PEBBLE BEACH, SPYGLASS HILL, AND SPANISH BAY
As the pro tour rolls north up Route 1 through beautiful Carmel and Monterey, lets stop and take in the view.
This week, the pros play three courses, Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Spanish Bay. Phil shot 62 at Spyglass Hill, shattering the course record. Once upon a time, Spyglass had the U.S.' highest course rating and featured shot requirements so stern no less a personage than Jack Nicklaus said "When I play Pebble Beach it makes me proud to be a golfer, when I play Spyglass Hill, I wish I went fishing." Phil made birdie on the difficult 4th hole by getting up and down from the normally fatal ice plant..a rubbery, grabby, steriodal version of pachysandra.
(WITP editor's note...we do not actually know if ice plant and pachysandra are botanically related. It just looks similar and we so rarely get to use the word "pachysandra" in a sentence;)
Phil said he never drove the ball this far in his life. This is the same week, players and officials are openly pressuring the powers that be for regulation of balls and drivers. Coincidence? I am more than a little concerned when a quintessential classic, indeed a paragon of difficulty, is reduced to a pitch and putt.
I love you Phil, this is not a jibe at you - but 62 at Spyglass? I never thought I'd see the day...
You too can play Spyglass if yu plunk down $350 + $75 for a caddy...and maybe $500 for a hotel. Its $405 to play Pebble beach. Twilight...which starts at 5PM for some strange reason (oh, so you can't finish), is "only" $250 at Pebble Beach, $225 at Spanish bay and Spyglass?
Tell me dear readers? Is it worth it? Have you played it? What is your opinion of its being a good value?
Notice something else...the Zero factor. Pebble Beach will host the Open on a rotatating ten year basis. 2000, 2010, 2020, etc. St. Andrew's will host the Bristish Open every five years, 2000, 2005, 2010. For those of you scoring at home it will go St Andrews's, four courses from "The Rota," St. Andrew's, then the other four courses from the Rota, with some minor vairation. That means every year that ends in "0" Pebble and St. Andrews's will host the open in the same year. What happened last time? Tiger dominated over courses deemed susceptible the new length of playews. St. Andrews's tried to "Tiger proof" the course a bit - we'll see this summer. Tiger will always have an edge at Pebble Beach as it was his college home course for four years. Stanford guys have done well there...just look to Tom Watson as another Cardinal who won the Open there.
While on the subject, I had one of the most memorable meals of my life at Ciao Bella on Route 9 in Aptos. The INSIDE is like the retro-sensory hipster eatery "Jack Rabbit Slim's" from Pulp Fiction. The OUTSIDE is strolling violins and tiki torches illuminating tables set at the base of enormous, towering Redwoods. The menu is all in Italian:) You must have a meal there if you are in the area...it's stellar.