The First Look: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
February 01, 2019
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- February 01, 2019
- Ted Potter Jr. stole the spotlight at the 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. (Ryan Young/PGA TOUR)
Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, owners of six Pebble Beach titles between them, seek to add to their totals as they top the marquee along with a resurgent Matt Kuchar and defending champion Ted Potter Jr.
Jason Day, who shared runner-up honors last year alongside Mickelson and Johnson, also is back in quest of an elusive first Pebble Beach crown. This year’s pro-am field runs heavy on country musicians (Toby Keith, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker, Colt Ford), joined by comedian Ray Romano, surfer Kelly Slater and quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan.
FIELD NOTES: Adam Scott, fresh off a runner-up finish at the Farmers Insurance Open, comes to Pebble Beach for a second straight year. The Aussie remains in pursuit of his first win since 2016 at Doral. … In all, Pebble Beach expects to welcome 16 of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings. … European Ryder Cup hero Tommy Fleetwood makes his Pebble Beach debut, playing on U.S. soil for the first time since last year’s FedExCup Playoffs. … Doug Ghim, who tied for 20th at Torrey Pines, steps back into the fray on an exemption. … Peter Jacobsen, age 64, is one of six entrants who have crossed the 50 threshold. The others: Davis Love III, Jerry Kelly, Steve Stricker, Vijay Singh and Kenny Perry. … Korean pro Ho Sung Choi, a recent winner in Japan and an Internet sensation for a swing that ends in a near-pirouette, tees it up on a sponsor invite.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
STORYLINES: Mickelson is back for a 23rd start at Pebble Beach, where a fifth win would draw him alongside Mark O’Meara atop Pebble Beach’s all-time list. Eleven of Mickelson’s 43 PGA TOUR wins have come in California, plus seven runner-up finishes. … Johnson makes his first TOUR start since the Sentry Tournament of Champions, having played two of the past three weeks in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia. … Though Day owns four top-6 finishes at Pebble Beach in the past six editions, the Aussie has yet to finish on top. He arrives off a share of fifth at Torrey Pines. … Arizona Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald defends the team division title he won alongside Kevin Streelman. Fitzgerald recently made headlines with an ace at Seminole Golf Club’s 13th hole – with former president Barack Obama as a playing partner.
COURSE: Pebble Beach Golf Links, 6,816 yards, par 72. Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the scenic marvel along Carmel Bay gets two turns in the spotlight this year with the U.S. Open to follow in June. It’s been a PGA TOUR staple since 1947, when crooner Bing Crosby revived his popular “Clambake” pro-am after World War II. Amateurs Jack Neville and Douglas Grant worked to build as many holes as possible along the Pacific coastline, a plan that puts Pebble Beach at or near the top of every list of America’s top courses. Though Pebble Beach welcomed the first of five U.S. Amateurs in 1929, it wasn’t until 1972 that the U.S. Open first arrived. Four more Opens have followed, along with the 1977 PGA Championship. Spyglass Hill GC (6,953/72) and Monterey Peninsula CC’s Shore course (6,958/71) also are utilized over the first three days.
For those visiting the area, must-play courses include Poppy Hills (Pebble Beach, Calif.) and Pasatiempo GC (Santa Cruz, Calif.). Book your reservations via TeeOff.com.
72-HOLE RECORD: 265, Brandt Snedeker (2015).
18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Sung Kang at Monterey Peninsula (2nd round, 2016). 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: Potter stole the spotlight from his big-name pursuers, making four birdies on the front nine and closing with 11 consecutive pars to finish three shots clear of Johnson, Mickelson and Day. An opening bogey made for an uncertain start, but it proved to be Potter’s only blemish on the way to a 3-under-par 69 that sealed his second PGA TOUR victory. Johnson shared the top spot until No. 7, when Potter chipped in for birdie and Johnson couldn’t save par after flying the green. Johnson’s Sunday 72 was his first par-or-worse round at Pebble Beach in five years. Mickelson carded 67, Day shot 70 and Chez Reavie rounded out the runner-up foursome after a 68.
HOW TO FOLLOW
TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 1-2:45 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, 1-2:45 p.m. (GC), 3-6:30 p.m. (CBS).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (featured groups). Sunday, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. (featured groups).