February 1 2013
Phil Mickelson has won four times at Pebble Beach. (How/Getty Images)
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.com contributor
• COURSE: Pebble Beach Golf Links, 6,816 yards, par 72. Framed by breathtaking views of Carmel Bay on one side and the Del Monte Forest on the other, the iconic layout has been a prime PGA TOUR stop since 1947. Designed in 1919 by amateurs Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, the duo was meticulous in building as many holes as possible along the craggy Pacific coastline. Though Pebble Beach hosted the first of five U.S. Amateurs in 1929, it wasn’t until 1972 that the U.S. Open became its first professional major. Four more Opens have followed, along with the 1977 PGA Championship. Spyglass Hill GC (6,953/72) and Monterey Peninsula Country Club (6,838/70) also are used for the first three days of pro-am competition.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• CHARITY: Monterey Peninsula Foundation, which has given more than $7.35 million to 232 Northern California organizations in the past two years. Last year, the foundation surpassed the $100 million mark in grants since the Pro-Am’s 1937 start.
• FIELD WATCH: Defending champion Phil Mickelson, seeking a fifth victory, and two-time winner Dustin Johnson head a list that also brings Lee Westwood to the Monterey Peninsula for his first visit since the 2010 U.S. Open. In all, the roster features six of the top 25 in the current world ranking. … David Duval, a runner-up three times, will make his 2013 debut. The former world No.1 has no status this year beyond a past champion. … Jordan Spieth, a two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion who turned pro last month, will play on a sponsor exemption.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 268, Mark O’Meara (1997), Phil Mickelson (2007).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Charlie Wi at Monterey Peninsula (1st round, 2012). Pebble Beach record: 62, Tom Kite (3rd round, 1983), David Duval (3rd round, 1997). Spyglass Hill record: 62, Phil Mickelson (1st round, 2005), Luke Donald (1st round, 2006).
• LAST YEAR: Mickelson notched his 40th PGA TOUR victory in scintillating fashion, storming back from a six-shot deficit with an 8-under-par 64 that produced a two-shot triumph over Charlie Wi. Mickelson’s 64 was three shots better than anyone else on the final day – with an added bonus of posting it while paired with Tiger Woods. A closing 75 left Woods nine shots behind Mickelson at the finish. Mickelson, who notched three birdies and an eagle in his first six holes, became the ninth player to reach 40 wins.
• STORYLINES: A fifth victory by Mickelson would draw him alongside Mark O’Meara, dubbed the “King of Pebble Beach,” for most wins in the event. Mickelson has found his form this week in Phoenix, following up Thursday’s thrilling 60 with a Friday 65 to fall one stroke short of the PGA TOUR’s 36-hole scoring record. … O’Meara isn’t in the field this year, opting instead for the Allianz Championship on the Champions Tour. … This year’s celebrity list includes NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo, baseball pitchers Matt Cain and Justin Verlander, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, comedians Billy Murray and Ray Romano, actors Andy Garcia and Josh Duhamel and Fox News anchor Bret Baier.
• SHORT CHIPS: Mickelson is the leader among active PGA TOUR players for victories at multiple-course events. Last year’s victory was Mickelson’s 13th; Woods notched No.12 with his victory at Torrey Pines. … With his sixth consecutive start to begin the season, Tommy Gainey lays claim to early-season “ironman” status. … Each of the past three odd-numbered years has seen the individual champion also part of the winning pro-am team. Two years ago, Points continued the pattern established by Mickelson (2007) and Johnson (2009). … Gene Littler is the only man to win titles in both the professional and amateur divisions – first in 1954 as a 23-year-old amateur, then 21 years later on the pro side.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. EST (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
• SIRIUS/XM PGA TOUR RADIO: Thursday-Saturday, 12-6 p.m. EST. Sunday, 1-7 p.m.