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Pebble Beach is perfect setting for Murray, Lopez, and PGA greatsavatar

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Bill Murray pours sun screen on a woman; one of the crazy antics that makes following Murray a must at the tournament.

Bill Murray pours sun screen on a woman; one of the crazy antics that makes following Murray a must at the tournament.

Don’t forget to check out the photo gallery to see more pictures of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

 Pebble Beach – First of all, let me thank KH for all of the support in covering this year’s event at Pebble. This tourney is an all-time personal favorite.

On Friday’s second round, I followed Dallas Cowboys’ QB Tony Romo who was partnered with golf pro John Daly. By the way, Daly’s reality show on the Golf Channel begins in March. A videographer following him throughout the day while Daly sucked up plenty of cigarettes!

Watching the likes of the great Phil Michelson and the other pros in close proximity is pretty, pretty amazing (Curb). But I must admit, I usually stick to the must-see comedians, Bill Murray and George Lopez. Ray Romano is another favorite, especially when he’s paired with Kevin James (the HBO special they did together from a prior Pebble Beach tournament was great). While HBO did not edit the jokes, rightfully so, the jokes for the most part at the tournament are clean.

George Lopez playfully waves to the fans at Spyglass Hill.

George Lopez playfully waves to the fans at Spyglass Hill.

“What’s that perfume you’re wearing? Merlot?” is a question often asked by Murray. He’ll then drink down a glass of wine he confiscated from someone in the gallery. Murray’s grouping usually attracts the largest following.

Following Murray is always a treat. Two or three years ago, he came to my rescue when a caddie shouted, “No pictures when the pros are putting!” I abruptly put down my camera. Murray walked around the green, tapped the bill of my cap, and playfully shouted, ”Oh! Don’t anybody move! The professionals are playing!” It was classic. Everyone was laughing out loud. And Murray reminded the caddie they were there for charity. It was during the 3M Charity event, a shortened one-day tournament usually played Wednesday before the next day’s first round play in the main draw.

The AT&T is played on Spyglass Hill, Pebble Beach, and the Monterey Peninsula courses. The backdrop is the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean along Monterey Peninsula.

The AT&T is played on Spyglass Hill, Pebble Beach, and the Monterey Peninsula courses. The backdrop is the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean along Monterey Peninsula.

If you get situated near a sand trap and Murray is nearby; beware. Practice swings usually mean sand on your head. The all-time tournament classic and, leads Golf Channel’s Top Ten, is Murray dancing, hand-in-hand, with an older woman in a sand trap. He purposely lets her go, and she takes a fall in the sand. At one time, officials felt Murray’s antics were not par for the course. Some complained the behavior should not be associated with the sport. Dude, it’s was outrageous! All I can say is where would this tournament be without Murray? Or even Daly?

George Lopez makes time for his fans. “George, a quick picture. Can we get a picture real fast?” shouted a group of guys. “Hay, que,” responded George and easily gives in. “Okay, walk with me because I’m way behind.” Tournament officials would rather all the autograph signing be done at the end of the tournament after the scores are turned in. But Murray and Lopez know how important the fans are to the tournament. So righteous.

George’s caddie, Michael Collins, even gets in on the fun. When Tiger’s name came up among fans following Lopez and actor Andy Garcia, and pros Rory Sabbatini and Greg Kraft, someone shouted, “Maybe Tiger should’ve skipped some of those …!” Something on the golf course that cannot be used in this blog, but rhymes with goals.

Collins responded saying the same, ‘Yeah, he should’ve definitely skipped some of those …!”

Later George said Tiger wanted to “speak to all the females … all the blonde females.” Tiger was a hot topic and the brunt of many jokes.

What’s up with Andy Garcia! Maybe he’s just the quiet type? Sure, he stopped to sign autographs, but had little rapport with the fans. One lady asked him to sign a stuffed animal, he did. She tried to start a short conversation asking how are things? And, he’s like, “Fine.” Dude, you may be Cuban, but you’re no Desi Arnaz. Let loose, my brother.

PGA touring player Rocco Mediate.

PGA player Rocco Mediate.

Clint Eastwood. The Good. First of all, too many people in journalism have over-used ”The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” routine in their stories. I’m a huge fan of Eastwood and the classic western. I own a copy of the movie. But lets come up with something new, something original, instead of what’s become a Hollywood cliche (don’t know how to do accents on this computer).

I spoke with Eastwood in ’05, I think, shortly after the release of “Million Dollar Baby.” He was slightly annoyed that people missed the point of the movie.  “This is a love story. It’s not really a boxing story. I think it was portrayed as such,” said the man who played “Blondie,” ”Inspector Harry Callahan” and even “Rowdy Yates.”

Short tidbit: Eastwood and actor Burt Reynolds were fired on the same day. Eastwood because he didn’t talk loud enough, and Reynolds was told he couldn’t act.

PGA players get all the perks.

So much comes with being a professional athlete: Professional golfers, like athletes in the NBA and MLB, are treated to many ammenities at the many tournaments on the tour. And Pebble Beach isn’t any different.

An excellent article written by Kathlyn Clore of The Herald mentioned the perks.

Bill Murray played it up in Pebble Beach.

Bill Murray played it up in Pebble Beach.

While some PGA players drove to the tournament, others who arrived at either the San Francisco, San Jose or Monterey airports were handed keys to a GLK Mercedes-Benz by Hertz. The players paid for their own gasoline, but a tournament official made sure the cars were ready for the players. Those who drove to Monterey had the option of a car.

Exclusive visits: The Monterey Bay Aquarium opened its doors on the Tuesday before the tournament. It was an exclusive opening just for PGA players and their families.

On lodging: The Lodge at Pebble Beach was available to players at a rate of $595 to $2,200 a night.  The Hilton Garden was also available for $150 to $200 a night. Officials reserved an entire block of rooms well in advance. Just what the heck do you get for $2,200?

George Lopez once said he bought a home along the 17-Mile Drive. I think he owns a home in Los Angeles too. Many of the players and celebrities often receive invitations to luxurious estates situated in the forest inside the peninsula. Some players will make special appearances at golf clinics, schools and other charitable functions throughout the duration of the tourney. Former Fresno State player Nick Watney and his family often rent a house for the duration of the tournament.  The former Bulldog received an outstanding achievement award by California Golf Writers Association prior to the tournament.

Fly, fly away: Many of the touring pros take advantage of the PGA Tour’s private jet. For a mere $50,000 deposit, you can have a jet ready for you in 10 hours or less. It’s like the HBO hit show “Entourage” that often shows million-dollar actors and agents boarding private jets. PGA officials make all the arrangements. Sentient Jet deducts the cost of each flight from the players’ deposit, although some players still fly coach.

The Cleaner: No, it’s not Harvey Keitel’s character in “Reservoir Dogs.” Greg Quinones is the exclusive dry cleaner of the tournament. Quinones operates Vapor Dry Cleaners in Monterey. Players, their families, caddies and tournament officials just drop off their dirty clothes at the tent located at Pebble Beach Golf Course.

HOPE: Steve Hulka, a career-caddie, owns and operates Hulka’s Overland Players Express, which stays busy throughout the tour hauling luggage, golf bags, even baby strollers to many tournaments.



Written by Daniel Cásarez

February 17th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Daniel Cásarez

3 Responses to 'Pebble Beach is perfect setting for Murray, Lopez, and PGA greats'

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  1. Hi Daniel,

    Thank you very much for crediting my reporting, as it was some work :)

    This is a nice blogging initiative, promoting local Latino voices but in English so us non-Spanish speakers can get an idea of what people are talking about :)

    I’m a freelance writer myself, so do let me know if I can help your initiative!



    Kathlyn Clore

    24 Feb 10 at 11:52 am

  2. Hey! What a pleasure to meet you, even if it’s through this endless maze of electronic switching of information. Yes, a little skeptism on technology (á la Dr. McCoy). Although, technology plays a vital role in getting out my photos.
    Great inside story on the perks enjoyed by PGA players! I loved it. Send links of your other stuff! Especially, since I’m in this “initiative” mode.


    Danny Boy

    24 Feb 10 at 8:07 pm

  3. Glad you enjoyed. You can find a bunch of my writing at (We’re all supposed to be doing this “have a blog thing”, right?).

    I do some writing for the Monterey County Herald, like this story. I previously worked at a newspaper, but now my main gig is editing for the European Journalism Centre (’ve come to specialize in editing writing by non-native English speakers there.

    So if I could ever be of help in that way to any of your writers, let me know :)


    Kathlyn Clore

    26 Feb 10 at 2:04 am

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