This week is the 30th ATT Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Tournament. Yesterday was a gorgeous weather day in the mid-60s on the central coast of California here on the Monterey Peninsula. I drove four miles to Carmel and parked my car at Carmel Beach, then walked to Pebble Beach Lodge for a celebrity match between San Francisco’s 49ers and Giants. Along the way, in between jaw dropping views of Carmel Bay from the Pebble Beach Golf Links, I noticed several golf stars and other famous people I recognized from TV.
ATT Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Tournament is a fundraising event for many local charities around the Monterey Peninsula. The event is also a PGA sponsored and FedEx qualifying tournament. The event used to be known as the Crosby Clambake, after Bing Crosby moved his annual golf tournament to Pebble Beach in 1947.
Pebble Beach, California
One of my main interests this week is to capture images of the beauty of Pebble Beach, California. This area of California was bought up by railroad baron Charles Crocker in the 1870s to create a sporting paradise around the Hotel Del Monte in Monterey.
Pebble Beach Golf Links opened in 1919.
Pebble Beach, U.S.A. / 6,828 yards, Par 72
Not just the greatest meeting of land and sea in American golf, but the most extensive one, too, with nine holes perched immediately above the crashing Pacific surf — the fourth through 10th plus the 17th and 18th. Pebble’s sixth through eighth are golf’s real Amen Corner, with a few Hail Marys thrown in over a ocean cove on eight from atop a 75-foot-high bluff. Pebble will host another U.S. Amateur in 2018, and its sixth U.S. Open in 2019.
I live about four miles from Carmel Beach. Yesterday I parked my car at the beach and walked into the gated community of Pebble Beach where I exchanged my $100 Costco ticket receipts for 7-day tournament badges and entered the Pebble Beach Golf Links on the 11th hole fairway, past the 10th, 9th and more on my way to Pebble Beach Lodge for the 49ers-Giants Shootout.
Along the way I watched Kansas City Chiefs football QB Alex Smith tee off. Stupid me, I did not know who he was until after hearing someone shout out his name and missed taking his photo during his ball strike.
I saw two-time ATT winner Dustin Johnson tee off on Hole 9. Chris Berman putting on Hole 6 was just the motivation I needed to get ready for some football golfers. Chris Berman was putting poorly. Kenny G looked like the better golfer.
Walking by Hole 5, there was John Daly teeing off. On Hole 4 was Condoleezza Rice. But, she was not the Rice I had come to Pebble Beach to see.
John Daly is indelibly etched in my memory of Summer 1995 when my wife and I were broke and living in Bangor, Maine in a rented room of a large dirty house with several roommates while I worked on graduate courses in special education for my teaching job. We drank Red Hook ESB beer sold at the low corner market close-out price of $2.99 per 6-pack and watched the British Open that year during a summer heat wave of mid-90s. That was the first time I watched an entire golf tournament. John Daly won the 1995 British Open at St. Andrews, Scotland. I haven’t drank a Red Hook beer since 1995. And John Daly has not won another golf major championship in 20 years.
Pebble Beach ATT Pro-Am 2015 San Francisco 49ers-Giants Chevron Shootout
49ers players were Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Brent Jones and Dwight Clark. Ronnie Lott and Barton Harris were in attendance but not golfing.
Giants players were Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Javier Lopez and manager Bruce Bochy.
The Shootout was five holes with 1-3, 17 and 18 on the Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Similar to what I saw at Sundance Film Festival a couple of weeks ago, being a celebrity is a tough job. People scream your name from all directions to get your attention, just so they can have a photo op or autograph.
After watching the pre-tournament media circus, the crowds were too much for me and I retreated from Hole 2 to Hole 18 to wait for the players at the end.
Jerry Rice showing Steve Young where to place the ball to win the challenge on the 18th hole of Pebble Beach. Ronnie Lott is in red coat to left of Steve Young. Dwight Clark of the 49ers had the winning putt to beat the Giants.
The 49ers won the challenge, local charities won the money and Buster Posey won the media attention for the one player selected for a post-game interview beside the 18th green of Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Walking back a couple miles to my car in Carmel, I saw Condoleezza Rice still playing on the 17th of Pebble Beach.
Yesterday was a beautiful day at Pebble Beach.
Today is forecast to be even warmer weather on the Monterey Peninsula.
I have fond memories of my life in New England in the 1990s even though I had to watch the New York Jets and New England Patriots, back when both teams struggled to win any games during the season while San Francisco 49ers with Steve Young and Jerry Rice were making football history with the 1995 Super Bowl XXIX win.
My winter dreams these days are mostly California green. At least we still have the Giants winning where it really counts in the world of sports.