PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Phil Mickelson finished, and for a few inelegant holes he seemed to be finished off. Jordan Spieth was still splashing forward. Open your umbrella, grab that Gore-Tex jacket and we’ll add another tale to the wintry woes of the tournament that can’t escape the Pacific storms or (drip, drip) its own reputation.
Yes, as promised — well, forecast might be a better word — around noon Friday the rain hit the Monterey Peninsula, along with the golf tournament known as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but in truth is the Crosby. Play was halted the rest of the afternoon.
As has happened so many times, from the days of the man himself, Bing Crosby, ducking under a brolly, to those of his pal Phil Harris hollering, “Get me out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini,” to that fateful year of 1996 when a PGA Tour official upped and cancelled the tournament after only two rounds were completed, so there was no result, other than plenty of puddles.
That doesn’t appear to be the destiny of this year’s AT&T, although the way the greens were flooding at Pebble, despite workmen using squeegees, one never knows.
What we do know is that Mickelson, who completed his round at Spyglass Hill before the weather changed, Lucas Glover, Scott Langley and Paul Casey all are at 10 under par through 36 holes and Jordan Spieth, who also was at Spyglass, is at 10 under through 34 holes. Jason Day, at Spyglass, was 9 under through 15 holes.
Rain is supposed to continue through Saturday and Sunday, which is unfortunate but, as history verifies, not unusual. “Bing’s tournament is a real test of endurance,” said Bob Hope, who of course had his own event in the desert. “You expect wind and rain and usually get it. But one day there were clams in the rain.”
Not really. Just branches from pine trees and a few hats that were not pulled down completely.
Mickelson, who grew up in San Diego and then went to Arizona State, said he enjoys the challenge of battling the conditions, maybe because until he got on Tour he never had the opportunity to do so. On Friday, closing on the front nine as the weather front swept in, Phil had to battle himself.
Starting at the 10th hole, Mickelson was six under through the round and 12 under for the tournament when he came to the sixth hole. He went bogey, bogey, bogey. Yikes.
But then he dropped a putt on nine for a birdie. Time to exhale.
“I hate finishing the round off like that after having a pretty nice round going in,” said Mickelson. “But I guess to make one on the last, that was a tough, hard hole, that’s usually a driver, eight or nine iron, and I had to whistle a 4-iron after a good drive.
“It was just a little bit more difficult conditions. I’m also lucky to get in now and have guys, unfortunately, out there playing in some tough stuff.”
Or, when the horn blew at 2:11 pm PST ending the round, not playing. Those with uncompleted rounds return on Saturday morning and then, assuming they don’t need a snorkel, go back out for the third round. At the AT&T, because there are three courses — par-71 Monterey Peninsula, par-72 Spyglass and par-72 Pebble — the cut is not made until after 54 holes.
Mickelson, 48, has won the tournament four times including in 1998 when, because of suspension after two rounds and a desperate need to get in the third to make the event official, golfers returned to Pebble in August, six months later,
Spieth, 24, also is an AT&T champion, winning in 2017. He shows up expecting anything and everything. And he’s getting it.
“I’ve got a shot from the fairway on eight and then the ninth,” Spieth said of closing at Spyglass, ”and then go to Pebble and kind of see what it gives you.”
Tony Romo, now more famous for his NFL commentary on CBS than for his play as a Dallas Cowboys quarterback, is a scratch amateur — aren’t you envious of these guys who are so talented? — and is teamed with pro Jim Furyk.
They were at Pebble on Friday, and Romo’s second shot on 15 almost went into the hospitality tent. No problem. He wedged off the entry mat to about a foot from the pin and made the putt for a par.
Yes, it was on TV.