beach - par 72, 6,816 yards; The Shore Course - par 70, 6,838 yards; Spyglass Hill - par 72, 6,833 yards Purse: $6,400,000 Winner: $1,152,000 Defending Champion: D.A. Points (-15)

TV Coverage: Thursday 9 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Friday 10 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Saturday 11 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm Sunday 12 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm

Player Watch:

Dustin Johnson - He may have started 2012 poorly but Johnson will return to one of his favourite hunting grounds this week. He won this event in 2009 and again in 2010.

Spencer Levin - He'll be looking to bounce back from his disappointing collapse at the Phoenix Open in the same way Kyle Stanley did last week (Stanley blew a three-shot lead at Torrey Pines then came back the following week to win at TPC Scottsdale.) Levin is clearly on form and he was tied for fourth in this event last year.

Tiger Woods - For three rounds in Abu Dhabi he looked to be back to something approaching the form we expect from the former World Number 1. If he can find that game again, and string it together for 72 holes, he will be a factor this week.

Key hole: 7th at Pebble Beach. Only 106 yards, the key to negotiating this hole is managing the wind. Some days it can be a flick with a sand wedge, others it'll require a knocked-down 7-iron. Skills required: Versatility. Players will have to contend with the different challenges posed by three courses as well as playing with amateur golfers.

Where next? European Tour - Dubai Desert Classic preview

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?