|AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - February 08, 2010
AT&T PEBBLE BEACH NATIONAL PRO-AM
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, CA
Par: 36-36—72 Yards: 6,816
Spyglass Hill Golf Club
Par: 36-36—72 Yards: 6,833
Monterey Peninsula Country Club
Par: 36-36—72 Yards: 6,900
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $6,200,000Winner: $1,116,000
2009 Champion: Dustin Johnson (201, -15)
Johnson Ready for Title Defense
at AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Heavy rain hit the Monterey Peninsula in 2009 during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, but that didn’t dissuade Dustin Johnson. His third-round 67 took him from a two-shot deficit through 36 holes to a four-stroke advantage after the third round. When rain continued in the area Monday, tournament officials canceled the final round, with Johnson picking up his second PGA TOUR title—to go with his 2008 Turning Stone Resort Championship win.
Johnson, who finished 14th in the FedExCup a year ago, is back in the Monterey, CA, area to defend his title at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. In 2010, Johnson has made three of four cuts, with his best finish coming last week at the Northern Trust Open, where he tied for third.
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Notes
Mark O’Meara and Phil Mickelson jointly hold the tournament record of 268. O’Meara set the original mark in 1997 when he edged David Duval and Tiger Woods by a stroke. Mickelson later matched the mark in 2007 when he rolled to a five-stroke victory over Kevin Sutherland.
There have been 10 playoffs in tournament history, with the first occurring in 1962 when Doug Ford outlasted Joe Campbell in a one-hole extra session. The longest stretch between playoffs came between 1992 and 2008. Mark O’Meara defeated Jeff Sluman in a one-hole playoff in 1992, and there wasn’t an extra session until 2008 when Steve Lowery came from behind to catch Vijay Singh and then made birdie on the first playoff hole for the win. It was Lowery’s last PGA TOUR title.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of AT&T’s title sponsorship of this event, the longest-running continuous relationship on the PGA TOUR.
A year ago, Dustin Johnson won this event after rain forced the cancellation of the final round. The last time this tournament didn’t go the full 72 holes was in 1999 when Payne Stewart defeated Frank Lickliter II by a stroke. That was the second year in a row that the event was weather-shortened. In 1998, Phil Mickelson edged Tom Pernice, Jr. in 54 holes.
Besides Dustin Johnson, who is looking to successfully defend his title and become the first to do so since Mark O’Meara in 1989-90, five other past champions are playing this week. They are two-time champion Davis Love III (2001 and 2003), Steve Lowery (2008), three-time champ Phil Mickelson (1998, 2005 and 2007), five-time winner O’Meara (1985, 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1997) and Vijay Singh (2004).
Also entered in the field this week are three multiple-runners-up at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Mike Weir has finished second twice, including last year (he awas also the runner-up in 2005), while David Duval came in second in 1995 and 1997. While Vijay Singh won in 2004, he’s also been the runner-up here three times—in 2000, 2001 and 2008.
Retief Goosen returns to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, a year removed from his second-round 64 at Pebble Beach Golf Links, a score that matched his second-lowest score in his PGA TOUR career. Goosen was third at this event a year ago. Goosen shot a 62 at the 2002 World Golf Championships-American Express Championship at Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny, Ireland, for his best single-round performance. He finished second that week, losing by a stroke to Tiger Woods.
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
This week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am marks the 25th anniversary for AT&T as the title sponsor. Only Honda, the sponsor of The Honda Classic since 1982, has been a title sponsor longer. It’s not the only anniversary this week in Pebble Beach, either. 3M is celebrating its 50th year as a partner with the event.
The Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore Course returns to the rotation this week for the first time since 1977. It replaces Poppy Hills.
Mike Weir hasn’t earned a win yet at Pebble Beach, but his record indicates that he might be someone to watch this week. Weir has 7 Top-10 finishes in the event including runner-up efforts in 2005 and 2009.
Only five players have earned back-to-back victories in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and if Dustin Johnson can win again this week, he’ll join a group that includes Sam Snead, Cary Middlecoff, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Mark O’Meara.
Rookie Alex Prugh is off to a dream start on TOUR. He enters this week’s event with three consecutive Top-10 finishes to his credit in which he’s been 47-under par. He’s 13th in the FedExCup standings.
Four times previously Pebble Beach GL has hosted the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the U.S. Open in the same year. Winners of the AT&T have had a mixed bag of results at the U.S. Open the year they won. Jack Nicklaus won both titles in 1972 as did Tiger Woods in 2000. On the other hand, both Jim Simons (1982) and Mark O’Meara (1992) missed the cut at the Open after winning earlier in the year at Pebble Beach.
While there’s a strong international field assembled this week, including Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington, Ryo Ishikawa, Adam Scott and Vijay Singh, they’ll have to overcome tough odds to win at Pebble Beach. Only three non-Americans have won in the previous 68 AT&T’s—Bruce Crampton (1965) and Brett Ogle (1993) from Australia and Singh (2004) from Fiji.
Former PGA Champion Paul Azinger is set to make his Champions Tour debut this week at The ACE Group Classic in Naples, FL. Azinger earned 12 PGA TOUR titles in his career. Also making his debut this week is two-time PGA TOUR winner Tommy Armour III.
When Tom Watson won the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship, he earned an official victory on either the PGA TOUR or Champions Tour in his fifth different decade. Gary Player is the only other player who can make that claim.
More on Watson: He finished T8 last week at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in the best finish ever by a player 60 years of age or more on the European Tour.
Bernhard Langer has had a great start to his Champions Tour career. He’s been the Player of the Year the last two seasons and has 32 Top-10 finishes in his 46 career starts.
With Robert Gates and Jim Herman winning the two Nationwide Tour events Down Under, it marked just the third time since the Tour began going to New Zealand and Australia in 2002 that American players won both events. It first happened in 2003 when Joe Ogilvie and Ryan Palmer won and again in 2007 when Scott Sterling and Nicholas Thompson both won.
The win by Steve Stricker last week was the 264th by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR and the fourth in five events this year.