The Champions Tour's top moments from Pebble BeachAugust 27, 2008
Lauren Deason, PGATOUR.COM Editorial Coordinator
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Oh, the memories. Some of the Champions Tour players polled about their favorite moment at Pebble Beach couldn't come up with just one because they had so many favorites. For some, their most memorable experience at the seaside venue came at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the PGA TOUR. For others, it was at the Walmart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach on the Champions Tour. For one, it was -- how should we put this? -- a forbidden experience on the hallowed links. A total of nine players in the field this week can boast that they won on the Monterey Peninsula on the PGA TOUR. Mark O'Meara takes the cake, having won an astonishing five times at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Hale Irwin has won at Pebble Beach on both tours, while Tom Watson can claim victories in the 1977 and 1978 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am plus the unforgettable 1982 U.S. Open. Another Tom -- Kite, that is -- also captured a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, winning a decade later at the 1992 event. Lanny Wadkins, who will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame later this year, won the 1977 PGA Championship at Pebble Beach. John Cook, Fuzzy Zoeller, Peter Jacobsen and Ben Crenshaw round out the PGA TOUR winners list, while Craig Stadler, Scott Simpson, Gil Morgan and defending champion Jeff Sluman won on the Champions Tour.
Curtis Strange You know, we all tend to remember our good play as our favorite memory. That being said, I won the TOUR Championship here in '88 and it enabled me to win the Player of the Year honor, the money title and I became the first person to go over a million dollars in a year. I hate to say all of that because it's very self-serving but that's my favorite memory. It's nice to win on a great, great golf course like this. Scott Simpson Two years ago when I won the Walmart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. I have a lot of funny and great moments playing with Bill Murray but when I won, it was the best. I got to the last hole and I think I had 88 yards to the pin. I laid up because I knew I probably needed a birdie to win or go to a playoff. Earlier that year, Bill had played in the celebrity challenge and had holed out a sand wedge from 90 yards in the 18th fairway. So, I got over my shot and was taking a practice swing and Bill says, "You know, last time I was here, I knocked it in the hole." Everyone started busting out, they thought he was joking or something. I said, "Yeah you knocked it in but I'm still better than you are." I just remember getting over the shot and thinking, Wouldn't this be the coolest thing in the world if I knocked this in the hole? Well, I didn't. But I hit a really good shot, landed just past the pin and spun back to about eight feet. I remember making the putt and seeing Bill and he was laughing and clapping so hard off the edge of the green, thrilled that I'd actually win when he was there. He was giddy and gave me a big hug. It was really fun. Arnold Palmer Other thing I remember very well was playing the 14th hole in a year where I was leading the tournament. I hit it and tried to reach green in two. There were two tall pine trees on the right that were very large. I hit a second shot that hit the top of the tree and the ball bounced OB. That cost me the opportunity to win the tournament. When leaving the course the next morning, after having lost, that tree was lying across the fairway. Lighting had struck it. Too bad it didn't come a day earlier. Dave Stockton Playing with my sons, it would have been right around 1990 or 1991. The most memorable was when I was playing with my son Ronnie, who was my amateur partner, my son Dave was playing as a pro and my wife Cathy was caddying for Ronnie. We had the whole family out. David played with another amateur. Ed Dougherty Not a good question -- I'm a legend at Cypress Point after I made a 14 on a hole -- I had a 11 putts. Yeah, I don't have good memories, I just have that memory. Tom Purtzer The weather for the last round of the U.S. Open in 1992. Not necessarily a good memory but I just remember how hard it was. That would probably be the thing that sticks out in my mind the most. It was blowing about 40 miles an hour, I think it was a little chilly but the wind made it so hard and the conditions of the golf course were really tough. The greens were hard and scoring was impossible. I think I shot 78 and lost only about four or five spots. I also played here with Clint Eastwood one time so that was fun and played with the Vice President when he was the Vice President, Dan Quayle. Played with Roger Penske -- you know, probably playing with Penske was the most fun. Andy Bean When Clint Eastwood and Jack Lemmon and Peter Jacobsen were playing and Jack had hit it in the ice plant on the 16th hole at Cypress and he was hanging over a cliff trying to play it out. Really, I thought he was nuts. He was leaned over and Clint's holding him and Jake's holding Clint. It's kind of like a chain going on there. I guess the people liked it so it was worth it. Dana Quigley Seeing it in my rear-view mirror after I shot 88 at Spyglass the first time I ever played here. True story -- my first year on the TOUR in 1978, I made the cut at Phoenix so I got to play here, we were two days late getting here because of the rain, and my first round ever here at Pebble Beach was Spyglass in the pouring cold rain. Other than that, my junior golfer and I, Scott Langley won it together two years ago and seeing the happiness it put on his face was really my greatest memory here to be honest with you. We still keep in touch and text and email each other to this day. Jay Haas The Open here in 1982. I think I shot 68 in the last round and moved into the top 10. I just remember doing that on that stage and being a fairly young player. Gosh, every round of golf I've played is a favorite memory. It's such a beautiful place, it doesn't get much better than Pebble Beach. Loren Roberts I probably should say some of the AT&Ts and Wal-Marts but you know what my favorite memory is? When I was a kid, sneaking up here and parking on the side of the hill and walking down and teeing it up on No. 6 and playing around on the 14th green and then sneaking away. I did that a couple of times and back then you could get away with it, when I was like 17 or 18. That's my favorite Pebble Beach story. You couldn't get away with it now, they would be all over you. Tom Kite Winning the U.S. Open in 1992 at Pebble Beach. Everything was great about that week. D.A. Weibring There's a number of things through the years. I guess the first thing that pops into my head playing the Bing Crosby and the AT&T was how bad the weather was. But more recently, our weather has been terrific playing in August. I've really enjoyed my time playing with the kids. The one moment that really hits me was from the last day, I think it was in the first year of the event. My junior partner was from outside of Atlanta, Ga., Alan Fowler, and he was playing very well. He was paired with me and then Lanny Wadkins and Gary Koch were in our foursome so it was a pretty intimidating day for him. But he played brilliantly and made three or four birdies. We got to the 17th hole when Jim Nelford came over to interview us for NBC on the 17th tee. What I loved, I pulled Alan over and said you have to get in the interview. Nelly asked him, 'How is this? You are out here playing Pebble Beach on Sunday with the pros.' and he said, 'This is just terrific, what a great opportunity. But more than anything -- and he turned and looked right at the camera with great poise -- I just want to say thank you to The First Tee and Wal-Mart for giving us this opportunity.' I think they used that interview for the whole next year promoting what terrific young men and women played in the event. Matter of fact, I went back to them and said, you know you ought to give him another exemption for that and he came back the next year and we played again. Talking about this tournament, that moment was priceless. Then we played our shots and, as we were walking down the fairway, I was patting him on the back and saying you did a good job. He had missed the green on the right and I said to him there was a pretty famous chip-in on this hole, Tom Watson chipped in from over there. He said oh yeah, you know, I remember that and I said why don't you chip yours in from there? And by golly, he did. He played a little flop shot up in the air over the grass and it rolled right in the hole on national TV so that was pretty neat. Tom Jenkins The 1973 Bing Crosby Clambake. The last round playing with George Knudson. Hearing stories of what people have hit off the tee at No. 7 and never believing them. In the last round on No. 7, a black front came in and I actually hit a 3-iron to No. 7 and I've never forgotten that. If you tell people that they don't believe you since it's so short you could throw the ball on the green. That's my most memorable moment. George Knudson hit 2-iron ahead of me, I decided to hit a 3-iron. Joey Sindelar One of my favorite stories from Pebble Beach occurred at the 1992 U.S. Open. I can remember it got brutally windy that Sunday. Up on the third green the ball was just quivering so bad you didn't even know if you could putt. I was playing with Nick Faldo and we were about five groups from the end. On No. 7, that little par 3 where we've all heard the 3-iron stories but I've never seen conditions that make me have to hit a 3-iron there. Faldo was up first. It couldn't have been more than 110 yards from the back of the tee. He tried to punch a 6-iron and he pulled it and it got going a little flat. He flew it over the next tee and it almost went in the ocean. It was brutal, you couldn't control the ball. I went next and punched a 7-iron down there and the pin is back right and my ball lands on the front left. So now I've got a 50-footer and I'm thinking that's not that great but the crowd went wild. I was the first person in 11 groups to hit the green, that's what everyone was so excited about. That's Pebble Beach at its best. Gary McCord It was on the first hole in the Crosby in '78 or '79. I'm eating in Carmel Valley in a restaurant 20 minutes from the course. My caddie and I are sitting there eating and we are looking at the tee times in the San Francisco Chronicle. Our starting time is not the one that's on the green sheet. I threw down the paper and said "Look at that! What are we going to do? You've got to be kidding me." He said, "I got our time and it was different than that," but the one in the paper was our actual starting time. So we've got 23 minutes now for me to hit it in the tournament. This was on a Saturday. I drive right down Ocean Avenue and traffic is backed up getting in the Carmel Valley gate all the way to Ocean. So I just start going down the other side of the road. Flashing my lights, going on the other side of the road, all the way up to the first tee. At this point, I'd gone past a bunch of cops so I've got 5 cop cars chasing me. I told my caddie, "Give me a 3 wood, give me my golf shoes and try to hold the cops off." I got out of the car, grabbed it and ran. The cops pulled up behind me and I run to the first tee with my 3-wood and golf shoes. I figured I'd get to the 1st tee and they wouldn't bother me because it's a tournament. But here they come to the 1st tee. I put on my shoes and said, "Guys I'll deal with you later, I've got to hit it." There was no way in the world I was going to get it in the fairway. I hit it somewhere to the left, a low duck hook. The cops were nice enough to meet me afterwards to give me a ticket. Walter Hall Playing with the kids out here, we have a lot of fun playing with the juniors. I've played with a couple of nice young guys and a nice young lady last year. It was a lot of fun. Gil Morgan I guess winning last year after I had such a disaster in '92 here at the Open. Winning last year was somewhat of a redemption for that. Never can be a total redemption but for my own sake it was to come away with the championship. Mike Hulbert In the 1992 Open when Kite won, the last day the win got blowing about 40, 50 miles per hour. I was in decent shape, middle of the pack. I shot 75 that day and I vaulted all the way up to like 5th place. That was probably my favorite Pebble Beach moment. John Harris I played here with my son on his 16th birthday. It would have been 14 years ago. It was a beautiful day, just the two of us and we had a great time.
Even if they never won at Pebble Beach, most players hold a special place in their hearts for the course. That's why we thought we'd ask several Champions Tour players for their most memorable moments. Here's what they had to say: