Ok, I think it’s over. No more weather delays, the darkness has come and gone. Phil and PC have completed the morning finish. Ah, wait. Amateur Doug Colleran needs to finish up here on 18. Alright now we are done! What a week. A tournament that felt like it lasted weeks has concluded, and the winner is none other than Phil Mickelson, securing his record tying 5th Pebble Beach title.
Make no mistake about it, Pebble Beach is one of the most, if not the most, beautiful courses in the entire world. The views are breathtaking, and the layout perfectly compliments the land it was designed on. Players and patrons consistently rave about the venue — and with good reason. The tournament this week, however, was not just played on Pebble Beach. The course rotation included Monterrey Peninsula and Spyglass Hill, as well as Pebble. While beautiful courses, this makes it a bit harder to track for the average consumer. Shotlink is only provided on Pebble, and the telecast mainly showed Pebble with a few highlights from the other courses. So for the OAD pools and fantasy junkies, it was more of a hope and pray week when checking the final scorecard. Even though I didn’t love the coverage, it is a very quality event. The rounds are certainly tedious, and mother nature almost always plays a role, but it gives a huge chunk back to charity and is one of the few times on Tour that amateurs get to tee it up with the pros for most of the week. With a big congrats to Phil and Tim, lets take a look at some of the main takeaways from the tournament:
- Phil the Thrill: Phil certainly lived up to his name this week, posting an astounding 25 birdies and an eagle over the 4 days in some tough conditions. He also dropped 8 shots en route to a 19 under and win 3 clear of Paul Casey, who we’ll get to later. It is easy to see how Pebble fits Phil’s game. The courses are short, and the rough is not terribly penalizing, so more often that not he has a short iron or wedge into most holes. If he can keep his tee shots on the map (which he did), he is going to give himself numerous birdie looks. Phil played beautifully in the wind as well, hitting knock down shots over and over again on Sunday to make-able birdie range. When the putter got hot on Sunday and Casey faltered, it looked like a Phil win was in the cards. He proceeded to hit solid shot after solid shot, posting a Sunday 65 and capping off his 44th tour victory. Well done, Lefty.
- PC does it again: Unfortunately for the Paul Casey backers, the same old story was written on Sunday as he failed to capitalize on a 54 hole lead, dropping his record to 1 of 5 in that scenario. Paul simply played too cautious early, hitting putts with dying speed that barely made it to the hole and failing to stick anything close. As Phil mounted his charge, Casey found himself with a few key par putts from inside 10 feet, and failed to convert both. Once Phil got 2 up, he played a bit better and was able to close and get a solo second at -16. While a 1 under round isn’t horrible, you have to wonder why a guy with 2 Tour wins isn’t just going for it. Go out and try to shoot a 5 under. What does he have to lose at this point? PC is an incredibly solid player, but he will struggle to mount wins if he doesn’t get more aggressive on Sundays.
- Mother NATURE!: Weather was a huge story this week, with wind and rain berating the course for 2 of the first 3 days before a hail storm (wth?) swept through the area on Sunday and delayed play for another 2 hours. The grounds crew at Pebble was phenomenal, making the course playable after each weather storm that hit. I, for one, enjoy when the weather rolls through, as it’s great to see players hit difficult shots and play off the wind, using different trajectories throughout the round. Only a place like Pebble Beach can look like a Midwestern city after a hailstorm one minute, and a gorgeous, scenic coastal course the next. What a place.
- Day rounding into form: While a bit under the radar this week because he was never quite close enough to the top few spots, I love what I’m seeing out of Jason Day this year. He struck the ball great this week and appears to be in a good head space. I think Day is heading towards another multiple win season, and one with much more consistency than last.
- The Amateur Coverage: (Pun intended.) In my opinion the tournament was tough to watch this week, with rounds lasting 6 plus hours and the focus being only on Pebble. There were plenty of times where we would see numerous random amateur shots, followed by a low name golfer simply because they were on Pebble Beach. At one point Saturday, Paul Casey was leading by 3 or 4 shots and was barely being shown. The amateur style event is great for those participating, but a little bit tough for the viewers. I think most golf fans will be happy switching back to norm next week at Riviera with more golf shots from the pros.
Before we wrap this up I’d like to send a big shout out to Amateur Hour alum, Max Homa, who fired a 65 on Sunday to secure a top 10 and a spot at Riviera. Keep ballin’ Max! Also, my One and Done pick, Phil Mickelson. Yes we have touched on Phil’s performance, but it carries a special element as he welcomes me back to the winners’ circle and into the top 15! We’ve still got a longggg way to go. Check out our OAD article to see the crew’s picks on a weekly basis. Hope you enjoyed the recap, and I will see you all next week. Let’s have a good one, Riv!