Sunday, February 10, 2019

Crosby Weather Strikes Again: Hail Stops Final Round Play at Pebble Beach Pro-Am

It's not uncommon to marvel at the spectacular views of Pebble Beach Golf Links.  And when the winds coming in off the Pacific Ocean start whipping, and the sideways rains start pounding players, this beauty of a course can become an absolute beast. 


It's a different kind of weather disturbance however, when marble-size hail completely sheaths greens and forces players to run for cover.  And that's exactly what happened Sunday during the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am as squeegees and leaf blowers were needed to remove the hail from the course. 

This type of peculiar weather at Pebble is known as "Crosby Weather," for when Bing Crosby hosted the tournament.  And Sunday's hailstorm is just the latest chapter in a long history of strange Pebble meteorology. 


In 1962 snow postponed a round during the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, leaving player Jimmy Demaret to remark: "I know I had a lot to drink last night, but how did I end up in Squaw Valley?" 


In 2009 Dustin Johnson won the the Pebble Beach Pro-Am when the final round was pushed to a Monday finish because of rain, and then cancelled because the storm system just wouldn't go away.  It's not hard to imagine we'll have another Monday finish this week.  It's unlikely however, we'll ever get another winner looking more boss than DJ posing with his trophy. 


The last time the final round of the Pro-Am finished on Monday, Tiger Woods rallied from a seven-shot deficit in 2000 to win his sixth consecutive start. 


And two years earlier in 1998, Phil Mickelson won a Monday finish in what's been dubbed "the longest event in PGA Tour history."  Rains were incredibly heavy on the west coast after the second round and continued that way all of spring and summer because of El Nino.  To avoid cancelling the event altogether, the Tour decided to play the third and final round a full six months later in August the day after the PGA Championship. 


Lefty finished Sunday at the PGA Championship with a disappointing final round 79, and then flew back down south and shot a 67 to win the Pro-Am title the following day.  Vijay Singh captured the Wanamaker Trophy and $540,000 prize that year at Sahalee Country Club, but Mickelson won $550,000 ($440,000 in prize money and $100,000 as a bonus for being top West Coast winner). 

In typical Phil being Phil fashion, Mickelson summed up the strange occurrence best when he said,
"Let me see if I got this right.  Vijay wins the PGA yesterday and $540,000, and I just won $550,000?  It's a cool day." 
Hail isn't expected to return again to Pebble tomorrow, however because the final round was delayed for a few hours a Monday finish seems inevitable.  The good news is Monday is shaping up to be the warmest day of the tournament, with a high temperature almost reaching 60-degrees. 


At the time of the delay, Paul Casey held a three-shot lead over Phil Mickelson.  But at Pebble Beach no lead is safe until you actually have the trophy in hand.

1 comment:

  1. What a great read. I didn't recognize DJ in that picture. He looked like a skinny JRahm.