The PGA Tour heads for California this week and one of its most famous tournaments. Phil Mickelson defends the title in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
After his popular victory in last week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, Mickelson will look to continue his good run of form in a tournament he’s won four times in the past. In last season’s event he produced a scintillating final round of 64 to beat Charlie Wi by two strokes.
The AT&T Pebble Beach pro-am is one of the most popular tournaments on the PGA Tour circuit. With stars of stage and screen competing, the event always attracts large crowds. The tournament began life in the 1930s when Bing Crosby decided to give some of his golfing friends the chance to play with the top professionals by creating a Pro-Am event. The Second World War intervened but, in 1946, the competition was revived and it moved to it’s present home at Pebble Beach. Since then there have been some notable winners: Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods amongst them.
The event is contested over three courses – the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Spyglass Hill and the famous links at Pebble Beach. The Shore Course has a par of 70 compared to 72 at the other two venues, that means the 72-hole par for the tournament will be 286.
All 156 competitors will play each of the courses once before a 54-hole cut. The top 60 and ties will then contest the final round over Pebble Beach.
It’s set to be a chilly week and the forecast is for reasonably strong winds (often a factor at Pebble Beach) and possibly rain later in the week.
As ever, a great cast-list of celebrities will be teeing it up this week. Bill Murray (finally a winner with D.A. Points back in 2011) will be joined by Andy Garcia, Andy Roddick, Huey Lewis, Kelly Slater, Wayne Gretzky and others.
Venue: Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula CC and Spyglass Hill, California
Date: Feb 7 – 10
Course stats: Pebble Beach – par 72, 6,816 yards; The Shore Course – par 70, 6,838 yards; Spyglass Hill – par 72, 6,858 yards
Purse: $6,500,000 Winner: $1,152,000
Defending Champion: Phil Mickelson (-17)
Thursday 7 – Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Friday 8 – Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Saturday 9 – Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Sunday 10 – Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Dustin Johnson – He has a great record in this event with back-to-back victories in 2009 and 2010, plus three further top-10 placings. He’s already won once in 2013 and it would be no surprise if he added to the tally this week.
Jimmy Walker – Solid record at Pebble Beach and playing very consistently on the PGA Tour currently. He’s made 13 cuts in a row.
Ryan Palmer – He’s on a great run of form at the moment with a tied sixth and fifth place finishes on his last two PGA Tour outings. Look for him to continue in the same vein this week.
Key hole: 7th at Pebble Beach. Only 106 yards, the key to negotiating this hole is managing the wind. Some days it can be a flick with a sand wedge, others it’ll require a knocked-down 7-iron.
Skills required: Versatility. Players will have to contend with the different challenges posed by three courses as well as playing with amateur golfers.
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