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Entries in AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (8)

9:07AM

Global Golf Post: 'Crosby' Pro-Am Still Has Its Place

By Art Spander
For GlobalGolfPost.com

PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA — He once was called "the most popular man alive." To a country that only recently had emerged from a world war, in the late 1940s Bing Crosby, all talent, grace and charm, was a reflection of the best of America.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2014 Global Golf Post

10:06PM

At Pebble, it always has to do with weather

By Art Spander

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Somehow it always gets around to the weather. Somebody can be breaking par, even breaking records at these beautiful, tantalizing courses on which they play the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but the next thing you know we’re talking about the sunshine.

Or, as was the situation for the first round of this year’s tournament, the rain.   

“No sporting event anywhere,” wrote Dwayne Netland in The Crosby: The Greatest Show in Golf, “has been more closely associated with the weather than the Crosby.”

That book came out 40 years ago. The name of the tournament has changed. The obsession with meteorological conditions on the Monterey Peninsula has not.

“Weather?” the late Mr. Crosby observed. “There’s lots of it.”

There was enough Thursday to suspend play for about three hours roughly a half-hour into the first round, from 8:39 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Just rain, blessed rain missing from California seemingly since the 1880s, but enough rain to turn the putting greens into small ponds.

And enough to keep numerous golfers from playing a complete 18 holes. Add three hours to the normal six-hour AT&T round, and well, maybe you couldn’t get around Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill or Monterey Peninsula Country Club, but in that span of time you could fly from San Francisco to London. Fore!

Neither the early downpour nor the delay seemed to bother someone named Andrew Loupe, a rookie from Louisiana — with that name of French derivation, where else could he be from? — who in five previous PGA Tour events hadn’t made a single cut.

But there he was after 18 holes at MPCC, in the tournament lead with an 8-under par 63. (Yes, Monterey is par 70, compared with the 72s of the other two venues.)

Loupe hadn’t even started when play was halted, surely helpful in the routine. “I was walking to the tee,” he said. Then he walked from the tee under shelter. Another tale to add to the compendium of events at the AT&T and its predecessor, the one named for Bing himself.

Gary McCord has become an edgy commentator for the CBS golf telecasts. At one time the man could play. He was, while attending UC Riverside, the NCAA Division II individual champion, which led to him turning pro.

It was both his good fortune and bad to qualify for the Crosby for the first time in 1974, 40 years ago, when the winds blew and hail pounded. Standing at the 17th tee, after staggering through the famous par-3 16th at Cypress Point, McCord was a cumulative 15 over par.

The decision was made then and there by officials to scrub the round and begin anew. Golfers would return the next day without a stroke on their card. According to Jim Nantz, the main man for CBS and a new Pebble Beach resident, McCord, freed form his burdens, came back to shoot a 65, seven under par at Cypress, an improvement of 22 shots.

Johnny Miller was the winner of that '74 tournament, which also got hit by a snowstorm. Sochi should be so lucky.

At the end of the last millennium, the weather gods turned nasty. Once, in 1996, the tournament was called after two rounds, because it was decided the long par-4 16th at Spyglass literally was unplayable. David Eger, in control of PGA Tour competition, made the wildly unpopular declaration.

“We’ve played in worse than this,” said Ken Venturi, who in 1961 won in weather worse than that. “Just drop a ball and hit it.” Instead, the final two rounds were dropped, the purse split equally among the 180 pros.

That led to a situation in 1998, which remains unique. El Nino was ravaging the coast, and when both the Sunday and Monday rounds were swamped, the memory of 1996, a 36-hole event, haunted executives of both the Tour and the AT&T. What to do?

Return on August 17, a day after the PGA Championship at Sahalee in Washington state, and play the third round. The Tour chartered a jet and numerous players — not Tiger Woods — did come back. Phil Mickelson earned the first of his AT&T victories.

“It was weird to have a one-round tournament,” said Mickelson, “but after 1996, I was glad they decided to finish, and not because I won.” Oh, really?

They got only three rounds finished in 2009, although golfers did show up for a fourth round that proved impossible to play. Dustin Johnson was the winner, and the next year, when conditions were perfect, he repeated at a full 72 holes.

There’s a photo from 1967. Phil Harris, the singer-comedian, and pro Doug Sanders, in foul weather gear that made them look like fishermen on a wave-pummeled boat, were standing off Pebble’s 18th green with three announcers from NBC.

One of those holding a microphone was Ralph Kiner, the onetime baseball great, whose death at age 91 was announced Thursday. Let the rain fall.

11:07AM

Global Golf Post: Tiger Not The Only Needle Mover At Pebble

By Art Spander
For GlobalGolfPost.com

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is the tournament where a one-liner becomes as important as a one-putt and no swing, not even one as enticing as Sam Snead's, could ever be as beautiful as the view across Carmel Bay to Point Lobos.

It's played right after the Super Bowl, when most of the country is ankle-deep in winter misery — and sometimes the AT&T courses on the Monterey Peninsula are ankle-deep in mud.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2012 Global Golf Post

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