Things went from bad to worse for Phil Mickelson on Saturday at Pebble Beach. First, Mickelson's drive on 18 landed on the beach left of the 18th fairway. While looking for his ball near the water, Mickelson fell on his butt on national television. Then his third shot found the hazard, and he wound up making a triple bogey to make the cut on the number. Check out Phil's spill below.
Category: Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Tiger Woods won't be returning to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am next week after playing in the event last year, according to Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Woods, as expected, will not play in the upcoming AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, scheduled for Feb. 7-10 on the Monterey Peninsula. Tournament director Steve John confirmed Woods’ plans in an e-mail today.
“Much to our disappointment, Tiger will not be playing in the AT&T this year,” John wrote.
Woods returned to the AT&T last year for the first time since 2002. He played well for three days, planting himself in contention, and then faded with a final-round 75 alongside Phil Mickelson (who shot 64 to win).
Woods has not played the West Coast Swing events at both Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach since ’02, so his decision to return to Torrey this month didn’t bode well for Northern California golf fans.
Since Woods's caddie Joe LaCava told reporters that Woods won't be playing the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles ("I tried to talk him into it," LaCava said), the Pebble announcement means that Woods's next start will be at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Feb. 20., an event he's won three times.
Woods is a creature of habit as well as notoriously choosy when it comes to Tour stops, so it appears his addition of Pebble Beach last year might have been a one-time-only appearance. According to the Chronicle, he has had issues with the tournament in the past.
He won the AT&T in 2000, with a memorable Monday comeback, but he soon grew disenchanted with the bumpy poa annua greens. Sketchy weather, long rounds and celebrity-driven crowds probably didn’t help.
Woods never specified why he chose to return last year, but it was widely rumored that he did so to fulfill a corporate obligation to AT&T, a onetime sponsor.
It looks like Johnny Football is going to have a little more time to focus on his day job.
Johnny Manziel, who recently wrapped up a Heisman-winning freshman season at Texas A&M, is reportedly an avid golfer, and he drew interest from tournament organizers at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. But a lack of available slots and the specter of NCAA rules have apparently combined to sink Manziel's chances for this year's event, according to the Global Golf Post.
Inviting Manziel, wrote Monterey Peninsula CEO Steve John in an e-mail to The Post, “actually was discussed amongst the Tournament committee but at that point the field was complete. I think he’ll get solid consideration in the future; I understand he’s got game.”
But the Pebble Beach source said strict NCAA regulations also contributed to the tournament’s decision to back off on Manziel. Apparently Manziel would have had to pay his own entry fee, typically close to $20,000 for amateurs, or run afoul of college sports’ governing body.
“Don’t know about NCAA rules,” John added. “But (that) sounds logical regarding the entry fee.”
“Oh my goodness!”
That was CBS Sports analyst Nick Faldo talking about Bill Murray’s silky swing at Pebble Beach on Saturday, not his camouflage ghillie suit. Here’s video of Murray’s drive on the second hole. He also shows decent form punting a football. Analyze that, Nick.
Murray and his partner D.A. Points were the defending champions in the pro-am portion of the event this year, but they ended up just outside the cut line at 19 under.
Even with Tiger Woods and assorted NFL quarterbacks in the field, the biggest stars at the Crosby Clambake are the golf courses. On Friday Woods will tee it up at Monterey Peninsula Country Club's Shore Course for the first time in competition, bringing the spotlight to the tournament's newest attraction.
In 2010, the Shore made a smashing return to the rota after a 33-year absence. In the interim the course had been totally revamped, and the Shore wowed the pros with its graceful routing, artful bunkering, imaginative greens, superb conditioning and endless ocean views. Phil Mickelson declared it "one of my favorite courses on Tour." Stuart Appleby went so far as to offer this sacrilegious tweet, referencing a more famous course down the road: "Monterey is a great course, better then PB."
MPCC and the PGA Tour have a deal in place through 2014, and it's expected that the club will remain a long-term fixture. It's a classic win-win: both the tournament and the reputation of MPCC have been greatly elevated. But as part of the next deal, it's possible that golf fans will be seeing less of the Shore Course. That's because, in an absolute embarrassment of riches, MPCC boasts another terrific 18 holes: the Dunes Course, a 1926 collaboration between fabled course architects Seth Raynor and Robert Hunter.
In the late-'90s Rees Jones performed a makeover, and in the last few years he has redone bunkers and added some macho new tees. The Dunes is the longer, tighter and tougher of the two courses, and while it does not have the start-to-finish elegance of the Shore or quite as many ocean vistas, it does boast one of the Peninsula's best par-5s, the lovely ninth hole, which plays through the dunes. It also has one of the world's most spectacular par-3s, the 175-yard 14th hole, which demands a full-blooded carry over the churning Pacific.
Says one MPCC member, "A lot of the people here think it would be pretty neat to alternate the courses for the tournament. There are some clubs out there with two very good golf courses—Winged Foot, Olympic and Whisper Rock come to mind—but no other club has two courses hosting a PGA Tour event."
Steve John, the recently appointed tournament director of the Monterey Peninsula Golf Foundation, which oversees the Pro-Am, says that adding the Dunes to the mix will be discussed when the next agreement is hammered out between the club and the Tour. "The Shore has been so well-received by the players and looks so great on TV, it'd be tough to leave it, even for a year," says John, an MPCC member. "But there's no doubt the Dunes is the more demanding course, and it would provide a great test for the tournament. It certainly has its own personality. I don't know what will happen, but it's an intriguing idea."
Even more intriguing is the notion of a composite course taking the best holes from both courses and combining them into one 18-hole layout, as was done for the recent Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. Once a year MPCC members play an event on a composite; the first four holes and final two of the Shore are dropped in favor of 10 through 15 of the Dunes, creating a course in which every hole has a view of the ocean. While conceding it's not very likely that such a layout would be used for the Pro-Am, John can't quite disguise his enthusiasm. "How cool would that be?" he says.
(Photo: MPCC's Shore Course during the 2010 Pebble Beach Pro-Am; Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- In Tuesday’s press conference, Tiger Woods was seemingly in good spirits and relaxed as he fielded questions for 30-plus minutes. Asked if Woods was as happy as he seemed, caddie Joe LaCava, who is still on a high after his Giants won the Super Bowl, attributed Woods’s current demeanor to his clean bill of health.
“When you feel good for the first time in a long time, you're obviously going to be happy and feel good about yourself, so I think that's part of it, that he's feeling good and not in any pain,” said LaCava, who was heading out Wednesday to finish mapping some holes on Pebble Beach. "I think that translates into being happy, and so does playing well.”
Perhaps Tiger's positive state of mind has something to do with the people around him these days.
“I think we get along great,” said LaCava, who compared Woods to his longtime boss, Fred Couples. “We talk sports all the time, kind of like Fred. He's a 15-year-younger version of Fred. He loves sports, and that's what we talk about most of the time.”
(Photo: Eric Risberg/AP)
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Dustin Johnson, who had knee surgery in the off-season, hasn’t had the results he’s hoped for so far in 2012, but perhaps the pieces will come together at Pebble Beach, where he has some memorable history.
The 27-year-old won the 2009 and 2010 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and, more famously, suffered an epic collapse at Pebble later that year at the U.S. Open. He started the final round with a three-shot lead, which quickly disappeared when he triple-bogeyed the second hole, double-bogeyed the third and shot 82.
“I always enjoy coming back,” Johnson said in between smashing drivers on the range Tuesday. “Obviously I’ve had a lot of success here, so I always look forward to this week. I have a great partner and a good group, so we’re going to have a lot of fun.”
Johnson attributed his stellar record at this event in part to the more relaxed pro-am format.
“We go out there and we have fun,” he said. “You know, I think that’s why I like it. It doesn’t seem like there’s quite as much pressure on you this week, no matter what’s going on. You’ve got your amateur partners with you, and you usually just have a good time, and I just enjoy the atmosphere and these golf courses.”
Johnson is partnered with Joe Rice, an attorney and friend. Kyle Thompson and Nat Hardwick, CEO of Landcastle Title, complete the foursome. It’s no coincidence they’re all South Carolina natives.
After withdrawing from the Humana Challenge due to a stiff back, Johnson, who finished T43 in San Diego and T61 in Phoenix, has been frustrated with his game, especially his putting.
“It’s been a little bit of a process, coming off an injury,” said Johnson. ”I hadn’t been swinging all that well, so it’s been kind of hard to fit me for a driver, but I think we have it pretty dialed in now this week with the new r11S, so I’m excited about that.”
He said his knee is feeling just fine, but he hasn't been walking every day he plays because he doesn’t want to overdo it.
Johnson has also been searching for the answer to his putting woes. He pulled his old faithful Scotty Cameron at last week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open and replaced it with a TaylorMade Itsy Bitsy Spider Ghost putter. And this week?
“I have a whole bunch of putters,” said Johnson, with a hint of exasperation. “I don’t know which one I’m going with yet."
(Photo: Carlos M. Saavedra/SI)
Fresh off saving the American dream in his inspiring Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler, Clint Eastwood is taking on the challenge of saving golf. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Eastwood will be “creative board chairman” and “founding shareholder” for the Back9 Network, a fledgling golf lifestyle network.
In his new role, Eastwood, 81, will meet with the Back9 brass once per quarter to go over programming and casting choices for the network, which is currently in talks with distributors and is slated to launch later this spring. Back9 executives declined to comment on the nature of those conversations.
“He’ll be a big picture sounding board,” said Back9’s chief executive James Bosworth, who was an assistant pro at Pebble Beach in the mid-1990’s when he first met Eastwood. The pair remained in touch, and continue to play golf together. “It was natural to seek his advice,” Bosworth added, noting that Eastwood, along with his wife Dina, has been consulted and supportive of the Back9 concept since its inception some two years earlier.
“There’s no better guy to go to for a golf media company.”
Eastwood is a longtime golfer who owns Tehama Golf Club in Carmel, Calif., and he is a part-owner of Pebble Beach Golf Links. [Photo: Eastwood waits to tee off at the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am in Pebble Beach in January 1974. Associated Press]
Gary Player says Rory McIlroy has ‘as much talent as I’ve ever seen’
Nine-time major winner Gary Player said Rory McIlroy is one of the most talented golfers he has ever seen in an interview with Reuters.
"Rory's swing is so magnificent," purred Player, slowing down his voice for emphasis. "He's got as much talent as anybody I've ever seen," the 76-year-old told Reuters in an interview at a Laureus sports awards event at Championship (second division) soccer club Millwall in south London.
Player said the only imponderable about U.S. Open champion McIlroy, 22, was his desire.
"Nobody knows what's inside of the man, how much passion he has," said the nine-times major winner. "Is he prepared to go through the pain barrier?"
Tom Watson’s chip-in at 1982 U.S. Open named best shot in Pebble Beach history
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Ron Kroichick lists the top 10 shots in Pebble Beach history, and we don't think he'll get many arguments over his first choice.
1. Tom Watson's chip: This might be the most famous shot in golf history. Watson arrived at the 71st hole of the 1982 U.S. Open tied for the lead with Jack Nicklaus, who already had completed his round. Nicklaus sensed he might win when Watson's tee shot on No. 17 sailed left and settled in thick rough.
The pin was tucked close to that side, so Watson didn't have much room to maneuver. Caddie Bruce Edwards encouraged him to "get it close," prompting Watson to reply, "Get it close? I'm gonna make it!"
He dropped the shot softly onto the green -- and the ball zoomed downhill and into the hole. Watson skipped onto the green in celebration, pointing at Edwards and saying, "I told you!"
"I say what it was: a lucky chip," Watson said in a 2010 interview. "I took dead aim and fortunately it hit the pin and went in.”
Spoiler alert: Kevin Costner did not make the list. [Associated Press photo]
Tweet of the Day
From Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson:
Put your next drink on Daniel Chopra’s tab, and make it a double.
In his practice round for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Monday, Chopra aced the par-3 seventh and then aced the par-3 17th. The San Jose Mercury News has the story:
The Swede aced not only the world famous par-3 seventh hole but also the historic 17th in preparation for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which starts Thursday.
According to the National Hole-In-One Registry, the odds of a touring pro making a hole-in-one are 3,000 to 1. The odds of making two aces in the same round are 67 million to 1.
On No. 7, he used a 52 degree wedge from 102 yards. On the 176-yard 17th, site of Tom Watson's chip-in in the 1982 U.S. Open and Jack Nicklaus' 1-iron in the 1972 U.S. Open, Chopra used a 7-iron.
Afterward, Chopra went down the street to play Cypress Point. Yup, it’s good to be a Tour pro.
Man stabbed with club shaft in ‘slow play’ brawl at Texas course
The Fort-Worth Star Telegram reports on a scary brawl at a Fort Worth golf course that left one man “close to death.”
Clay Carpenter, 48, of Springtown said he is recovering from a punctured femoral artery and massive blood loss. He said the brawl broke out when his group of three tried to play through the group in front of them.
"People get in arguments every day on every golf course in America," Carpenter said. "But 99.9 percent of the time no one takes it this far."
According to police spokesman Terry Grisham, the fight started when a threesome on the course thought the foursome in front of them were playing too slow.
The brawl broke out about 3:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Golf Club at the Resort on Eagle Mountain Lake.
Grisham said that a foursome was playing on hole No. 13 and that the three golfers behind them, believing that the four were playing too slow, wanted to play through.
Carpenter said a course marshal instructed the four to allow the three to play through, and that's when the "gentleman's game" turned ugly.
As the golfers were fighting, Carpenter said, he was on top of another man when he was stabbed with the golf club shaft.
Caroline Wozniacki follows Rory McIlroy during Dubai practice round
You know how it is with these power couples. If they want to see each other, they have to meet at the workplace. So tennis pro Caroline Wozniacki joined her boyfriend Rory McIlroy for a practice round Monday at the Dubai Desert Classic. The Daily Mail (UK) has the story:
Rory McIlroy may be fine-tuning his game ahead of an assault on the Dubai Desert Classic this week, but he still found time to pose for a few holiday snaps with the missus.
The Northern Irishman was joined on his practice round at the Emirates Golf Club on Tuesday by girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, the women's world No 4 tennis player.
Sport's golden couple have been spotted together at various locations around the globe in recent months as they try to snatch some time together amid their busy schedules.
(Credit: David Cannon, Getty Images)
Tweet of the Day
Only way to make the patriots defeat feel better.Going to play Augusta National the next 2 days with my dad. Gonna be unreal. #hellofriends— Keegan Bradley (@Keegan_Bradley) February 7, 2012