Pebble Beach is arguably the most beautiful course in the world and the ATT event was worthy of it. It went to the wire. Phil Mickelson led the field going into the final round but started poorly. He was 2 strokes behind leader in the clubhouse Vaughan Taylor and need two birdies in the last three holes. He got one with a 12 foot putt. On the eighteenth, with the Pacific one side and water hazard the other, and a large tree in the middle, Mickelson’s drive cleared the tree. His approach shot did not make the green. He was left with a five foot putt for a play-off which lipped out. So Taylor ranked 447th in the world and who did not have a tour card won his first tourney in 11 years and a Masters’ entry.
Jeremy Chapman fancied Mickelson whom I had backed each way which gave the drama an extra tweak. Steve Palmer came out with a great pick in Freddy Jacobsen who finished fifth at a tasty price. Laying Inter after they took the lead against Fiorentina who won 2-1, and a tickle of more than 2.5 goals in Manchester City v Spurs made it overall a satisfactory weekend.
Pebble Beach hugs the coast at Carmel. The Pacific provides a breathtaking backdrop and its breakers roll and crash. We were treated to a gorgeous sunset of rich pink in the closing holes. Former mayor and veteran actor Clint Eastwood joined Jim Nantz and Sir Nick Faldo in the CBS coverage.
Charl Schwatzel romped away with the Tshwane Open in Pretoria. I can’t wait for Steve Palmer’s column next week. He is always so funny when the Gods turn against him. He would have backed Zander Lombard for a top five. He was coasting to it when he double bogeyed two of his last four holes finishing sixth. With my normal incompetence I managed to back Justin Walters twice and he snuck in for a top five place to provide my only winner.
I have often referred to the candidates for the Ryder Cup. I should also mention another big competition this year the Olympics and many golfers will be equally anxious to make one of the four national places on offer for Rio.