Conventional wisdom has long held that playing the Pebble Beach Pro-Am with Bill Murray is a recipe for failure. Murray’s on-course shtick is simply too distracting to the task at hand. It’s like trying to sit at your desk and get work done while a carload of circus clowns unloads in your office.
But where others find distraction, D.A. Points found inspiration. Points, this year’s newest Cinderella boy, captured his first PGA Tour win, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, with childhood idol Murray as his pro-am partner.
“Yeah, everybody all week kept saying, well, you got the short end of the stick playing with Murray. He’s so crazy,” Points said after a final-round 67 gave him a two-shot win over hard-charging Hunter Mahan. “I never, ever felt that way and I kept thinking, you know, why does everybody get so worked up thinking he's this big distraction?
“I tried to embrace it. I was expecting him to be, you know, more of a distraction than he was, and maybe he toned it down, maybe he didn't, I didn't know, but he just seemed to have fun and he taught me to go ahead and have a little more fun and in turn, it distracted me from trying so hard. It kept me more loose and having a good time with Bill.”
Adding to the good time was the duo’s win in the pro-am, Murray’s first win at the regular Pebble Tour stop (he did win the Champions Tour pro-am with Scott Simpson). Add champion golfer to Murray’s resume, although it’s not his first taste of golf success.
“I've won all kind of things, nothing that I could cash in at a pawn shop but I've won a couple of Pro-Am kind of things,” Murray said. “We were the low girls at the Boys & Girls Club tournament on Monday. I got pro shop credit, you know what I’m saying. I’ll get a vest that's marked down or something.”
Early in the week, Murray happened to be on the tee with the Tour’s resident practice machine, Vijay Singh, who helped Murray play some of the best golf of his life this week.
“In the course of the round Monday, I played a few good holes early, and then really lost my swing and it was ugly,” Murray said. “Big, flying mud and everything, it was terrible. And I thought I would go back and start hitting some balls and there was Vijay Singh on the range. I’ve known Vijay a long time and I’m friendly with him. And I would never go like, ‘Hey, you big Fijian, help me out here.’
“But he saw me sort of struggling and he came over and he said one thing, and I did it, and then about three minutes later he says another thing, and I did it, and then about four minutes later, he said another thing and I did it, and I never hit the ball that well in my entire life. And I just thought, holy cow, I don’t know how you can play this long and get something that late that can work. That’s basically why I’m up here today drinking wine and looking for another glass.”
Within Spitting Distance
Tiger’s getting closer, but he still has work to do. Woods entered the final round of the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic one shot off the lead, but he hacked his way to a final-round 75, at one point hocking a loogie on the 14th green that led to a fine from the Euro Tour and cries of derision from the broadcast team. Still, his T20 represents progress.
“Yeah, there were quite a few positives this week,” Woods said tersely after the round. “Also a couple glaring examples of what I need to work on, which is good, and I’ll go to work next week."
Woods blamed the windy conditions for derailing his first shot at a victory of any kind in more than a year.
“It’s just like anything, all of my old feels are out the window when the wind blows, so that’s the thing when you’re making change,” he said. “I went through this with Butch and I went through this with Hank. It’s fine when the wind is not blowing, but when I have to hit shots and the wind blows, the change of feels and the new swing patterns, they get exposed.”
Alvaro Quiros has long been a breakthrough star in waiting, with his mammoth length off the tee and movie star appearance. Quiros took a step toward legitimate stardom with his win in Dubai by a shot following his third straight 68.
The Spaniard feels he’s ready to make his mark in the big events.
“In my case, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be in a good position to fight for a Top-10 in the Majors, if I make my job properly,” he said. “This is my target; to improve in the Majors, because as you can see, my numbers in the Majors are really bad. I think I made two cuts in eight Majors. So I can’t expect to win a major doing two cuts in eight. So, we will see.”