The Heart of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Meet some of the 2,000 volunteers who devoted their time and effort to the make the 2011 Pro-Am a reality. Whether it's their first year or their 60th, they will always be a member of the Pebble Beach family.
Drives and Putts Replace Tackles and Strikeouts
Current and former members of both the world-champion San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers hit the links on Tuesday for the Google Charity Shoot-Out.
Stars Align for a Great Cause
The 3M Celebrity Challenge paired world-famous entertainers, athletes and musicians on Pebble Beach Golf Links for a day of laughter, memorable moments and most importantly, the chance to give back.
The Tap Room Tradition
The Tap Room is a favorite spot for golfers, celebrities, locals, and anyone who enjoys a warm, inviting atmosphere. Visitors love the collection of prized golf memorabilia and of course, the great food and drinks.
Hollywood Stars Aren’t the Only Ones Shining This Week
The 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am kicked off with a First Tee charitable event for Junior Golfers. Meet some of the talented young golfers who benefitted from this terrific program.
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Time Capsule
For over 25 years, the Pro-Am has been an annual winter celebration on the Monterey Peninsula. But its history goes back even further. Take a journey back in time with our video time capsule.
- INSIDER STORIES
Golf's Infamous ‘Cinderella Story’ Comes True View Story
Bill Murray, the Clown Prince of Pebble Beach, became king for a day when he and partner D.A. Points won everything there was to win at the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am—Points notching his first PGA Tour title and the duo taking the Pro-Am team championship after Sunday's final round.
The Chicago-born Murray has become a fan favorite and annual staple of the event since his debut 19 years ago. On Sunday, he joined an elite class of amateurs who took home the title at Pebble Beach Golf Links, including baseball stars like Lefty O'Doul and George Brett; football heroes John Brodie and Dan Marino; musicians Phil Harris and Glenn Frey; actors Andy Garcia and Jack Wagner; and golf legends Gene Littler and Harvie Ward.
"It is such a positive experience playing on the Monterey Peninsula and there is so much positive energy in this tournament," said Murray, who together with Points posted a final-round 65 for a four-day total of 35-under 251. "It's a joyous experience to walk the course and be part of the excitement and the energy."
Points, who grew up in Illinois idolizing Murray's movies and characters, closed with a 5-under 67 on Pebble Beach Golf Links, two shots ahead of Hunter Mahan and four ahead of Tom Gillis. Points holed out for an eagle on the par-5 14th hole from more than 100 yards out then followed with a birdie on the par-4 15th. And despite his wayward drive on the 16th hole, he closed with three pars to lock up both the individual and team titles.
"It will take me a really long time to truly grasp what I was able to do with Bill," Points said. "To win at Pebble Beach, and with Bill Murray? My gosh, I don't think I could even dream it up that well."
Points, to whom Murray referred to as "knucklehead" throughout their post-round press conference, said that after Points made the birdie at No. 15, Murray could hardly stop laughing at the thought of actually winning at Pebble Beach.
"I could not speak," Murray said. "I realized that this is it. We have won this tournament. When we got to 18, I wanted to do something dramatic. I hit one really good shot, but unfortunately there was a tree in front of it."
That was about the only thing that got in the way during a week of picture-perfect weather, spectacular golf and fun-filled sights throughout the Monterey Peninsula.
The Ultimate Week of Golf at Pebble Beach Resorts View Story
Gorgeous sunshine every day, gentle offshore breezes, a room at The Lodge at Pebble Beach and a spot in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am—all while playing the best golf of your career. Anything else? How about taking home a Waterford Crystal trophy as the winner of the Jack Lemmon Award, the prize given to the amateur who helps his professional partner the most throughout the tournament.
That sums up the week that Blake Mycoskie not only dreamed about, but lived through during the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
"At Pebble Beach, I know I am in a different world. It is so surreal and so awesome," said Mycoskie, the 33-year-old founder of TOMS Shoes, a company that has distributed more than one million pairs of shoes to children in need around the world. "The Lodge is the nicest place I have ever stayed. I mean, we have a Jacuzzi on the patio. This is the ultimate experience for a golfer. And this whole week has been a dream."
In his blog prior to the first round, he wrote: "Hopefully you'll be seeing me and my partner, Vaughn Taylor, attempt to earn a place in golf history."
While Taylor didn't make history, Mycoskie added his name to a special list of players, helping his partner by 29 shots as they finished tied for second place in the team competition.
"It's almost surreal," Mycoskie said. "Being here is just awesome."
Last year at this time, Mycoskie had played so little golf that he didn’t even have an established handicap index. So when the former tennis player at Southern Methodist University was invited to play in the this year's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, he posted 20 scores and headed to the Monterey Peninsula as a 16-handicap with four dozen golf balls that he fully expected to need.
"I never played in a golf tournament before," he said. "Maybe a parent-child thing with my dad in Texas, but that would be it."
Mycoskie brought his father Mike for the week to be his practice partner and tournament caddie. "For us, this week has been something you never forget, coming to Pebble Beach," he said.
On the day before the tournament began, Mycoskie played 18 holes at Pebble Beach Golf Links, had lunch and a beer, and then took his dad out to play another nine.
"Playing 27 holes at Pebble Beach, it doesn't get any better than this," he said.
Another Father and Son Share that Special Moment at Pebble Beach View Story
Saturday was another moment frozen in time for a father and son playing the famed 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Except this time, it was during the third round of the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am—and the golfers were high-profile actors Kurt Russell and Oliver Hudson.
"We were walking down 18 and it made me think of the old commercials, with Ken Griffey Jr. and his father playing together in the outfield," said Russell, a former major league baseball prospect. "I looked over at Oliver and it was a pretty special moment to share with your son. I thought how lucky it was that we were getting to do this. It was just pure pleasure."
Russell, paired with professional Chris DiMarco, and Hudson, playing with Justin Leonard, also added to the magic with their spectacular play. At the par-3 17th, Russell hit a 7-iron to 10 feet and sank the birdie putt, which helped his team make the cut for Sunday's final round.
Russell had never played either Pebble Beach Golf Links or Spyglass Hill Golf Course before this week. "If you like playing golf," he said, "you always think about coming here. I am not the kind of guy who ever remembers a hole, but out here, you say, 'I will remember this.'"
A star actor since he was a child, Russell grew up watching the tournament on television, "when it was still 'The Clambake," he said. "I have been invited to play a few times but was never able to do it, or I wasn't playing enough golf. When this opportunity came, I jumped on it."
"It's been fun to play three days with Oliver," Russell said. "We try to do it once a year, and to come to Pebble Beach during a week like this, that was special. We had a good time together."
Spyglass Hill Just Like Home View Story
Getting to play Spyglass Hill Golf Course, one of the three courses featured in the annual AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, every day in high school was a pretty good advantage for PGA Tour rookie Nate Smith.
"Spyglass is such a challenging golf course—you are able to test yourself and test your limits," said Smith, a former Stevenson School golf star (Class of 2002), after shooting a 2-under-par 70 at Spyglass in Thursday's first round of the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
"It helped me a lot to be able to play Spyglass as our home course," said Smith, who now lives in the Phoenix area. "We would play nine holes pretty much every day. Most high school golfers don't have an opportunity like that."
When Smith reached the 18th tee, which is right next to a dormitory and the school's gymnasium—where he also played basketball—there was a group of a couple dozen students and teachers lined up to watch.
"I remember coming out and watching the tournament, and being in awe of the players," Smith said. "I was thinking, 'Are they in awe of me?'"
Growing up in Santa Cruz, Smith was originally the product of a city-owned municipal course, but his last two years at Stevenson helped guide him to a golf scholarship at Duke University. He was happy this week to spend some time with one of the current Stevenson golfers, who asked Smith how he made it to the PGA Tour.
"I told him that for some of the players out here, everything was almost easy," said Smith, "but for me it was not that way at all. There have been a lot of times that if I was mentally weak, I would have given up. But I think the more you put your mind to something, good things happen."
That theory played itself out in Smith's impressive opening round, capped by birdies on his final two holes, including a weaving, uphill putt from 35 feet that tumbled in on its last roll.
"That was nice, but I have to get to the range," Smith said.
His range of preference: Spyglass Hill. The old high school stomping grounds.
Most Memorable Shots at Pebble Beach Golf Links View Story
Pebble Beach Golf Links creates a memory of a lifetime for every golfer who walks its world-renowned fairways, including many of those in the star-studded field for the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. After a few of them shed light on their favorite holes across the course, here’s how they remember their favorite shots:
Ray Romano, comic/actor
"It was my first year in the tournament (2000) and I hit it down on the beach at No. 10. I was going to let it go, but my pro says to go down there, because it will make for good television. Well, you know you've hit a bad shot when you have to wait for the tide to go out before you can swing...It was my 'Agony Of Defeat' moment, like on 'Wide World of Sports.' I am still hearing about that shot 11 years later."
Craig T. Nelson, actor
"I was playing with Corey Pavin and when we came to the 18th hole, he tells me, 'You need to eagle for us to make the cut.' I get a shot there, so that meant I've got to make birdie on my own. I get up there and hit a clanging drive, then a 3-wood and 7-iron to about 25 feet. And make the putt. It was unbelievable…and the one and only time I made the cut."
Darius Rucker, musician
"We were playing a 'Hootie Match' among the guys in the band, and at No. 7 I hit a sand wedge to six inches. I thought I was going to make a hole in one...but then again I always do."
Kenny G, musician
"It was at No. 6, the par 5, and I was putting for birdie, net eagle, and made this 75-foot sliding bomb—that's the technical term, 'sliding bomb'—and that night they showed it on ESPN."
Tom Dreesen, comedian
"I chipped in at the 16th hole one year, and the gallery made this huge roar. It was kind of like the laughter you get from telling a joke. It was a real rush. I never thought I would hear that kind of roar for my golf game."
Whether it's fans, professionals or celebrities, each year at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am brings new excitement, old friends and, most importantly, more memorable moments.
My Favorite Hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links View Story
Acclaimed as one of the most beautiful venues in golf, Pebble Beach Golf Links is the hands-down favorite course of many contestants in this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. "Hallowed ground," comedian Tom Dreesen calls it.
"Pebble Beach is an iconic golf course," tour veteran Paul Goydos says. "And it's only gotten better and better."
Here's a look at the holes on the legendary links that a few of the players are eager to play:
Craig T. Nelson, actor
Favorite Hole: No. 3 (par 4)
Best Thing About It: "I like the design of the new hole (designed 1998), compared to the way we used to play it up the hill. It's harder for me, and I love that."
Darius Rucker, musician
Favorite Hole: No. 18 (par 5)
Best Thing About It: "It has the best combination of history and beauty of any hole in the world. That hole is just magic. In South Carolina, we have holes on the ocean, but nothing like that. Playing that hole has always been the coup de grace for me."
Dustin Johnson, defending champion
Favorite Hole: No. 18 (par 5)
Best Thing About It: "I look forward to coming to that hole because that's where it all happens."
Kenny G, musician
Favorite Hole: No. 3 (par 4)
Best Thing About It: "I love to hit that tee shot, a high draw over the trees. That way you can hit it far enough so you only have a short shot into the green."
Tom Dreesen, comedian
Favorite Hole: No. 18 (par 5)
Best Thing About It: "You have to stop sometimes to appreciate everyone who has played here before you. But I chipped in at 17 two years in a row, so for two years it was my favorite hole."
Young or old, weekend warrior or professional player, Pebble Beach Golf Links and its world-famous holes are on everyone's list of favorites.
A View from Above View Story
The 17th hole on Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of the best-known holes in golf. It evokes images of Tom Watson's perfectly struck birdie chip from the rough at the 1982 U.S. Open and his jubilant lap around the green. His confidence carried over to the final hole, which he also birdied, giving him a hard fought 70 and a dramatic and memorable two-shot win over Jack Nicklaus.
This week, players in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am face the 178-yard 17th hole, presenting a barely visible hourglass-shaped green. This corner of land jutting out into the Pacific seems to have its own microclimate. Depending on the placement of the pin and the wind's velocity, the 17th can be the cruelest and most exacting hole on the course.
The best view of this historic hole likely belongs to Bob Wishnie, the CBS technician and camera operator assigned to the tower overlooking the historical footprint. From his perch 16 feet above the ground, Wishnie has unobstructed views from tee to green on 17, as well as the entire expanse of the famed 18th hole.
Behind him lies Stillwater Cove, recognized for its calmness and relatively undisturbed marine environment, with vistas of Point Lobos and Carmel Beach beyond. An abundance of seals, sea otters and numerous marine bird species make their home in these protected areas and will likely get their share of airtime during the Golf Channel and CBS telecasts Thursday through Sunday.
Prior to the tournament, Wishnie readies the tower for the broadcast, setting up and checking the HD camera, fiber optic cables and literally "battening down the hatches."
Wishnie has played Pebble Beach Golf Links once and hit the flag on the 7th hole. "It’s a very special place," he said.
While the players who challenge the 17th hole may come and go over the years, one constant remains. Bob Wishnie towers above all with the best view in town.
First Tee Jitters Are Part of the Game at Pro-Am View Story
This week the first tee at Pebble Beach Golf Links will become a gathering place for Hollywood celebrities, pro sports stars and some of the most influential corporate leaders in the world. And they’re all going to be nervous wrecks.
The first-tee jitters are part of the game during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where even the most talented and successful people – some of them who have played in the event numerous times – just want to get the first shot out of the way.
The best advice for dealing with the first-tee jitters, says Laird Small, Director of the Pebble Beach Golf Academy, is to take slow, deep breaths. And remember that as lonely as you might feel on the tee, out of your comfort zone, you are not alone.
"The first thing is to realize everybody is going to be nervous," says Small, author of "Play Golf The Pebble Beach Way" (2010). "But really it is not nerves; it's adrenaline masked as nerves. And you have to manage it."
Small offers a simple tip:
- Count to four as you breathe in
- Hold the breath for a count to four
- Let it out the same way
"Do just a few," Small says. "If you do too many, you will hyperventilate and pass out, which probably isn't the best thing for your golf game."
Most of the high-profile amateur stars in the annual tournament succeed at dealing with their first-tee jitters. Others, not so much.
The legendary (but true) story about first-tee jitters at Pebble Beach involves the late Jack Lemmon, the Oscar-winning actor and passionate (if not gifted) amateur golfer. One of the most popular celebrities to ever play at Pebble Beach, Lemmon felt more pressure playing in the tournament than with any role he ever undertook.
One year, Lemmon and longtime pro partner Peter Jacobsen started the third round in prime position to fulfill Lemmon's lifelong dream to make the team cut. After the pros in the foursome teed off, Lemmon popped up his shot to the right of the tee. The ball drifted onto a balcony at The Lodge – which turned out to be Lemmon's own room, where the crashing golf ball prompted his wife to scream.
"Honey, I’m home," Lemmon deadpanned, not missing a beat.
"He deflected the outcome," Small says, "which is what we call NATO – Not Attached To Outcome. It's the key to staying focused on the process, rather than the outcome."
Small instructs his students – some who have played in the Pro-Am over the years – to accept they are doing the best they can, plus try to understand their tendencies under pressure.
"Jack Nicklaus always said that golf is a game of emotion and adjustment," Small notes. "So, when you step up to the first tee, don't hope that, 'This is the one that is going to go straight.'"
"If you fade the ball to the right under pressure," Small said, "then you better tee it up on the right side of the tee and aim left, which will allow the fade to bleed into the fairway."
And try to just enjoy the moment. Even when you are jittery.
Laird Small can be reached at (831) 622-8650.