All of the lights

As always, each PGA Tour pro paired up with a celebrity or a wealthy amateur partner playing each golf course over the first 3 rounds before the 54-hole cut and Sunday’s final round at Pebble Beach. Despite the gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and some big name players, CBS routinely botches the coverage, beating preconceived storylines into the ground and showing more swings of hack celebrity amateurs such as Chris Berman and Bill Murray than of the professional golfers in contention. 

This week’s field offers significant star power at the top with world number 1 Jason Day headlining a field that also includes world number 4 Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed. Check out the tee times here.

Last year 

The 2016 edition of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am served as one of the season’s feel good stories of the year as Vaughn Taylor was able to outduel Phil Mickelson down the stretch to snag the title. Taylor entered the event as the 447th ranked player in the world and with no playing status on the PGA Tour. Taylor entered Sunday’s final round six shots back of Mickelson and used a back 9 surge to shoot a 7-under 65 to nip Mickelson by 1-shot and win the championship and a two-year exemption on Tour. 

Mickelson's putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Taylor Credit: PGA Tour

The courses

While the quality of golf coverage at this week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am is sure to be a dumpster fire, the trio of golf courses that play host are some of the best on Tour. The iconic Pebble Beach is the best of the bunch, a true masterpiece that blends a beautiful backdrop with an excellent design that requires precise shotmaking and strategy. 

Another fine course in the rotation is the Monterey Peninsula C.C. Shore Course. Originally designed by Mike Babcock, the seaside course was overhauled in the early 2000s by the late great Mike Strantz. Strantz was a legendary architect who left us too soon, but not before delivering a masterpiece at Monterey, infusing strategy and bold contours to the design.

An aerial of MPCC's Shore Course Photo Credit: Jon Cavalier @linksgems

The final course and long-time mainstay in the event’s rotation is Robert Trent Jones Sr’s Spyglass Hill. To summarize Jones’ work at Spyglass Hill, let’s go no further than architect Rob Collins’ November Ask an Architect response to the question of what he thought was the most overrated course from a design standpoint:

“I can't stand Spyglass Hill. It's the worst golf course on a great piece of land that I've ever seen. It's a target golf slog filled with forgettable holes. The best stretch of golf occurs early & the routing fizzles from the middle of the front nine until your walk up the unremarkable eighteenth. The bad routing & repetitious nature of the holes makes one wonder if there were extenuating circumstances out of the architect's control that held the course back from achieving the remarkable potential of the land. Every time I hear somebody remark that it is a better course than Pebble Beach, my mind goes blank and I become physically incapable of hearing anything else that they have to say.”

4 Storylines to watch 

Cut Casualties

The field’s top two ranked players, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson, will each come off of a missed cut in their past cut at Torrey Pines. With the rain soaked courses and each’s prodigious length, I would expect each to contend at this week’s event. 

The Drive for 5

Last year’s runner up, Phil Mickelson, will look to win at Pebble Beach for the 5th time in his illustrious career. Lefty has started 2017 off strong with 3 consecutive top 25 finishes.  

The Return

As mentioned in Monday’s edition, this week will mark the return of former phenom Patrick Cantlay from a 27-month-layoff due to a back injury. During the layoff, Cantlay also underwent a great deal of personal tragedy, losing his caddie to a hit and run which the OC’s Registry’s Damian Dottore told the heartbreaking story of. The story and string of bad breaks make Cantlay an easy guy to root for as he begins his quest to earn his card back via his 10 start medical extension.

CBS’ Coverage

It’s sad that this is a continuing narrative, but CBS can’t seem to comprehend the reason that viewers tune in to watch each week. It's not for beautiful panoramic views or Gary McCord’s endless ramblings, constant FedEx Cup updates, or to watch drawn out commercial segments. Viewers tune in to watch the best players in the world hit live golf shots. The recipe for good golf coverage is quite simple - pack your on-air coverage with live golf shots from the leaders...that’s it.

Paulie’s Picks

It’s another goofy week of Draftkings scoring and Paulie has you covered with DFS Picks, a few guys for your one and done leagues and also a darkhorse that you may want to place a shekel or two on. Check ‘em out here.

Over on the East side

The European Tour’s early season Desert Swing concluded with last week’s Dubai Desert Classic and now they head to the humid heat of Kuala Lumpur for the second playing of the Maybank Championship. Last year saw Marcus Fraser claim the inaugural title besting Soomin Lee down the stretch. 

This year, Fraser is back along with some of the world’s best including the likes of Danny Willett, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Charl Schwartzel. 

Template Hole Tours: The Biarritz

This week, we underwent a much needed update to our template hole article on Macdonald’s great par 3 design, the biarritz. Thanks to some great photos from readers as well as Jon Cavalier, we now have over 25 biarritz holes featured. Read about the history of the hole and all the famed examples here

The biarritz hole at Fishers Island Photo Credit: Jon Cavalier @linksgems

The Bogota Blues

The Web.com Tour is back in action and in the Bahamas which should be a welcome site given the weather the future PGA Tour stars endured in two starts there. This week, the Tour heads south of the equator to Bogota, Colombia and the Club Colombia Championship. The annual event was won last year by Colombian-born Sebastian Munoz which vaulted him to a top 25 finish on the money list and a PGA Tour card. A few players to watch this week include Canada's Corey Conners who’s had two top 10s to start his season, Nate Lashley who dominated in South America on last year’s PGA Tour Latin America and last year’s NCAA Champion 20-year-old Aaron Wise. 

The TV Schedule

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Thursday & Friday
PGA Tour Live Featured Pairings: 11am - 3pm EST
Golf Channel: 3pm - 6pm EST
Saturday & Sunday
Golf Channel: 1pm - 2:30pm EST
CBS: 3pm - 6pm EST 

European Tour Maybank Championship
Wednesday
Golf Channel: 10pm - Midnight EST
Thursday
Golf Channel: 10pm - Midnight EST
Friday/Saturday
Golf Channel:     10pm - 1:30 am EST
Saturday/Sunday
Golf Channel:     10pm - 1:30 am EST

Champions Tour Allianz Championship
Friday
Golf Channel: 12pm - 2:30 pm EST
Saturday & Sunday
Golf Channel: 3pm - 5:30 pm EST

Quick hooks

The Senior Tour tees it at the Allianz Championship

I appeared on the Golf Guide podcast, to talk architecture and golf courses, listen here.

Jason Day’s lefty swing is damn good.

10’ python found at abandoned course in Florida...yikes.

Get your questions in for this month’s Ask an Architect! 

Featured Tweet

Smylie, another podcast

This week, PGA Tour winner and fan-favorite Smylie Kaufman joined Soly to talk about his career, Jim Nantz, Smylie’s Army and much more. Listen via iTunes or the NLU website.

Phil's Boat Wave

 

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