Top 10 Pebble Beach Moments

By Randall MellJune 14, 2010, 8:21 pm

2010 U.S. Open

With the U.S. Open returning to Pebble Beach Golf Links this week, we look back at 10 memorable moments in the history of tournament play at the famed seaside links:

1. Watson’s chip-in at the 17th

Jack Nicklaus mounts one of his famed charges in the final round of the 1982 U.S. Open, with five consecutive birdies on the front nine.

With a bogey at the 16th, Tom Watson falls into a tie for the lead with Nicklaus, the leader in the clubhouse.

After hooking a 2-iron left of the 17th green, Watson is vulnerable with Nicklaus poised to win his fifth U.S. Open title. But that’s when Watson pulls off one of the great escapes in U.S. Open history. From the deep rough left of the green, Watson holes his chip and goes on to win his only U.S. Open title.

2. Nicklaus’ 1-iron off the flagstick

With the wind howling in his face at the 17th tee in the final round of the first U.S. Open played at Pebble Beach, Nicklaus puts the finishing touch on his title in 1972, bouncing a 1-iron off the flagstick, leaving him just a foot from the hole to set up birdie and his victory.

3. Kite’s chip-in at No. 7

With the winds whipping 40 mph in the final round of the U.S. Open in 1992, Colin Montgomerie looks like he’ll win getting to the clubhouse at even-par 288. Even Nicklaus thinks as much in the television booth with ABC, proclaiming Montgomerie the victor. Kite, though, holes a chip from deep rough left of the seventh green for birdie and steadily marches to an even-par 72 for a two-shot victory.

4. Woods’ muscled 7-iron at No. 6

In what may have been his best shot all week at the 2000 U.S. Open, Tiger Woods muscles a 7-iron more than 200 yards from the deep rough at the sixth hole, reaching the par 5 in two to set up birdie. It was just the second round, but the extraordinary nature of the escape showed fellow Tour pros that nothing was going to stop Woods on his march to a record 15-shot victory.

5. Woods’ hole-out for eagle in miracle comeback

Amid a remarkable charge, Woods holes out with a wedge from 97 yards for eagle in the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 2000. The shot helps him come from seven shots behind Matt Gogel with seven holes to play and win. This is four months before Woods wins the U.S. Open by 15 shots at Pebble Beach.

6. Jones’ birdie putt stops short

Bobby Jones, vying to become the first player to win three consecutive U.S. Amateurs, ties the course record the first time he tees it up at Pebble Beach in a practice round before the 1929 U.S. Amateur. He breaks the course record in another practice round. But at the final hole in his opening match, Jones leaves a birdie putt short and Johnny Goodman beats him 1-up in an upset that shocks the golf world.

7. Jack soaks in the grandeur

In a delay in play at the 18th tee before his final tee shot in his final U.S. Open, Jack Nicklaus sits on the wooden fence and gazes into Carmel Bay. It’s a poignant moment full of magic for the four-time U.S. Open winner at his favorite golf course. He would go on to reach the final green in two with a 3-wood from 261 yards. Wiping away tears in his eyes at the 18th green, he can barely see to putt and makes par in his final hole.

8. Miller’s fabulous two-putt

At 46, with a wretched putting stroke marred by the yips, Johnny Miller two-putts from 20 feet at the final hole to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 1994, the last of his 25 PGA Tour titles. He also becomes the first player to win the event in three different decades.

9. Dr. Gil’s double-digit failure

With a birdie at the third hole in the third round in 1992, Gil Morgan becomes the first player to reach double digits under par in a U.S. Open. He is 12 under by the time he reaches the eighth tee and the winds grow malevolent off Carmel Bay. He would play the rest of the championship in 17 over par with Kite passing him on the way to victory.

10. Hale Irwin’s remarkable ricochet

Trailing by a shot at the 72nd hole of the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am in 1984, Hale Irwin hooks his final tee shot left and toward the ocean. His ball strikes the rocks on the shoreline and ricochets back into the fairway. Irwin goes on to make birdie, then beats Jim Nelford in a playoff. 

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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”

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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break

By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.

“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.

Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.

Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.

“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”

It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.

“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.

“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”

This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.