In praise of Pebble Beach and Phil Mickelson

Pebble Beach is one of those special places  that all Americans, at least anyone who has ever picked up a golf club, should visit. I’ve had the good fortune to stop by the course a couple of times, and my wife and I were in the galleries during the third round of the tournament in 1997.

Phil Mickelson ran away with the lead today, leaving Tiger Woods and the rest of the field to wither in the wind whipping off the Pacific Coast. The AT&T National Pro-Am is the old Bing Crosby “clambake,” and its traditions are as rich and deep as those of the Pebble Beach itself.

The year we attended, I got to watch a number of celebrities on the course. Bill Murray was paired with Mark Grace, the Chicago Cubs first baseman, who faded a tee shot off the fairway nearly at our feet. I believe it was on the 16th hole.

Even better, I turned around at one point to look behind me and find none other than Mr. October, Reggie Jackson.

It’s fitting that one of my greatest days ever on a golf course involved baseball players, not to mention not having to a take a single, tortured swing.



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