If you had one more round Pebble Beach or Augusta National

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 10, 2010, 11:07 pm

It's U.S. Open week and in this edition of Punch Shots, travel editor Erik Peterson and TravelGolf.com senior writer Mike Bailey debate Pebble Beach vs. Augusta National. If you had one more round to play, which should you choose?


Let’s face it, I really want to play Pebble Beach, but before I die I have to play Augusta.

I feel fortunate to have walked both courses – though I haven’t played either one – and each has certain elements that blow the other out of the water, Augusta just has more of them.

Let’s start with the golf course setting, where Pebble’s position along Carmel Bay wins easily. Augusta has towering pines, blossoming magnolias and chirping birds, which makes it the prettiest inland course in the world. At Pebble, you could just take the setting at Nos. 7,8,9, 17 and 18 and have one of the world’s most spectacular settings for golf. Advantage, Pebble.

As for the course itself, the worst holes at Augusta are still great, while Pebble has a few that could be from your local muni – most notably No. 1. Advantage, Augusta.

What about conditions? Even if you’ve only seen Augusta on TV, you can’t tell me there’s a course in the world that’s in finer condition. The fairways feel like carpet, the pinecones are programmed to fall only in certain places at certain times, and the greens – I believe our good friend Gary McCord said it best when he infamously quipped, “I don't think they mow these greens, I think they bikini wax them.” Advantage, Augusta.

Next is history. To be fair, Pebble has an impressive résumé of historical moments when you consider Jack’s 1-iron and Watson’s chip-in at 17, not to mention Tiger’s 15-shot romp in 2000. But four good U.S. Opens and a bunch of Clam Bakes still doesn’t match Augusta.

Augusta was founded by Bobby Jones and designed by Alister McKenzie, with Nicklaus, Woods, Hogan, Snead, Nelson, Player, Mickelson and Palmer all among the multiple winners. Enough said.




Augusta National is on a pretty nice piece of property, and it's designed by the best -- Alister MacKenzie, with Bobby Jones. There are loads of azaleas (trucked in when necessary) and we know the course so well from its history and TV. But Pebble Beach Golf Links, with apologies to Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, has God Almighty as its architect. And its pedigree, with five U.S. Opens and Bing Crosby's clambake, is pretty special, too.

Yeah, I know that conditioning at Augusta is as good as it gets. But after playing Pebble last month, I can tell you that superintendent Chris Dalhamer and his crew have the 110th U.S. Open venue pretty close. So if they're fairly even conditioning-wise, and if you rate the layouts as comparably great, the wild card is the palette on the Pacific Ocean. No inland course can compare to Monterey Peninsula coastline.

Just think about it for a second. Starting with the par-3 fifth, you get these incredible views of the water, the bluffs and the lone Cypress tree that sits atop the par-5 sixth. Then there's the seventh, the best short par 3 in the world, set along black rocks protecting the green from the surf. Looking back across Stillwater Cove is the view of the 18th, perhaps the best risk-reward par 5 in all of golf. And forward are the incredible holes of eight, nine and 10, all giving you a front row seat of one of nature's most splendid works.

And if you think the inland holes at Pebble are ordinary, think again. Pebble is never boring -- on any hole. Then, it's back to the ocean to the par-3 17th, where Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson both hit incredible shots to clinch U.S. Open victories, a piece of history that rivals anything in golf.

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.