Pebble notes: Weather, Lefty offer up surprises
Saturday, February 11, 2012
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – There was good news and bad news so far as Anthony “Antman” Knight was concerned.
His decision to do some house-cleaning and lighten the golf bag by ditching the umbrella proved unfortunate when a cool steady mist swept over the Monterey Peninsula. Then again, it could have been worse, because the rain moved in as Aaron Baddeley played the 18th and final hole at Pebble Beach and they were able to retrieve an emergency umbrella.
Baddeley and Knight weren’t the only ones caught by surprise, because the forecast had called for weather to be as spectacular as the day before when a cloudless sky and pulsating sun enveloped the area.
Then again, “Pebble weather” is not part of the talk out here for nothing. One never appreciates how quickly a blue sky can turn gray until you visit here, and it must be said that Baddeley and Knight weren’t the only ones to get caught unprepared.
“I didn’t have any rain gear with me, either,” said Dustin Johnson, who shot 72 at Spyglass and enters the weekend at 9 under, three behind the leader, Charlie Wi. “I was cold and wet. It’s tough.”
But it’s Monterey Peninsula, he was told.
“I know. I just didn’t have it.”
One would be safe to wager that many of these players and caddies won’t get caught unprepared again.
Not at Pebble.
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ALL’S RIGHT WITH LEFTY: While the bulk of the media attention was focused on Monterey Peninsula’s back nine, where Tiger Woods was putting together a quiet round of 2-under 68, Phil Mickelson was making much more noise on the front.
Having toured the back in level-par 36, Mickelson was just 2 under, and you needed to look well down the agate list to see his name.
Then in vintage Mickelson fashion, the left-hander heated up. Five birdies, a sizzling 29, and just like that, he roared into a share of eighth, at 7 under, just five off the lead.
“When the (bad) weather came in, I started to play a lot better,” said Mickelson, shaking his head. “In the perfect conditions, I struggled.”
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HIS PACE OF PLAY IS A MIRAGE: At a tournament where rounds take upwards of 5 1/2 hours to play, Johnson was given credit for playing quickly. Only thing is, he didn’t agree that he moves that fast.
“I’m tall. My steps are long,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m moving fast.”
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PERHAPS A MEETING IS IN ORDER: Charlie Wi has a three-stroke lead halfway through 36 as he chases his first PGA Tour win. But given the nature of this tournament, someone wanted to know if he had caught up to the NFL MVP, who also is playing here this week.
Wi smiled. He concedes he doesn’t know Aaron Rodgers, “but I know he went to Cal.” Then he added, “I didn’t even know he was here.”
When a reporter suggested Rodgers probably didn’t know that Wi was here, the leader laughed. “Yeah, perfect. Even ground.”
For the record, Rodgers is paired with D.J. Trahan and their team is 10 under, tied for 50th.
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GOING GREEN: Padraig Harrington had the day’s best round at Pebble Beach, a 66, and shared low honors against par (6 under) with Ryan Moore, who shot 64 at Monterey Peninsula.
Not only did the Irishman’s effort push him up the leaderboard - where he’s tied for third, just four off the lead - but he and frequent partner J.P. McManus are a tidy 25 under and seven ahead in the pro-am portion. Translated, the team has two eagles and 21 birdies in 36 holes.
How good has McManus been? Harrington birdied the par-4 third on his own ball, but it didn’t count for the team, because his partner made a birdie, net eagle.
Perhaps the day’s best move for a team went to D.A. Points and Bill Murray, the defending champs. Having opened with a lackluster 2-under 70 at Spyglass Hill, they posted a 10-under 60 at Monterey Peninsula and jumped into a share of 26th and in contention to make the cut (low 25 teams).
Also of note: Woods and Tony Romo are at 10 under, tied for 50th; Ricky Barnes and Bill Belichick are joint seventh, at 16 under; Steven Bowditch and Ray Romano are in a share of 11th, at 15 under; and Trevor Immelman and George Lopez are just 4 under, mired in a share of 128th.