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.
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).
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.
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.