The iconic closing hole at Pebble Beach looks a little different today after fierce winds toppled one of two Cypress trees in the landing area of the 18th fairway.
The damage came as heavy rains and winds battered the Monterey peninsula, part of a storm that the National Weather Service warned would be one of the most powerful to hit Northern California in years.
The pair of Cypress trees, which framed the tee shot of the par-five 18th, were planted in 2004 as replacements for two diseased pine trees. As of this afternoon, only one of them still stood.
With winds gusting at more than 40 miles-per-hour, the storm downed trees and branches across the peninsula but didn’t entirely shut down play in the golf-rich region.
RJ Cerame, marketing manager for the Northern California Golf Assocation, said that he and other staffers had spent part of their wet and wind-blown Thursday morning at Poppy Hills, playing nine holes “in the elements,” as part of a Ryder Cup-style competition that he and his colleagues were calling “The Axe.”
Cerame said that Poppy had lost “roughly half a dozen trees,” including a large one that fell on the third tee.
Just down the road, fabled Cypress Point appeared to have escaped relatively unscathed.
“I was out there this morning and didn’t see anything serious,” a source with access to the club said.
Though heavy rains were expected to continue well into Friday, as of Thursday afternoon, winds on the peninsula had slacked, with reported gusts topping out at 20 miles per hour.