January 30, 2002

Marc It Down: AT&T Pebble Beach 2002 Preview

Looking ahead to this weekend's PGA TOUR golf tournament, I explain why it's worth $350 to play Pebble Beach. ... What would you pay for a round of golf on your local track? $35 to walk? $80 with cart and GPS yardage assistance? Would you pay $350, plus $8 more for a yardage book? I would: but only at Pebble Beach. Sure, that’s an obscene amount of money for a 5-hour walk and sporting endeavor. I’m shocked by today’s almost $60 lift tickets at some mountains (damn lawyers and liability waivers), yet $350 for Pebble is worth it. You know why? Because I can say, “I’ve done that.” For the rest of my life. The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, this weekend, is one of my favorite tournaments to watch. The CBS coverage loves to feature beautiful shots of the scenery and horrible shots of the amateur hackers. Yes, Bill Murray, Clint Eastwood, Kenny G and even Ray Romano get face time this weekend. Not that I like seeing these guys, but I like seeing these guys hack it up as badly as I have. I can say, “Hey, I took 4 swings to get out of that bunker also!” Or, conversely, “Ha! He made bogey on 7! I birdied that hole!” I like seeing a big event played out on a course we could all play; somewhere you could drop a ball behind the pin on 17 and pretend you just chipped in for the 1982 open, a la Tom Watson. (C’mon, everybody does it, arms raised and pointing at his caddie.) Somewhere you can hit into the Pacific with the tourney on the line on 18, like Lefty Mickelson did last year. Somewhere you could take your pitching wedge down to the beach off the right of the 10th hole, just as Ray Romano did. Hell, maybe you could even throw an old lady in a bunker and get down like Bill Murray. I think they encourage that stuff there. For $350 a round, you ought to do whatever you want. … If you ever get lucky enough to play Pebble, walk the course. Take a caddie, preferably an old, crusty one with lots of stories. Getting on, in the first place, is tough. Sure, this course is open to the public, but only the public paying $500-$2,000 per room night at the Lodge can reserve more than 24 hours in advance. If you’re spending a lot of time in the area, you can try the wait list every day. (That’s how I got on.) Oh, and if you find a Precept 00 Extra Spin in the yawning canyon of death on 8, it’s mine. Here are some sites with more info. Pebble Beach home page Rates and other FAQ’s Caddie info

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