Super Bowl Atmosphere at Pebble Beach

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 6, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmWith the Super Bowl now over and done, the PGA TOUR steps center stage to showcase this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
With a stellar field, a star-studded mix of celebrities and the world famous Pebble Beach Golf Links playing host, the PGA TOUR season starts to pick up a bit of steam.
Five of the top 10 players in the world will be on hand, including world No. 2 Jim Furyk, two-time champion Phil Mickelson and 2004 champ Vijay Singh. They'll be joined in the field by a pair of Europe's finest in Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington.
Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk should be well rested as he comes to play Pebble Beach. (Wire Images)
But the way things are at Pebble Beach, the aforementioned superstars may take a backseat to celebrities that give this TOUR stop a Super Bowl feel.
The usual suspects will all be here - Bill Murray, Ray Romano, Kenny G., Kevin Costner, Huey Lewis, George Lopez and Kevin James.
But make no mistake that the golf doesn't take a backseat here. A quick look at the past champions of this event and you'll see why - the late Payne Stewart, Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Singh and Davis Love III just to name a few.
Woods, however, has not played in the event since his tie for 13th in 2002. One reason is the fact that he plays halfway around the world in Dubai the week prior to Pebble Beach and doesn't normally play a European Tour event and a PGA TOUR event in back-to-back weeks.
And that's obviously good news for the rest of the field seeing that Tiger has won the last seven events he's teed it up in.
Another person who will be missing from the field is last year's champion Arron Oberholser, who will not be back to defend his title due to an injury that will force him to miss four to six weeks of action.
'This couldn't have happened at a worse time for me,' said Oberholser. 'Missing the chance to defend my AT&T title on my favorite courses in the world is just awful. I said last year this is my fifth major and I meant it.'
Heres our list of players to watch for from four different categories: Superstar (top-10 ranked player from the Official World Golf Ranking); Second Tier (guys outside the top 10, but no lower than 100); First-Timer (a player who has never won before on TOUR); Veteran (a guy who has played 10-plus years on the PGA TOUR and may or may not have won in some time).
Davis Love III
Davis Love is a two-time winner of this event. (Wire Images)
Like already stated, Mickelson has twice won this event and as recently as 2005. But his start to this season has been absolutely dreadful. Therefore, world No. 2 Furyk is the pick this week. He's coming off a tie for fourth at the Sony Open in Hawaii and will be fresh and ready to go having not played in three weeks. Furyk has played this event 10 times and has three top-5 finishes.
Second Tier
The format at Pebble Beach calls for the players to play three different courses for the first three days - Pebble Beach, Poppy Hills and Spyglass Hill. And one of the best players to have success when events are played on multiple courses is Davis Love. Four times in his career Love has won playing in this type of format, including twice here. He held off Singh for his first win in this event in 2001 and then battled Tom Lehman for a victory two years later. In all, he has six career top-10 showings at Pebble Beach.
The results from the first two trips Mike Weir made to Pebble Beach were fruitless, a pair of missed cuts. The last four trips you ask? A tie for third, a tie for fourth, a runner-up and another tie for third last year. The 2003 Masters champion is most certainly due to finally get into the winner's circle. The three courses are some of the shortest the players face all year which brings it into the short-hitting Weir's wheelhouse.
A long-time resident of California, and a former winner of the California State Amateur Championship as well as a First-team All-American at Cal, Charlie Wi should feel quite comfortable at Pebble. Though his last name has gotten him some unwanted attention due to its close association to a certain Hawaiian teenager, Wi has had a couple of quality starts to his season with a T-32 at the FBR and a top-10 at the Buick. It should be noted that he is working with the same coaches as newly crowned champion Aaron Baddeley.
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    Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

    John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

    The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

    That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

    He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.