The iconic coastal views of the Monterey Peninsula never cease to amaze. Add a flurry of celebrities like Darius Rucker, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Kelly Slater, Jake Owen, Huey Lewis, Andy Garcia and Larry the Cable Guy scattered throughout some of the best talent on the PGA TOUR. Anything can happen in this beautiful place – including an upstart winner taking down three major champs. Welcome to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
THREE PLAYERS TO PONDER
- Jason Day: No worse than T11 in last four seasons at the event and a total of five top-10s in career from nine starts. Never missed the cut.
- Jordan Spieth: A happy place the Texan must be antsy to get to. Six starts, six top-25s including a win in 2017 and two further top 20s.
- Dustin Johnson: Two previous wins at Pebble Beach and four top-4 finishes (without winning) in his last five starts in the event. Coming off a European Tour win.
Three courses are in play this week (Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Monterey Peninsula), but you can’t go past the iconic stretch of beautiful golf that is Pebble Beach’s sixth, seventh and eighth holes. The 513-yard par-5 sixth, the 106-yard par-3 seventh and the 418-yard par-4 eighth at Pebble Beach hug the coastline and begin the stretch of seaside holes that defines the course. The seventh in particular is one of the greatest par threes on the planet.
The most difficult hole at Pebble Beach last season was the 418-yard par-4 8th, which played to a stroke average of 4.242 last year. A sheer cliff edge greets those who try to bite off more than they can chew on the tee shot meaning placement off the tee is critical. The approach shot is one of the more memorable in the golf world. Across the chasm – usually with a mid-iron – to a green guarded by five bunkers. Here’s a look at where all drives landed last year.
From PGA TOUR meteorologist Joe Halvorson: “Light shower chances are forecast to end near or just after daybreak Wednesday. Dry conditions return for the remainder of Wednesday and will continue through Thursday. Confidence is lower in the forecast for Friday through the weekend, though rain chances are expected to return as a pair of troughs work through the region. The timing and strength of these systems remain in flux, but at this time it appears rainfall will most likely to occur in two waves. The first wave is expected Friday afternoon through daybreak Saturday. Rain chances are forecast to be lower for much of Saturday in between systems, with the second wave of rain anticipated Sunday morning through Sunday afternoon”
BY THE NUMBERS
15: Half of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings are in the field. All AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am champions have advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs since the inception of the FedExCup in 2007, with eight of those winners making it all the way to the TOUR Championship (including multiple winners Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker).
4: The amount of International wins Ho Sung Choi has claimed. The South Korean who lost part of his thumb in a fishing accident and has a fun swing makes his much-anticipated PGA TOUR debut this week. Read more about him here.
23: Number of starts at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Phil Mickelson will have when he hits his first shot on Thursday. A win would be his fifth at Pebble, tying him for most in the event with the “Prince of Pebble Beach” Mark O’Meara. Eleven of Mickelson’s 43 PGA TOUR wins have come in California (second all-time behind Tiger Woods’ 14). He is on the cusp of a career milestone: a made cut this week will mark his 500th official made cut on TOUR.
Here are some of the celebrity handicaps:
0: Tony Romo
1: Adrian Young
2: Matt Ryan
3: Jake Owen, Alfonso Ribeiro, Kelly Slater, Colt Ford
6: Chris O’Donnell
7: Darius Rucker, Greg Kinnear, Andy Garcia. Michael Peña
8: Larry Fitzgerald, Joe Don Rooney
9: Wayne Gretzky, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Dreesen, Chris Harrison
11: Huey Lewis, Clay Walker
12: Pat Monahan
15: Larry The Cable Guy, Condoleezza Rice, Toby Keith
16: Bill Murray, Ray Romano
18: Thomas Keller
Tommy’s Pebble debut: England’s Tommy Fleetwood will make his Pebble Beach debut, playing on U.S. soil for the first time this season. Fleetwood is still searching for his first PGA TOUR win to go with his four on the European Tour. He had six runner-up results last season and perhaps feels right at home in the expected wet conditions.
“It puts a smile on your face for some reason,” Fleetwood said of Pebble Beach.
“I’ve been playing in hail stones and I’m still smiling. It’s just one of those few places in the world that has like an aura and an atmosphere about it and feel like really, feel very lucky to be playing golf this week.”
More than a clambake: The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am traces its roots to 1937 when entertainer Bing Crosby invited friends to get together for golf, a clambake and, to raise money for local charities. Today, the tournament touts an A-List lineup of celebrities and TOUR professionals while generating a significant charitable impact. In 2018, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, host organization for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, donated a record $13.2 million to benefit charities in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.
Pro-Am pinnacle: Alongside his amateur partner, Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Kevin Streelman returns to defend the team title. Since their 2018 victory, Fitzgerald made headlines with an ace at Seminole Golf Club in Florida while playing with former President Barack Obama. After the team win, Streelman went on to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs for the 11th consecutive season.
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