HONOLULU (AP)—Ollie Nutt can’t recall how long it has been since there wasso much interest and speculation in the field for the Pebble Beach NationalPro-Am—and that was after Tiger Woods announced he was playing.
Woods is set to play with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, although thepro-am pairings aren’t set until Feb. 7, the Tuesday of tournament week. Nutt,president and CEO of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, said the tournament hasbeen in touch with Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, and hopes to hear bythe end of the week if he will accept an invitation to play.
Also expected to play is Tom Brady, who hopes to get New England back intothe Super Bowl, which would be played the Sunday before the AT&T Pebble BeachNational Pro-Am.
Nutt can more easily measure the interest in ticket sales than phone calls.
“This last week, after Tiger committed, we’re up 35 percent,” Nutt saidTuesday after hosting the tournament’s media day. “I think Saturday could be asellout. We’ve been hitting 34,000, 35,000. We’ve set the maximum at 37,500, andI wouldn’t be surprised if we sold out. We won’t go more than that. We stillwant the spectators to have a good experience. And with the rotation of threecourses, we know we can handle that number.”
Pebble regular and “Caddyshack” star Bill Murray stole the spotlight lastyear when he teamed with D.A. Points , who captured his first PGA Tour event. Fornow, the focus has shifted to Tiger and the quarterbacks.
Nutt said Romo and Woods have said they were interested in playing aspartners. As for the speculation that Tebow would join the foursome if heplayed, Nutt said, “I don’t see that as likely.”
DRESSED LIKE A KING: Arnold Palmer Enterprises and Quagmire Golf cloth havedeveloped a new clothing line called “Arnie,” designed to reflect Palmer’sclassic look from the 1950s through the 1970s.
They found the PGA Tour player they believe is perfect for the look—RyanMoore .
Moore is a throwback, even wearing a skinny tie with a cardigan sweater onoccasion. He will wear the “Arnie” collection on tour and make marketingappearances for the company.
“Mr. Palmer is among my all-time idols as a golfer and a person, socompeting in these clothes and being so closely associated with his style legacyis a dream come true,” Moore said. “The research that went into each piece isreally evident and when you combine those timeless elements with advancedtechnical fabrics you’ve got something great.”
The collection was developed in part by going through Palmer’s personallibrary of photographs. It will be distributed this year over six months, withthree styles—the 1950s (fitted pants and tops, small collars and shortersleeves); the 1960s (wider pant legs and collars); and the 1970s (slightly widercollars, with gray as the signature color).
Geoff Tait, creative director for Arnie and Quagmire, said Moore was oneveryone’s list to wear the clothes.
“He truly gets our vision and is a dapper guy who’s always movingmainstream menswear trends onto the fairways,” Tait said.
NAME GAME: You’ve heard stories about players who take time off and move upin the world ranking. How about the case of Michael Thompson , who moved up 52spots after not playing one week?
It’s a true story—although it’s the product of confusion over his middleinitial.
Thompson was coming off a rookie season on the PGA Tour in which he finished98th on the money list to easily retain his card. He played in the inauguralThailand Golf Championship at the end of the year and finished third behind LeeWestwood and Charl Schwartzel . When he looked at the world ranking, he actuallydropped two spots to No. 183.
“I got back from Thailand and saw that I got no points,” Thompson said.
He called his agent, and before long the tour and world ranking board wereinvolved.
Thompson played his first PGA Tour-sanctioned event at the 2008 Masters, theyear after he was runner-up in the U.S. Amateur. Because there already was aMichael Thompson in the ranking archives, he was assigned “X” as his middleinitial. This is a common practice. He played the Masters, U.S. Open andTraveler’s Championship in 2008 as an amateur, and he tied for 28th in his prodebut that fall in the Texas Open.
When he earned his card, the tour entered him in the system using his properinitial—“H” for Hayes.
But the Michael X. Thompson remained in the system and was awarded the 12.8points for a third-place finish at Thailand that should have gone to Michael H.Thompson.
There was no golf played the following week, but in the final world rankingof 2011, the points were restored, and Michael H. Thompson had gone from No. 183to No. 131.
CITIZEN CARL: Carl Pettersson started his 10th season on the PGA Tour with aminor change: He’s not an American citizen.
He moved from Sweden to England when he was 10, then to North Carolina whilestill in high school. His father was an executive for Volvo. Pettersson neverleft, however. He played golf at North Carolina State, married a local girl, andsettled in Raleigh to raise a family.
“I’ve been here for 20 years. My kids were born here. My wife isAmerican,” Pettersson said. “I haven’t lived in Sweden since I was 10. I justwanted to do it because of my kids. And I feel American. It’s hard to say thatbecause I know I was born in Sweden. But I played junior golf here, went to highschool here.”
Pettersson said the process included fingerprints, a background check and ahistory test.
“And I got 100 on that, which I was proud of,” he said. “They hadquestions like when the Declaration of Independence was written, and somequestions about the Constitution. I crammed it all in the night before,memorized it and then forgot it.”
POLICY BOARD: Ben Crane , Harrison Frazar and Scott Verplank are the nomineesto be chairman of the Players Advisory Council. Voting lasts for about a month.The chairman eventually joins the policy board.
They are part of a 16-man PAC that was announced Tuesday. The other playersare Stewart Cink , Jason Day , Ken Duke , Charley Hoffman , Matt Kuchar , JoeOgilvie , Carl Pettersson, Justin Rose , Patrick Sheehan , Webb Simpson , ChrisStroud , Bo Van Pelt and Mark Wilson .
DIVOTS: The minor changes the world ranking board approved in 2010 now arecomplete. The new season began with 52 being the maximum tournaments that countas the divisor. … Johnson Wagner and Harrison Frazar were the only players tostart the season with top 10s in the two Hawaii tournaments. … Only fivewinners of the Sony Open did not play at Kapalua the previous week in the 14years since the Tournament of Champions moved to Maui. … Tom Pernice Jr.played the final round at Waialae with Kevin Chappell , who wasn’t even born whenPernice first played the Sony Open in 1986.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Steve Stricker has played the week after winning a PGATour event eight times in his career. His only finish in the top 10 was a tiefor ninth in 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship.
FINAL WORD: “The PGA Tour, I mean, it’s the Nationwide on steroids.”—Jhonattan Vegas .