The Forecaddie: Memories continue to flow for McDowell at Pebble Beach

The Forecaddie: Memories continue to flow for McDowell at Pebble Beach

Forecaddie

The Forecaddie: Memories continue to flow for McDowell at Pebble Beach

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – There are many great plaques to commemorate special moments in golf history.

There’s Arnold Palmer’s plaque on the now-15th hole at Royal Birkdale, where Palmer hit 6-iron from a blackberry bush to help him win the 1961 British Open. Then there’s Jack Nicklaus’ on the 18th hole at Baltusrol, where he hit 1-iron en route to winning the 1967 U.S. Open. And The Man Out Front can’t forget Ben Hogan’s on the 18th hole at Merion, where his 1-iron shot helped him get into a playoff at the 1950 U.S. Open, which he went on to win.

So where would Graeme McDowell’s plaque go at Pebble Beach, site of his 2010 U.S. Open victory?

McDowell thought long and hard, and then provided TMOF with some candidates. There was a 7-iron he hit on the par-5 14th hole during the final round. It was his third shot after he had to lay up out of a bunker, and it went off the back of the green. Kind of odd, eh?

“It was weird,” McDowell said. “It led to a bogey, but it was a key swing because it reaffirmed to myself that I had what it took to hit the shots down the stretch.”

Then there was the drive he hit on his 72nd hole. The tee was up that Sunday, so McDowell could blow it past the two trees in the middle of the fairway (there is now just one). He did just that, but ended up not having to go for the green as Gregory Havret made par in front of him. McDowell laid up, made his par and won the U.S. Open. So yeah, not plaque-worthy, either.

“If there was a plaque to go out there somewhere, I’m not really sure where you’d put it,” McDowell said. “You might put it in Brophy’s.”

Ah yes, Brophy’s Tavern in nearby Carmel, where McDowell celebrated his U.S. Open victory. McDowell can’t recall much about that night, he tells TMOF, except that he “hit the wall at about 1 a.m.”

“Two glasses of champagne (at tournament hospitality earlier) and I was buzzing, you know, just on top of the adrenaline and just the exhaustion and the emotion,” McDowell said. “… It was a blur, I don’t really remember much about the night to be honest with you.

“They told me I was in Brophy’s.”

During the night, McDowell signed a wall mural of Pebble’s famed seventh hole: Love you. Graeme McDowell. 2010 U.S. Open champion. He returned four years later and resigned the mural: A much more sober Graeme McDowell. 2014 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

(Sadly, TMOF stopped by Brophy’s for fish and chips Wednesday evening and the bar, now under new management, has been remodeled. No more mural – or anything golf related, for that matter.)

One more Brophy’s story from that night before TMOF signs off:

“I remember walking into Brophy’s and (Padraig) Harrington was there and there was a flag I was signing by the bar, and he said, ‘You better get used to that. You’re going to see so many of those darn flags, you’re going to be sick of it.’ ”

And?

“You see thousands of those things,” McDowell said, “and it was a privilege to sign every one of them.”

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