Spotlight on: Daniel Berger hoping to repeat the trick in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Last year’s winner knows how to defend a PGA Tour title and is relishing the chance to follow in the footsteps of some of the greats on the Monterey Peninsula this week.

A scroll through the list of past winners at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California reveals a host of storied champions.

But perhaps the biggest takeaway when delving into the event's history is just how many players have won it multiple times.

Jack Nicklaus (3) and Tom Watson (2) shared five titles while Johnny Miller became a triple champion in 1994, landing his third win 20 years on from his first.

Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Davis Love are all dual winners but the true 'Princes of Pebble' are Phil Mickelson and Mark O'Meara. Incredibly, both have hoisted the trophy fives times apiece.

All good news then for this week's defending champion Daniel Berger as he seeks to match Johnson (2009 and 2010) and win the early-season west coast event in back-to-back years.

It's never easy to make a successful defence given the extra pressures and expectations but Berger has already shown he has what it takes.

In 2016, he won his first PGA Tour title when scoring a three-shot success in the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Twelve months later he won it again.

Now he'll attempt to repeat the feat at Pebble on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula.

Let's take a look at some of the key lines in Tuesday's press conference, his tournament record and how he's started the season.

Berger on his most positive memory from last year

"Well the second shot on the 18th I think I'll think about for a long time and then holing that putt (30-footer for eagle) to win.

Daniel Berger eagle Pebble Beach 2021

But this is one of my favourite events of the year, it was kind of different last year not having the amateurs (due to Covid restrictions), but I'm excited to get back this year and have some fun."

Berger on having the longest active cuts made streak on Tour with 13

"I didn't even know that! I played some very consistent golf and I've worked hard on my golf game to show up every week and feel like I can compete.

"And I think it's just, I can attribute that to the little things I'm doing at home and the work that I've been doing with my coach."

Berger on what makes him so successful in this tournament

"I played this event early on and I took a couple years off. I don't even know why, I just think that I wasn't prepared for the poa annua greens and the longer rounds and then I decided to come back and I've been successful here in the three times that I played it.

Daniel Berger AT&T win Pebble Beach Feb 2021

"So I think I've gotten better at understanding how to play on these California-style golf courses and that's why I wanted to come back and get off to a good start this year."

Berger on the weather conditions

"The three times that I played it it's been sunny and dry, so this will be the fourth, hopefully and it's nice weather, so I'm excited.

"I have watched it on TV in years past where it's been hail and raining and windy and so lucky that every time I've come it's been very nice."

Berger on the slow pace of play due to the pro-am format

""I think you have to be prepared for it, you have to understand that this is the way the week goes and if you're mentally ready for that, then you don't allow those emotions to overcome you and to affect your play and you stay patient enough to understand that this is just how the week is.

"And we don't get to see it that often so you just kind of go with the flow and just enjoy it. And it's not hard to do at Pebble Beach because obviously when you look up over to the ocean it's very peaceful and it's very beautiful and you just try to enjoy the environment that you're in."

Berger's course form

Berger was 10th in this event on debut in 2015, left it off his schedule for four years and then returned with a fifth place in 2020.

He returned in 2021 to shoot 18-under and win by two. Berger also contested the 2019 US Open at Pebble in June but could only manage tied 49th.

Daniel Berger Pebble Beach Feb 2021

The event is held over multiple courses (just two last year due to Covid). Here's the breakdown of his scores:

2021 - R1: Spyglass Hill (-5), R2: Pebble Beach (-6), R3: Pebble Beach (Evs), R4: Pebble Beach (-7)

2020 - R1: Spyglass Hill (-2), R2: Monterey Peninsula (-2), R3: Pebble Beach (-2), R4: Pebble Beach (-3)

2015 - R1: Pebble Beach (-5), R2: Monterey Peninsula (-5), R3: Spyglass Hill (-3), R4: Pebble Beach (-2)

Overall to par: -25 Pebble Beach (7 rounds), -10 Spyglass Hill (3 rounds), -7 Monterey Peninsula (2 rounds)

Berger begins this year at Monterey Peninsula.

Berger in the first round

Berger has twice shot 67 in the opening round. He did it in low-scoring conditions in 2015 when his 5-under lap of Pebble saw him end day one in tied 19th.

Daniel Berger putts Pebble Beach

The World No.16 also opened with 67 at Spyglass last year, enough for tied 11th on the first-round leaderboard.

His Thursday 70 at Spyglass in 2020 left him tied 44th.

Berger this season

He's only played twice since the Ryder Cup and didn't begin the new wraparound 2021/22 campaign until last month's Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Berger was quick out of the blocks, though, opening with three straight 66s and adding a closing 69 to take fifth place.

After a fortnight off, he contested last week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and took tied 20th after rounds of 67-72-68-71.

At both events Berger ranked 1st for Driving Accuracy but he managed to hit just 63.9% of Greens In Regulation at Torrey Pines (ranked 54th) where he registered Strokes Gained: Putting stats of 2.759 (ranked 15th) on the poa greens (same as Pebble).

Conclusion

Berger loves this event and a fourth straight top 10 beckons with the weather forecast set to play no tricks.

Don't be surprised if he's lifting the trophy again.

READ MORE: The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: The leading title contenders heading to the Monterey Peninsula

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