PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – It could be raining or sleeting at Pebble Beach and you still can't take away from the beauty of this place. Lately, it's been raining quite a bit. Players are saying that the golf course is a bit soft right now and will play nowhere near as fast as this summer when it hosts the U.S. Open.
Many players like Retief Goosen and Luke Donald said they put Pebble Beach on their schedule to re-familiarize themselves with this gorgeous layout. Thanks to Arnold Palmer and his design team, you'll see six new championship tees and four new green complexes among other significant changes. The players have a lot to absorb this week.
The sun was shining brightly this morning on my way to emcee a function with Brad Faxon and Rocco Mediate. Both claim Pebble Beach is their favorite golf course in the world. Faxon played his first-ever round with Jack Nicklaus at Pebble in 1985 and the experience was unforgettable. It was the year before Jack captured his last Masters and a young Fred Couples was the third member of the group. Faxon said Jack was in his usual grind while he and Freddy were off talking about sports cars and anything that had nothing to do with golf. Also, Jack was constantly baffled at Freddy's decision to bomb away with his driver on holes where the Golden Bear chose to play for position.
Brad is a great story teller. I look forward to him sharing more on the air when he joins forces with NBC Sports. Faxon said he's definitely going to be challenging Johnny Miller and he has a special jab up his sleeve for their first week on air. He told me the story, which I’ll only say involves one of Johnny's off camera habits, further proving the point that he's an unusual character in the game.
On another note, I had dinner last night in the famous Tap Room in The Lodge at Pebble Beach. It's the 'who's who hub' of the tournament. Stand there for 10 minutes and you're guaranteed a celebrity sighting. In less than 2 minutes, I ran into Don Cheadle who told me his game is steadily improving. I also chatted with Tom Dreesen, Michael Bolton and John O'Hurley who were all having dinner together.