Tournament: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, February 7-10, 2019
Course: Pebble Beach Golf Links, 6,816 yards, par 72. Spyglass Hill GC (6,953 yards, par 72) and Monterey Peninsula CC’s Shore course (6,958 yards, par 71) are in rotation the first 3 rounds.
Defending Champion: Ted Potter, Jr. You won’t find a more unlikely winner. Dustin Johnson, #1 in the world and the 3rd round leader, shot even par and finished 3 strokes behind. Tied with DJ was Phil Mickelson and Jason Day - both of whom made charges but couldn’t keep up with the fast-out-of-the-gate Potter.
Fun Fact: Pros are paired with amateur partners, some of whom are celebrites, some of whom are sponsors, some of whom get invited by the pro, and all of whom are wealthy. Bill Murray is the most famous, and he will regale the crowds with animated reactions to his golf, wear outlandish clothing, play decent golf, and steal most of the Saturday TV coverage.
How to Watch: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 1-2:45 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, 1-2:45 p.m. (GC), 3-6:30 p.m. (CBS).
Dawgs in the Field: 6 . Joey Garber, Brendon Todd, Kevin Kisner, Keith Mitchell, Russell Henley, and Sepp Straka.
The old Bing Crosby Celebrity Clambake... a fairly permanent Tour stop since World War II, and played on some of the most breathtaking golf real estate in the world (It just now happens to have AT&T as a corporate sponsor). And some of the most expensive golf real estate in the world. The Monterrey Peninsula in California has pretty pricey home markets, and the fact that a few golf courses stole some of the coastline for tees, grass, and greens means that the courses charge a pretty hefty fee. I believe a round at Pebble Beach goes from between $450-$600 depending on the time of year. But it is scenic.
The tournament does carry a nice purse and the requisite FedEx Cup points and benefits of a regular PGA Tour stop, so the field is littered with top players. The aforementioned Phil Mickelson (4 time winner), Dustin Johnson (2 time winner), and Jason Day are joined by Adam Scott, Tommy Fleetwood, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar and others. But this tourney is unique for the amateurs.
Of course Bill Murray is the top draw. Thus more Caddyshack references than even I care to hear. Aaron Rodgers and the Falcons’ Matt Ryan will be playing, with pretty good golfer Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals. Some country musicians such as Toby Keith, Darius Rucker, Colt Ford, and Jake Owen (I’ve heard of 2 of them). Huey Lewis, yes that one, often plays. Wayne Gretzky plays with Dustin Johnson (the father of his daughter’s children).
I couldn’t easily find the pairings for non-celebrities, so I’ll give as much as I have. And I’m not that hip on pop culture, so some of you may know the celebrities much better than I.
Joey Garber is playing with someone carrying the last name of Maxwell.
Sepp Straka is playing with someone carrying the last name of Skinner.
Kevin Kisner is playing with someone carrying the last name of Ford. It might be Colt Ford. Brendon Todd is playing with someone carrying the last name of Keller. This might be Thomas Keller, and that might be the restaurateur.
Keith Mitchell is playing with someone carrying the last name of Monahan. This might be Pat Monahan, and that might be the lead singer of Train.
Russell Henley is playing with someone carrying the last name of Arnault.
I’m surprised that former Bulldog Brendon Todd is playing. He turned pro in 2007, and was a mainstay on the PGA Tour from 2012-2016. He has over $6 million in career earning, and captured the 2014 Byron Nelson title. But his game went a little south and I did not think he had eligibility left. He may have secured a sponsor’s exemption to this. Whatever the case, he’s a good guy and a proud alum, so I’m rooting for him to have his best outing in years.
There hasn’t been too much success from former Bulldogs in this tourney. That may be a combination of factors: the other side of the country from where they live, 6+ hour golf rounds because of the amateurs, lack of familiarity of the courses since they play 3 different ones... I’m not sure. It’s a unique tournament with a unique format and a unique environment. It does make for good TV though. So tune in to see these Bulldogs chasing little white balls.
And as always...