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Our previous post was all about the celebrity faces that you can spot at the 2020 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Now, it’s time to focus on some of the PGA TOUR players who will be competing for the top spot in this year’s tournament.
Let’s start with the most pressing question of this year’s tournament: Will Phil Mickelson defend his 2019 title for a record-breaking sixth AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am win? Currently Mickelson is tied with Mark O’Meara for five tournament wins at Pebble Beach; a sixth would put him on top as the all-time winningest player at Pebble Beach. Mickelson’s 2019 victory was particularly impressive, as he overcame weather delays and even a Sunday hailstorm that caused the final two holes to be postponed until Monday morning.
This year, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation will honor Mickelson with a commemorative silver dollar coin that will be distributed to each 2020 participant. “Al Santos, Phil’s grandfather, was an original caddie at Pebble Beach from the time he was about 10 years old, earning 35 cents a loop,” said Steve John, CEO of the Foundation. “He was once tipped with a silver dollar which he kept in his pocket, occasionally rubbing it between his fingers to feel a little richer and better off than he was at the time. The same coin was eventually given to Phil, who today uses the original as a ball mark only when playing here at Pebble Beach.” Soon we’ll see if Phil’s silver dollar is his lucky charm!
Hot off his European Tour win in Saudi Arabia on February 2, Graeme McDowell is in the field at Pebble Beach this week. It’s noteworthy that McDowell’s Saudi Arabia win was his first European Tour win in five years.
McDowell holds four PGA TOUR victories and eight international victories, with a career-low round of 62. He’s also no stranger to Pebble Beach, having won the U.S. Open here in 2010. The positive momentum from his win in Saudi Arabia could very well carry over into his performance during the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Hailing from Norway, 22-year-old Viktor Hovland has already built up quite the resume at Pebble Beach as an amateur. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy won the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach in 2018. The following year his 72-hole score of 280 was the lowest ever achieved by an amateur at a U.S. Open, breaking a record previously held by Jack Nicklaus.
The definition of an up-and-coming golf professional, Hovland turned pro in 2019. While he has yet to claim a PGA TOUR victory and has only one top-10 finish to his name (a Military Tribute at The Greenbrier earlier this year saw him take T10), it has been speculated that 2020 could be Hovland’s breakout season.
Currently ranked No. 5 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Dustin Johnson is a two-time winner of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. In a stroke of luck (and skill) he won the tournament back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010. Johnson is also a former U.S. Open Champion and 20-time PGA TOUR event winner. This 6’4” South Carolina native finished second behind Graeme McDowell at the Saudi International last week, so he’ll be playing with a chip on his shoulder.
In addition to Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, two more AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Champions return to the field in 2020. Jordan Spieth won in 2017 and two-time champion Brandt Snedeker won in 2013 and 2015.
In golf, we know that it can be anyone’s game. All the more reason to tune in this week!