Sun Stars and Phil at Pebble

By Associated PressFebruary 8, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- As anniversaries go, this is one the PGA Tour would like to forget.
 
It was 10 years ago at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am that Jeff Maggert took a one-stroke lead into the weekend and never hit another shot. Rain pounded the Monterey Peninsula, and with one hole at Spyglass Hill under water and a bleak weather forecast, tour officials felt their only option was to cancel the tournament.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson is hoping for another family celebration on the 18th hole Sunday.
It remains the only time in the 69-year history of the tournament that no one left town with a trophy.
 
That was but a distant memory Wednesday, when a morning sky still speckled with stars gave way to a horizon of orange and blue as the sun climbed over the most picturesque peninsula in golf.
 
'Is this not the most beautiful hole in golf?' J.L. Lewis said as he stood on the 18th tee, watching the turquoise surf crash into the rocks, blending the white spray with the green grass and cypress trees.
 
Phil Mickelson is the defending champion when the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am gets under way Thursday, a tournament known for its mix of celebrity and CEO amateurs, six-hour rounds, bumpy greens with 360 players spread over three courses, and a strong roll call of champions -- 20 of the last 25 have won majors.
 
Weather is no longer a topic, except to marvel at it.
 
'I think '01 was the last time I played here,' Chris DiMarco said. 'This is the second time I've ever seen the sun here, so that's good.'
 
The last time rain interrupted Pebble Beach was when Tiger Woods rallied from seven shots behind over the final seven holes to win in 2000. Woods stopped coming back two years later, frustrated by the greens, but Pebble Beach has such tradition it does fine without him.
 
Vijay Singh, who won two years ago, has not missed this tournament since 1994. Davis Love III has never missed Pebble Beach since turning pro, and he'll be making his 20th start this year.
 
Love was in the hunt in 1996 when the tournament was canceled. He was two shots out of the lead in 1998 when rain forced a six-month delay and Mickelson won in August. He was there when rain cut short the event to 54 holes in 1999. And he remembers the outcry that Pebble should move to a different spot on the calendar.
 
'This is the year we point to and say, 'See, we should always play,'' Love said. 'It can get good. The timing is right, right after football. This is hugely popular with the fans. It's the time of year to watch golf at Pebble Beach.'
 
The cancellation 10 years ago did bring change.
 
The PGA Tour didn't have a firm policy on how to deal with bad weather, treating each situation as it came up. The Houston Open in 1991 was rescheduled from April to October because of heavy rain. David Eger was the rules official in charge at Pebble in '96 when he made the call to scrub the event.
 
'This was the event that caused additional focus on the fact we did not have a set of standards, a set of guidelines, on how to operate in excessive weather,' said Henry Hughes, chief of operations for the PGA Tour.
 
The policy was adopted in 1997 and takes up four pages in the players' handbook. The priority is for 72 holes, even that means going to Monday. The Players Championship is the only event that is allowed to go until Tuesday.
 
But throw the book out to sea this week.
 
The forecast is for sunshine and temperatures in the '70s throughout the week, which should allow for great television no matter which name is atop the leaderboard or even if Bill Murray doesn't toss anyone into the bunkers.
 
The 180-man field is the largest on the PGA Tour, 60 players (and their amateur partners) spread over Pebble Beach, tough Spyglass Hill and Poppy Hills for the first three rounds with the final round at Pebble Beach.
 
Mickelson wrapped up his victory early last year.
 
He opened with a 10-under 62 at Spyglass, the most difficult course in the rotation and reputed to be the second-toughest in northern California behind Bayonet, a municipal course up the road in Seaside. Lefty never let up, winning by four shots despite closing with a 1-over 73.
 
This is his fourth tournament of the year, and Mickelson has yet to finish out of the top 10, although his only chance to win came at Torrey Pines when he was tied for the lead through 13 holes until three straight bogeys.
 
He plays his best golf on the West Coast, and he knows what it takes at Pebble Beach -- patience with the pace of play, and on the greens.
 
'It's very difficult to putt the week of the AT&T,' Mickelson said. 'I accept the fact I'm going to miss putts. I try from 20 and 30 feet to die the ball at the hole. The closer I can leave it, I will be able to two-putt. You just have to accept the fact guys aren't going to make every putt.'
 
One thing Mickelson won't have to worry about is the weather. Ten years after its lowest moment, Pebble Beach seems to be associated with sunshine.
 
Related Links:
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    Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

    Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

    “We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

    Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

    “It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

    It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


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    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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    How The Open cut line is determined

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

    Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

    The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    • After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

    • There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

    • There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

    The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.