Punch Shot: Which celebrity would you want to play with at Pebble Beach?

By Jason SobelFebruary 6, 2013, 5:40 pm

This week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is one of the coolest spectacles in sports, pairing the world's greatest golfers with A-list celebrities from several different walks of life. But if you could only choose one celebrity playing partner, who would it be? GolfChannel.com makes their picks for the week on Monterey Peninsula’s premier golf courses.


Like most questions, I can take this one a lot of different ways.

Do I want a celeb with whom I could be starry-eyed and hang on his every word? If so, give this New England Patriots fan Bill Belichick and watch as I wear out the word “genius” over the course of 54 holes.

Do I want a celeb with whom I have a prior relationship? For years, I was one of Chris Berman’s producers at ESPN. Teeing it up with Boomer would ensure plenty of laughs and I think he’d help shake any nerves that I might have standing on the first tee at Pebble.

Do I want a celeb with whom I can win the tournament? Umm, in that case, can’t Phil Mickelson be called a celeb? I’ll pair with him and reap the benefits – even if he does have to play as a plus-6 handicap for the week.

In the end, though, I think I’d decide to be less fan, friend or competitor and continue my usual role of reporter. To me, that means pegging it with the best story in the field – recently named Augusta National member Condoleezza Rice.

Just think: After three days slogging it around the peninsula with Condi, I’d have enough material to fill a week’s worth of Masters preview content. And that’s better than winning the pro-am anyway. Or at least, that’s what I’m gonna let my bosses think.


Carson Daly.

For people of a certain age, the former host of MTV’s Total Request Live played a prominent role in our formative years. Daly and his spectacularly gelled hair came into our living rooms every afternoon, from 3:30 to 5:30, and answered all of our most pressing questions.

Important questions – crucial information – such as: What’s up with Britney and Justin? Is her next music video even more scandalous than the last?

Which activist group has Eminem upset now? Will my mom let me buy his latest CD?

Which boy band will make me least nauseas today?

Which rock group is more head-bangingly awesome, Limp Bizkit or Korn?

And there was Daly, in the middle of it all, counting us down from 10 to 1, interviewing the most mentally unstable musicians in the industry.

He’s older now – 39 years old, if you can believe it – and the innocence is lost. Maybe it’s because he has a talk show I’ve never seen. Maybe it’s because he dated Tara Reid.

Whatever the case, those simpler, happier times won’t soon be forgotten. One day, perhaps, I’ll finally be able to thank him.


Give me 18 holes with Ray Romano.

My wife is a fan who falls asleep every night watching re-runs of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” It’s like the Barones are our neighbors. We know more about Ray, Debra, Robert, Frank and Marie than we know about our actual neighbors. So give me five hours with Ray Romano, whom I met after his pro-am round at the Kraft Nabisco two years ago. What immediately struck me is that he must not have had to act much in his popular sitcom, because he always seems to be in character. He was off-the-cuff funny after his round with Paula Creamer.

“He’s a funny guy, and it’s like he’s not even trying,” Creamer said that day.


Wayne Gretzky.

Rarely do you get the opportunity to tee it up with a living legend in any sport, so I’m jumping at the chance to play alongside The Great One.

While it perhaps puts me in the minority among American sports fans, I still care about hockey. A chance to stroll the fairways and chat with Gretzky about his prolific years in Edmonton and his central role in perhaps the biggest sports trade of the last 30 years would be truly unique. It might require toeing a fine line, but I could perhaps also get some insight into how Dustin Johnson, daughter Paulina’s new beau, acted when meeting he and wife Janet for the first time. Surely that was a rendezvous that goes down in the 'Meet the Parents' Hall of Fame.

Speaking of Janet … even though it would likely earn me little more than a stern glare, I couldn’t miss a chance to ask Wayne if his wife, having been named years ago as the centerpiece of a large sports gambling ring, has any 'locks' for the upcoming season. Worst he could say is no…right?

Getty Images

Ahead by four, No. 1 ranking within Koepka's grasp

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One behind overnight leader Scott Piercy to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

Round of the day: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.

Best of the rest: Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama and Emiliano Grillo signed for 66. Casey went seven straight holes without a par, Matusyama was bogey-free, and Grillo did all his damage on the back nine after nine consecutive pars on the front.

Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.

Getty Images

Watch: Koepka flies ball 330 yards, drives green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2018, 4:44 am

It's a good thing par doesn't actually matter in tournament play, because if it did, the PGA Tour would have to consider 350-yard par-3s, and even those might not stop Brooks Koeopka.

Already ahead by two during Saturday's third round at the CJ Cup in South Korea, Koepka drove the green at the par-4 14th, carrying his ball 330 yards to the front edge.

The back-to-back U.S. Open champ would go on to two-putt for birdie and push his lead to three.

... The USGA is going to try that 350-yard par-3 idea, isn't it?

Getty Images

Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match

By Grill Room TeamOctober 20, 2018, 2:44 am

Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.

This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:

The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:

"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."

Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain. 

"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.

Getty Images

Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:29 pm

RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic

The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.

''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''

Quinn is 64th in the standings.

''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''

Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.

Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy MayfairLee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.