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Amateur Hour


Most stops on the PGA Tour are relatively buttoned-down. Other than a few notable exceptions — say, the coed keg party that is No. 16 at TPC Scottsdale — there is a routine etiquette expected, if not required, at each stop on the PGA Tour schedule.

But when Bill Murray is high-fiving fans and galloping down the fairway riding on his driver like it’s a horse, the golf clap loses out to roars of laughter from the gallery. The Caddyshack star is just one of the big names who will lighten the mood at this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Although Murray’s good buddy the Dalai Lama — big hitter, the Lama — won’t be teeing it up at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Monterey Peninsula CC or Spyglass Hill GC, there will be plenty of other athletes, actors and musicians on the course, which is nice.

Along with Cinderella stories like Carl Spackler, the Pro-Am will feature other fringe players from the world of golf, including U.S. Open hopeful and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Tin Cup star Kevin Costner, along with duffers like Bill Belichick, Drew Brees, Kelly Slater, Oscar de la Hoya, Kenny G, Michael Bolton, Maur Povich and Ray Romano.

The idea for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am was Bing Crosby’s brainchild back in 1937, when Sam Snead won at Rancho Santa Fe, near Del Mar in the San Diego area.

When “Slammin’ Sammy” was presented with a $500 winner’s check in front of a small gathering of Crosby’s friends, the legendary golfer famously told the host, “If you don’t mind, Mr. Crosby, I’d rather have cash.”

This year, Dustin Johnson aims to become first to win player to win three straight AT&Ts at Pebble Beach. Last year, the big-hitter held on for a one-shot win — despite a 2-over-74 final round — over David Duval and J.B. Holmes.

Johnson became the first back-to-back winner since Mark O’Meara in 1990, joining Hall of Famers Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Cary Middlecoff as the only repeat winners in Pebble Beach history. No one has ever won three straight.

Unfortunately, the last time the 26-year-old Johnson played at Pebble, he collapsed to shoot an 82 on Sunday at the U.S. Open — the worst final-round score posted by a 54-hole leader in almost 100 years.

But this is a new year, and Johnson is looking forward to returning to a course he has been dominant on.

“I’m always going to love this golf course, no matter what. I’m just ready to get back out and play,” said Johnson. “Get a little redemption for the last round of the Open.”