Each year, the Grunion Gazette’s “On the Water” columnist Jo Murray goes “On the Green” for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
It was a week of Fathers, Focus and Fun.
One of the most exciting events on the PGA TOUR, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is contested annually in front of thousands of spectators and millions of television viewers on three of the Monterey Peninsula’s premier golf courses: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore.
Long Beach was well represented with the hospitality tents provided by Choura Events, a competitor, and plenty of fans.
The professional golfers are paired with amateurs and Long Beach’s Patrick Cantlay was teamed with surfing legend Kelly Slater. When Cantlay was asked if he surfed he said, “I have surfed. I try everything once, twice if you like it. But I didn't like it, I wasn't very good at it and for me to keep doing things that I'm not very good at takes a lot of will power.
"And surfing-wise, just the whole process of it, you got to buy the board, find somebody that knows how to surf, go out there, the California water's really cold, put your wet suit on, wax your surf board up, go out there, maybe you don't catch any waves, for me I could try to catch as many waves as possible, I'll keep falling over, maybe not even get up. So I never got into it. My dad played golf, he never surfed.”
When asked about playing with Slater he said, “We've played together in this tournament before. I enjoy Kelly. He's a great player. He rolled the rock so good. Yeah, we both played great and it's really fun being out here with him. He's such a great champion and, obviously, the best to ever compete at his sport, which is beyond impressive, so it's a real pleasure to be out here with him.”
Cantlay played Pebble Beach before he was a pro, “I did play one round with my dad here maybe when I was about 12. I remember it being really foggy. And I was probably too young; my dad probably still beat up on me that day. He was a good player."
Patrick Cantlay finished the tournament tied for 11th taking home $181,350 in prize money. Top honors went to Canadian Nick Taylor who took home $1,404,000. The Cantlay/Slater team finished tied for 5th in the Pro/Am results.
Spectator Chris Garner, General Manager at Long Beach Water, reported on Facebook, “Fun day at Pebble Beach golf tournament with my son Matt Garner. We saw Bill Murray, Ray Romano, Peyton and Eli Manning, Steve Young, Toby Keith, Larry Fitzgerald, Condoleezza Rice.”
This visit was a Christmas gift from Chris to Matt. Chris played the course with his father and brother years ago. “Listening to the smooth sound as the pros swing their clubs, how they zero in and concentrate with all the distractions — especially with amateurs playing.” He paused and then said, “The focus is amazing.”
Garner remarked that witnessing the event in person is impressive, the television cameras don’t capture the elevations, narrow fairways and the strong winds.
Pebble Beach seems to have a tradition of multiple generations sharing love for the sport.
2019 AT&T Pro Am winner Phil Mickelson uses a silver coin from his grandfather as a ball marker here at Pebble Beach and he explained some of the background, “Pebble Beach has been a very special place to our family because my grandfather was one of the original caddies in the caddie yard. And he had to quit school in fourth grade to help work and support the family.
"And he always felt poor and he would carry around this silver dollar here that I have. It's from 1900, it's an old Morgan head silver dollar that he would leave in his pocket. He would reach in and touch whenever he felt poor and it made him feel like he had money. And so he often times would go to bed hungry and not eat because he wouldn't spend it. He just wanted to always feel like he had it.
"And so our family's come a long ways as we look back at him caddying here for 35 cents a loop to now winning seven figure checks and having my brother with me and so forth and what this great game of golf has given our family for the last couple generations. So we're very appreciative.”