Hot off the heels of a Bubba meltdown and Kevin Stadler’s first foray into the PGA TOUR winners circle, here are some story lines to keep an eye on this week in Monterey, California.
The majesty of the worlds greatest golf property
In my years watching golf, I’ve discovered two universal truths. First, the Phoenix Open is the greatest spectacle in golf. Second, the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is the most underappreciated spectacle in golf. The difference between the two tournaments lies in the vehicle they use to drive interest. In Phoenix, raucous crowds and a stadium setting are used to power the the hype machine. Pebble Beach, on the other hand, uses the worlds greatest setting for the worlds greatest game. St. Andrews might have the history and Agusta might have the stature, but there aren’t many places on earth (let alone golf courses) that can provide a setting so aesthetically pleasing as Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill.
What in the world happened to Brandt
Just 12 months ago Brandt Snedeker was coming off an amazing stretch in which he finished solo 3rd or better in four of five tournaments, including a win here at Pebble Beach. Let me repeat that for you. In four out of five weeks at Kapalua, Torrey Pines, TPC Scottsdale and Pebble Beach, respectively; Brand Snedeker finished no worse than alone in 3rd place. That impressive run had Brandt on the cusp of “elite”, as it reached it’s peak with his second win of the year at the RBC Canadian Open last July. However, since that win, Sneds has mustered up only one top 10 in his last 12 starts, while finishing over par in 6 of those. Brandt comes into the week looking to defend his title from last year, but having slid from #5 to #17 in the OWGR in a span just short of 9 months, he’s clearly broken right now.
The greatest foursome of all time
The best part of the Pro-Am format is the oddball pairings. This week delivers in spades as Kenny G. parters with Aaron Baddely, Condoleeza Rice joins D.A. Points and Tom Brady slots into the foursome of coach Bill Belichick. But the best foursome of the week (and the history of mankind) involves Dustin Johnson and his soon to be Father-in-Law Wayne Gretzky, sent from the heavens to play next to the powerhouse duo of John Daly and Kid Rock. That was not a typo. On Thursday February 6th, 2014; John Daly will play golf with Kid Rock in the same group as “The Great One” and the man who is set to marry his daughter. Set your DVR’s as the group is scheduled to begin on Spyglass Hill’s 1st tee at 11:11am EST.