By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Finding Nemo won’t be very difficult this weekend -- just look to the northeast and the massive snowstorm that will largely shut the area down this weekend.
Friday’s forecast for the Monterrey Peninsula isn’t all that much better with temperatures barely reaching 50 on what’s supposed to be a wet, gray day along 17-mile drive. Fear not, though: If you’re looking for a scenic escape, none is better than traditional aerials of golf’s most scenic landscape this weekend at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Here are five things to look for, whether you’re under a snow blanket or not:
1. Phil, Phil, Phil. We can’t get our fill of Phil Mickelson. Can he repeat at Pebble Beach? It’s an uphill climb but he owns the place with eight top 10s in 17 starts, including four wins. The most memorable of those might have come last year, when he shot a final-round 64 to dust playing partner Tiger Woods by 11 shots. The way he’s hitting his new driver, I like his chances. I also like Hunter Mahan’s. He finished second there in 2011, is off to a strong start and has a similar affinity for the place.
2. Two veterans worth watching: Jim Furyk and Lee Westwood. Both are making their PGA TOUR season debut this week. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of rust there is to shake off. So far, Westwood, who recently relocated from England to Florida (and began his season in earnest with a tie for fifth in Dubai), doesn’t appear to have much. Furyk? He opened with a 75.
3. If there’s an appropriate place for James Hahn to break out the Gangnam Style dance (aside from Phoenix, of course), it’s this celebrity-laden event.
4. Football season is over but the joy of watching a few notable names from the NFL is not. Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo are both in the field and both carry a low handicap. Jim Harbaugh and Bill Belichick are also playing, meaning there’s a high-hoodie alert for the latter, especially with temps a little chillier than normal.
5. What’s an AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am without Bill Murray? If you haven’t seen his new look, it’s worth tuning into just for that. As one reader pointed out, the Mur-stache is a “hall-of-fame duster.”