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PGA Tour Confidential: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

D.A. Points, Bill Murray, 2011 Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
D.A. Points and Bill Murray celebrated Points' eagle on the 14th hole. Later they celebrated a win in the pro-am competition.

Every week of the 2011 PGA Tour season, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group will conduct an e-mail roundtable. Check in on Mondays for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: D.A. Points seemed so thrilled to be playing with Bill Murray and so relaxed by Murray's antics that he got out of his own head and played great golf. Should he hire Murray as a caddie or at least split the purse with him?

Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: That's the beauty of these pro-ams. They're not for everyone, but some guys, like Points and defending champ Dustin Johnson, seem to thrive when they're slightly distracted and aren't grinding so hard.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Mark O'Meara made a career of it.

Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: Hire Murray as a caddie (but the act could get really old after this week). Split the purse only if Murray splits his appearance fee.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Murray's probably a little tied up with his day job (whatever it is), but maybe Points can have his regular Tour caddie sell Ben and Jerry's on tee boxes and lie down in the grass between shots, a la Murray on Sunday. How can you get nervous with that happening around you?

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Bill Murray as a Tour caddie — that's a good idea. I'd like to see him on Tiger's bag.

Herre: Former Tour commish Deane Beman didn't care for Murray's act way back when, but the fans always loved him.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: It was nice to see CBS finally embrace Murray. For years, he has been ignored and given tee times away from the camera while CBS focused on its sitcom stars (who were never remotely funny on air) or the impressionist from Vegas whose name escapes me. This is great vindication for Murray and the best thing to happen to this tourney in a long time.

Farrell Evans, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: D.A. was definitely in the zone this week if he was able to concentrate around Murray, who obviously played well for the two to take the pro-am title. At any rate, D.A was due. He's been good enough to win for a long time.

David Dusek, deputy editor, I think it's easy to not fully appreciate how important a good mindset is to playing good golf. Anyone who earns a PGA Tour card has all the shots and has put in the work to get there, but having a guy like Bill Murray hanging around could provide just enough distraction to let a good-natured pro play well.

Van Sickle: The Murray distraction was great, but if Points doesn't get a break and hole out from the fairway at 14 for eagle, we would've enjoyed an even more exciting and close finish. Who knows?

Gorant: On the other hand, Murray can be a distraction for the pros out there trying to make a living. Not saying it was a factor, but Points's playing partner, Bryce Molder, closed with a 74. Should Murray tone it down when he's in the final group?

Van Sickle: Murray did tone it down for the final group.

Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Nah, Murray's got to be Murray. Straight no chaser.

Bamberger: If you asked him to tone it down he'd walk.

Evans: Murray should comport himself more like a professional. There is too much money at stake on the PGA Tour for Murray's routine. I don't want to sound old-fashioned, but Jack Lemmon and Bing played the crowds and the game with a mix of reserve and fun that made the tournament appealing for fans. The old-timers always had a healthy respect for the guys playing for real money.

Dusek: Sorry, you sound old-fashioned.

Wei: Murray just shows up and everyone laughs. He doesn't really have to do anything. If he waves, we laugh. If he doesn't, we still laugh. But how about that really awkward chest bump attempt between Points and Murray on No. 14? Might have been the funniest moment of the day.

Van Sickle: Murray made sure it was an intentionally lame chest bump.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: Murray should just do his thing. He was asking Bryce if he wanted to putt first on 17, and I'm sure he was respectful in his own way. He knows the drill.

Dusek: Agreed. If you are playing the AT&T, you've got to know there are going to be comedians, celebrities and other semi-famous people on the course who will be nervous and out of their comfort zone. If you're lucky enough to get into a fun-loving group, embrace the experience. If you don't think you can do that ... don't sign up to play this week.

Godich: It was backed up all over the course. I thought Murray did a pretty good job of staying out of the way. As Dave said, if you don't like the format, take the week off.

Hack: Beyond his antics, Murray can flat out hit it. One of the best scenes in "Lost in Translation" — non Scarlett Johansson edition — is when Murray is playing golf. For a knucklehead, he's really got a great move.

Van Sickle: Murray is like Jim Herre. His best shot is the shot of a 2-handicapper. His bad shots — never mind.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Murray has long been this tourney's biggest draw, bigger than Phil or Tiger or Costner or anyone else. If any of the pros don't love his schtick, they're vastly outnumbered.

Click here to submit a question for Alan's next mailbag.

Herre: Watching Murray do his thing is a much better show than watching Bryce Molder do his.

Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Marino and Walker probably weren't thrilled to be playing behind Murray's group either. But Murray is Murray. It was a lot of fun to watch today.

Morfit: Good point, Ryan. Marino looked like he just wanted to get on with it starting on 16 or so, when he still had a legit chance.

Godich: Yeah, shame on Murray for stopping to chat up the soldier at the 16th green. Where is the golf etiquette?

Shipnuck: Golf is a stuffy, country club sport? Today I think Murray has done more for the game's image than a decade of First Tee commercials.

Evans: Alan, Murray is a country club golfer who dresses like a yeoman. Don't be fooled by the routine. He's not rushing to make tee times at his local muni. I don't think anybody is fooled by his act or drawn to the tournament because of him. I'm probably wrong, but my instincts tell me that the Tour probably wishes Murray had taken a backseat on 18 and let Points be the star.

Van Sickle: Murray is the tournament's biggest non-pro attraction. He packs 'em in and treats them to six hours of improv. The show he puts on is amazing. Try following him for 18 holes someday, and you'd begin to appreciate him. He's been The Man among the celebrities there since he started playing in the early '90s — yes, even when CBS was trying to make us believe George Lopez and Ray Romano and Kevin James were superstars. Even the CBS guys in the booth, Nantz and Faldo, said they wanted to see Murray finish on 18, and who's squarer than them?

Dusek: Today was the first broadcast my stepfather has seen all season, and he watched because it was Pebble Beach and he knew Bill Murray would be on at some point. He didn't know the leaders, but he knew he'd be entertained by both the course and the guy if he came on the screen. I don't think he's alone.

Tell us what you think: Was Murray's act appropriate for the final group on a Sunday? Do you enjoy watching him at Pebble?

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