What we have this week on the PGA Tour is one of those really, really rare happenings.
We’re right in the midst of the AT&T Pro-Am, two of the four rounds are staged at iconic Pebble Beach, which celebrates its 100th year in existence on the American golf scene.
Eighteen short weeks from now, every big name in the world of golf will be looking to win the season’s third major at this same venue.
Yes, it’s rare, the USGA shies aware from staging it’s banner championship at the site of a lowly PGA Tour event. But this being Pebble’s 100th anniversary, it makes all the sense in the world.
So does this week serve as any sort of preview as to who might play well come the second week in June?
Summer on the Monterrey Peninsula is very different from winters in Monterrey.
There’s been a lot of rain the past month, thus some lift-clean-and-cheat rules have been applied to the AT&T. That’s a mortal sin with the USGA.
Good news is the USGA doesn’t have to do anything out of the ordinary with this masterpiece. Sure there will be higher rough in June, they’ll narrow the fairways, double-cut and roll the greens. But Pebble remains Pebble.
The first round Pebble Beach leaderboard saw Si Woo Kim shoot the day’s low round with a six-under par 66. Brandon Grace and Nate Lashley were a shot behind with 67s.
Graeme McDowell has a knack for Pebble. It is the site of his biggest win — the 2010 U.S. Open. He was comfortable on site with a 68 on Thursday. G-Mac has been in a slump, but looks to be regaining some form. Roberto Castro shot 68 as well.
Biggest name to go sub-70 at Pebble on Thursday was Tony Finau. He shot 69.
There’s still a lot of golf to be played at Pebble.
The biggest names in the field — Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth will play Pebble back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday.
It might give an indication as to which of those guys has “the feel” for this place.
But keep in mind, Pebble in February is an entirely different animal from Pebble in June.
Oh yes, and then there’s the USGA factor.
And the hope is that not even the USGA can mess things up at Pebble Beach.