The PGA Tour returns to California this week for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Here are six featured groups to watch (all times local; click here for full-field tee times):
Dustin Johnson-Wayne Gretzky, Pat Perez-Michael Lund (9:06 a.m. Thursday at Monterey Peninsula, 8:22 a.m. Friday at Spyglass Hill off 10, 9:50 a.m. Saturday at Pebble Beach):
Here’s hoping they’re mic’d for sound during the first three rounds. Johnson, of course, is a two-time winner of this event, and he’s already found the winner’s circle this year, at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. But this pairing is interesting for more reasons than that. Johnson has been dating Gretzky’s daughter, Paulina, for a few months, and their relationship has been very, um, public on social-media sites. Meet the Parents … at Pebble!
Jason Day-Jim Harbaugh, Matt Bettencourt-Matt Cain (8:22 a.m. MP, 10:01 SH off 10, 9:06 a.m. PB):
It’ll be interesting to see Harbaugh’s emotional stability after a wild loss Sunday in the Super Bowl (and to his brother, no less). Belichick played here last year, just a few days after a stunning loss in the Big Game, so it seems Pebble Beach is a popular landing spot for the brokenhearted. Cain, meanwhile, should have plenty of support from the local fans. The San Francisco pitcher threw a perfect game last year and led the Giants to another World Series title.
John Mallinger-Andy Roddick, Jerry Kelly-Aaron Rodgers (9:39 a.m. MP, 8:55 a.m. SH off 10, 8 a.m. PB):
Two of the best athletes in the field – and, thankfully, in the same group. Roddick retired from tennis last September, so he’s had plenty of time to work on his game. Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were bounced from the playoffs on Jan. 12, which could still be a sore subject for fellow Wisconsinite Kelly.
Ricky Barnes-Bill Belichick, James Driscoll-Brian Kelly (8:44 a.m. MP, 8 a.m. SH, 9:28 a.m. PB):
The Hoodie and Kelly will have plenty to talk about, after both of their teams fell short of hoisting a championship. Get ready to see a lot of these guys on the telecast, even when they aren’t discussing X’s and O’s.
Joe Ogilvie-Randall Stephenson, Jason Bohn-Condoleezza Rice (8:22 a.m. PB, 10:01 a.m. MP off 10, 9:06 a.m. SH):
Being grouped with the former Secretary of State has to be an ideal group for Ogilvie, who has been a longtime member of the Player Advisory Council and who could, one day, be named PGA Tour commissioner.
Phil Mickelson-Skip McGee, Rod Pampling-Charles Schwab (9:39 a.m. MP, 9:06 a.m. SH off 10, 8:11 a.m. PB):
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Mickelson, the defending champion here and last week’s winner in Phoenix. Lefty shot a final-round 64 here last year to roar past fellow playing competitor Tiger Woods and win by three shots over Charlie Wi.