PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Any golf fan would have done what little Lulu did.
|INSIDE THE NUMBERS|
|EDUARDO ROMERO'S 2007 STATS|
Offering one of the most spectacular views in golf, the seventh hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links is a par-3 beauty that sits on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and beachgoers basking in the sun. Tiny Lulu escaped from her guardian and ran down the stairs to the tee box to give George Lopez a big kiss.
See, Lulu's a dog. A tee-tiny golden Pomeranian who wanted Lopez's autograph, as one fan suggested. As quick with a retort as he is to set up and hit his golf shots, Lopez fired back.
"Don't take her to Michael Vick's house."
Lopez usually partners with pal Lee Trevino, but joked that "Lee's so old he thought the tournament was next week." Instead he played with Argentine Eduardo Romero, runner-up in two tournaments in 2007 and the 2006 JELD-WEN Tradition winner, at the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.
Romero began Saturday tied for 12th but carded a 4-over 76 to finish the second round in a tie for 52nd. Despite his putting woes and an especially ugly flubbed chip on No. 16, where he progressed the ball a few inches, Romero helped his junior partner line up putts.
He might have shot himself out of contention, as leaders Hale Irwin, Des Smyth and Gil Morgan will all head into the final round at 9 under par for the tournament, but Romero and his junior partner are in sixth place after two days in the gross best ball pro/junior team competition.
Andres Pumariega, nicknamed "Puma," hails from The First Tee of Miami and began playing golf just five years ago after his best friend got him started in the game. Already a scratch handicap, the high school senior shot 3 under on the Pebble Beach Golf Links to make the cut.
Not only did Puma get his 15 minutes of fame when the foursome was a major feature on THE GOLF CHANNEL during the day, but he also relished the opportunity to play with Lopez and Romero.
"Oh my god, it was hilarious. George Lopez, it doesn't matter how bad he hits it, he makes some funny comment," he said. "It was exciting. Eduardo is a really good guy and a helluva player and it always makes it fun to play with someone that good. You learn a lot from him.
"Just this morning I thought it would be really windy out here and I was hitting my balls on the range and I couldn't hit a knockdown shot," Pumariega added. "I didn't even ask him, he came over and said, 'Look, you have to do this.' And he taught me exactly how to hit a knockdown. He did it just voluntarily."
Providing witty commentary was probably the most useful thing Lopez did on course all day, as he and Romero were upstaged by Pumariega and amateur Antin.
"It never gets easy playing in a pro-am," Lopez confided before taking his turn at the tricky par-3 No. 17. "I've played in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic several times and I still get nervous."
Antin agreed that playing in a Pro-Am can be a little tricky or -- as Lopez put it -- much harder than playing the course on Playstation. Antin offered two of the wackiest shots of the day: a drive that careened off the stomach of a volunteer and out of bounds -- Antin concernedly rushed to make sure he was alright -- and a drive on No. 6 that flew yards past the other three players after bouncing six or seven times on the cart path.
"This was my first Pro-Am. It was a little nerve-wracking but it was such a beautiful day. Though I've been to Pebble Beach I've never really played a full 18 holes, not to mention on the Champions Tour," said Antin. "I had a great time. The whole event is for the kids and The First Tee, there's nothing better. I have kids and it's about nothing else. It's about the kids and it's a great thing."
Lopez recruited Antin to participate in the Wal-Mart First Tee Open this week as a last-minute replacement for actor Luke Wilson. A famous hairdresser for the stars, including Madonna, Kirsten Dunst and Tiger Woods, Antin picked up the game from his well-known client.
"I did Tiger Woods' hair for 10 years. Just before he turned pro, I started doing his hair -- cut him and his mom and all of his girlfriends back in the day and, when he got married, I started cutting he and his wife's hair."
Then Antin fessed up.
"I'm the one who did those horrible blonde spots on his head. He made me do them. He said if you don't do them, I'm going to do them. So I said, ok, I'll do them."
Tiger gave him his first set of clubs and introduced him to the game. With eight years and no formal lessons (unless you count the ones from Woods), Antin went from never having picked up a club to a 5-handicap.
"A haircut for a swing lesson," Antin said. "I've never had a lesson and for me to go from never playing golf in my life to a 5 handicap in eight years, I'm alright. It might have something to do with a Tiger Woods swing lesson."
Antin also picked up a few tips from Saturday's round with Romero -- a former European Tour standout who is ninth in the Charles Schwab Cup standings on the Champions Tour in 2007 after eight top-10 finishes -- and even some lessons from junior Pumariega.
"He was striping it all day long," said Antin. "He is a great, great player. ... It's amazing how the kids today are just incredible. ... all the kids in The First Tee are incredible players."