Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Believe in Love at Pebble Beach
By John Antonini
At this time last year, everyone on tour was talking about the weather, but this year -- contrary to the popular saying -- someone apparently has done something about it. The 2006 West Coast swing has been devoid of the wind and rain that plagued last year's events, and the forecast for this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am calls for sunshine.
In 2005, when the weather was perfect on Thursday, Phil Mickelson practically sealed his victory with that incredible 62 at Spyglass Hill. Recalling that round makes me think Lefty can repeat, but ultimately I'm going with Davis Love III to end his two-year winless streak.
Love hits it far and high, and he is levelheaded, a must at a tournament where so many things -- bumpy greens, wind, pace of play -- can get under a player's skin. Love won the Clambake in '01 and '03 and finished T-9 a year ago. Yes, I'm conveniently ignoring that he missed the cut at Pebble the last two times it was played in a Ryder Cup year. Fact is, I think the chance to play for another Ryder Cup will drive Love, who's eighth in the standings and is not a lock to make the team on points.
The second thing to watch at the AT&T is the race to qualify for the Accenture Match Play two weeks hence. Jesper Parnevik, Arron Oberholser and Olin Browne are among those on that tournament's bubble who have finished in the top 10 at Pebble.
John Antonini is a senior editor for Golf World magazine