Thursday, February 11, 2010

GOLF Magazine's Mike Walker live-blogged the first round broadcast of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am. Leaderboard | Photos: Pebble Beach Golf Links | Preview | TV Schedule6:20 p.m. FINAL UPDATE: Dustin Johnson finished with FIVE straight birdies and he's alone atop the leaderboard at 8-under. He credits playing EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour video game for his course knowledge at Pebble so keep playing those games, kids. That's all for today, see you next time.

6:02 p.m. Winding down the Live Blog for the day. Keep your fingers crossed, we could end up with a special tournament this week. Thanks to Live Blog collaborators Stephanie Wei and Cameron Morfit and all of you for reading. Sports Illustrated's Farrell Evans will be here tomorrow, so I know I'll be reading. Bye!5:58 p.m. Dustin Johnson moves into a tie in the lead at 7-under through 17. Four-straight birdies!5:52 p.m. One of the nice things about this job is you can call up strangers and ask them questions. Recently, I called former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman and asked him about the early 1970s glory days of the celebrity pro-am. The celebrity tournaments set the early underpinning of golf on TV.
Bob Hope and Bing Crosby negotiated deals with their own specials. Most of the
time the celebrities invited people who also loved and cared about
golf. There was a solid respect for the game.
5:48 p.m. Frustrated-looking Luke Donald makes bogey on 17, his first of the day. 3-under. If you're wondering why Donald's brother is caddying for Paul Casey this year, here's Donald's explanation:I kind of decided in October, that we had eight years together; it was
time to freshen things up and it was time for a change. It was a tough
conversation to have with your brother, but things worked out great.
Obviously he's been picked up by one of the Top-10 players in the world
right now, and he has a good reputation as being a good caddie. So,
yeah, he's been with Paul three or four events now, and they have done
pretty well.
5:45 p.m. "My scores are starting to add up the way you'd expect the way I'm hitting the golf ball," an upbeat David Duval tells The Golf Channel's Jim Gray. "I'm expecting a lot of myself again."5:42 p.m. WeiUnderPar's Stephanie Wei is not a Duval believer (yet).You really think Duval can keep it up for the
rest of the week? I'd love to see it. But again, last week he went
68-75-76. And at the Bob Hope:  74-65-73-69. Not exactly a bastion of
consistency. Who knows, maybe this will be his breakout tournament. It
would certainly be nice to see him complete his "comeback." I just hope
it would also mean he's bringing back the mock turtleneck.
Wait, the mock turtleneck is out?5:40 p.m. Dustin Johnson birdies 15 to get to 5-under. 5:38 p.m. A little overcast but nice weather for the Monterey Peninsula today, although not the spectacular looking course we'll likely see at the U.S. Open here in June. Why not play the California courses later in the year? Adam Scott agrees.I think it will be great if we were here at a different time of year,
if it could possibly happen. I think that would be a great move. I
don't know how that happens. I don't really look into those things
pretty much. I'm pretty happy to come here whenever. But, it would be
great to play courses like Riviera and Pebble Beach and Spyglass and
Monterey in conditions that are tournament-suitable for the level of
tournament we are playing, because a lot of the great design work of
these courses is taken out when it's so wet and the ball just plugs
where it lands.
Scott, who's looking to rebound from a terrible 2009, is 1-over through 13. Not that anyone's going to feel bad for him when his girlfriend is tennis player Ana Ivanovic.5:31 p.m. Vijay Singh and David Duval (!) both finished at 5-under, good enough for T6. This weekend could be fun.5:27 p.m. Only five comments in the Live Blog so far, or about 10 percent of the crowd at Pebble today. I know, I know, it's three courses and not the most accessible place and the most popular players and celebs were on Monterey Peninsula, but still. BTW, Jim Furyk, 4-under, is on 18.5:26 p.m. Sentences I never thought I'd write, No. 228: "It's much more exciting when Kenny G is on the course."5:23 p.m. Defending champ Dustin Johnson is at 5-under through 14. He already has best quote of the week about Pebble Beach.I actually knew the course pretty well from playing it on the video game. 5:19 p.m. Reader and John Daly fan Mjames2010 writes: As I said the caution of being a daly fan is having to deal with the
roller coaster John likes to take you on. As I write this John just
double bogey'd the 11th par 3, he now sits at even par. I predict a
over par round now!
Long John is 1-over through 13.5:18 p.m. K.J. Choi finishes at 7-under, tied for lead with J.B. Holmes.5:12 p.m. Vijay Singh climbs to 5-under through 14. Nice leaderboard. 5:08 p.m. Mike Weir finishes at 5-under after a birdie on 18. No bogeys. Hmmm. With the Olympics, Canada is on a roll right now.5:04 p.m. Luke Donald, one of my fantasy picks for this tournament, is 3-under through 14. An elite player when healthy, Donald appears recovered from his wrist injuries. Considering the U.S. Open will be played at Pebble Beach in June, the field is not a star-filled as you'd think. Here's what Donald said about that.I think Pebble will definitely not play too similar to how it's going
to play in June. So maybe that's the reason why some are not playing
here. For me, it was just I had not been here for a couple of
years and I wanted to familiarize myself again with the golf course,
but I'm not sure I can speak for other players. For me, it seemed like
a good idea.
4:58 p.m. More Phil news, via a Twitter report from Kevin Merfeld, sportswriter for local paper The Monterey County Herald.Why fans love Mickelson. He's been signing autographs and posing for pics for the last 20 minutes. 4:56 p.m. K.J. Choi makes par on 17, still tied with J.B. Holmes for the lead at 7-under.4:53 p.m. Enjoying The Golf Channel telecast, but I wish they had followed a group at Monterey Peninsula. I know Pebble is the biggest star here, but we golf geeks watching on Thursdays want to see the new course. Here's what Live Blog favorite Adam Scott said about it this week:It's a fantastic golf course. I think with these three golf courses
here, you have got three of the best on TOUR. And you know, it seems
that Monterey is holding up the best under the weather conditions. I
guess the sand-capped fairways, and it drains very well. It was very
playable. So I think we are all going to enjoy playing that golf course.
4:50 p.m. Phil Mickelson finished his round at Monterey Peninsula at 2-under, T38. 4:46 p.m. Imagine the conversation between Rickie Fowler and playing partner Chris O'Donnell.Fowler: Who are you again?O'Donnell: C'mon, I was in a Batman movie. I acted opposite Pacino. Hoo-ah! Hoo-ah!Fowler: OK, man, sure you did. Let's just play some golf.4:38 p.m. Golf Magazine's Cameron Morfit watched the action at Monterey Peninsula together and the Ishikawa/Fowler group caught his eye, and not just because they're considered the future of the game. Japan's Ryo Ishikawa is wearing green top to bottom,
while playing partner Rickie Fowler, whom Alex Prugh teased earlier
this week for having 6 pairs of shoes, is all blue. At least they will
show up nicely on camera--they're being tailed by a huge throng of
photographers. 
Fowler is 2-under through 16, Ishikawa 2-over. 4:36 p.m. Phil update: He's on 18, 2-under-par.4:29 p.m. "Special on that hole, as pretty as it is." J.B. Holmes on his eagle at No. 8. BTW, there's a lot of good guys on Tour, but Holmes is especially approachable.4:26 p.m. Reader Mjames2010 knows that being a John Daly fans has more ups and downs than Bobby Knight's cardiogram. Still, reason for cautious optimism today:I also would like to caution as we all know John can get hot and then
cold faster then the weather in Michigan, as I say this John bogey's
the 9th hole to go out in 2 under not a bad front 9 of 32, as daly fan
you have to take that!
4:24 p.m. K.J. Choi catches J.B. Holmes at 7-under with a birdie at 15. D.A. Points must be kicking himself for not playing this week.4:22 p.m. Decent celebrity lineup for what's really the Masters of Pro-Ams: Brady, Romo, Chris Berman, Don Cheadle, Murray, Andy Garcia, Kenny G, Ray Romano. A little top-heavy though. Ask me who Eric Close, Jeffrey Donovan and Tom Dreesan are and I'll say, "Who are three people who've never been in my kitchen?"Full celeb list here.Update: According to The San Jose Mercury News, Romano had to pull out due to a family illness and Kevin Costner is not playing because...wait for it... he's touring with his band. Yup, The Untouchables was a long time ago.4:18 p.m. Fantastic finish! J.B. Holmes follows his highlight reel hole-out on 8 with a birdie putt on 9. He was playing those holes as 17 and 18 so he's going home at 7-under with a one-stroke lead. 4:13 p.m. Bill Murray is playing with Tim Herron. It will be tough for him to top his work in Zombieland at Pebble this year. 4:12 p.m. We're a little short on celebrities with The Golf Channel so let's check in with Golf Mag's Cameron Morfit.Tom Brady nearly just beaned someone with his pull-hook
tee shot on 9, then left his first trap shot in the bunker. Hit a nice
second trap shot to five feet.
4:07 p.m. In addition to helping revolutionize our world through his pioneering organization of the Internet, the married Yang also proved that having a billion dollars makes you attractive to women.Jerry_yang 4:03 p.m. Stanford grad Notah Begay (3-under through 14) is playing with Yahoo! co-founder (and Stanford grad) Jerry Yang. Oh, the Tiger stories they could tell..4:01 p.m. Time for a Phil update. Mickelson is 2-under through 15. He made bogey on 14. I didn't start him at fantasy golf this week. I feel like Mickelson is going to win one West Coast event, but I like the Phoenix event better for him.3:57 p.m. This Frank Noblio, Kelly Tilghman, David Feherty, Peter Oosterhuis team is doing a very nice broadcast for The Golf Channel. 3:55 p.m. Stephanie Wei on Holmes' hole-out.Nice hole out by Holmes. The group behind him must be relieved he doesn't have to putt...3:53 p.m. Shot of the tournament: J.B. Holmes spins his approach into the cup on 8 for an eagle. Another co-leader at 6-under.3:48 p.m. Holy 1990s flashback, Batman! First Duval atop the leaderboard and now Reader Mjames2010 says John Daly is back in the hunt: John Daly chipped in for birdie to get to 1 under and then followed it
up with an eagle at the par 5 6th, playing with Tony Romo might be a
big help this week!
Too bad playing with Romo doesn't seem to help the Cowboys. Ba-da-boom!3:47 p.m. Reader Eddie Lowry writes: if you're ever wondering why nobody is following the live blog it's
because the link to it is impossible to find sometimes. one minute its
right there front and center of the webpage, after refreshing the page
its gone. kink of annoying

3:43 p.m. Stephanie Wei of WeiUnderPar.com I asked him what were the shortest club and longest club he'd used there -- because of the wind -- he said choke PW to 6 Iron. Furyk's favorite drink is Guinness -- he has it on tap at home. And he
likes to drink 7-up and Crown when he's watching a football game.
3:42 p.m. 3:41 p.m. 3:39 p.m. 3:37 p.m. Alan Shipnuck asks via Twitte Rocco's gait: bad back or stick up his a**? 3:32 p.m. 3:29 p.m. 3:27 p.m. 3:24 p.m. Golf.com's David Dusek via Twitter: With their afro/ponytails, Kenny G and Miguel Angel Jimenez could have been separated at birth. 3:21 p.m.
3:19 p.m. 3:16 p.m. From SI's Alan Shipnuck via Twitter: Hanging w/some friends who don't follow the Tour. 'Is that fat guy a CEO?' No, that's Tim Herron. 3:12 p.m. 3:08 p.m. Phil was about to tee off on 10 when spectators were wandering
around the fairway. Bones walked to the front of the tee and spread his
arms out as if to ask "what the...!", while Phil, 2-under through nine, simply
cupped his hands around his mouth and bellowed, "Fore!
3 p.m. Follow Mike Walker on Twitter.

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