After all, this is where The Golden Bear crushed a one-iron into 40-mile-an-hour wind, hitting the pin and leaving it within five inches of the 17th hole to win in 1972, where Tom Watson holed a miracle chip at the same windswept spot in 1982, and where Tiger Woods won by a 15-stroke margin after uncorking the best four-day total (272) ever in the 2000 national championship.
As Sportscenter’s Rick Reilly told me the other day, “something really historic always seems to happen when the U.S. Open is here.”
Despite a game in disrepair, a desperately unraveling personal life and a bum neck, on the strength of that record domination a decade ago, Woods is a favorite.
He shares that favored role with Phil Mickelson, defending Masters champ and even more of a Tiger foil than ever after attending to his cancer-stricken wife and mother in the weeks leading up to Augusta while Tiger’s hoochies continued to appear from seemingly every strip bar and nightclub he ever frequented. The fact that Phil has long been a jovial AT&T Pro-Am attendee, and has won here three times, deepens golf fandom’s desperate desire to see him end a skid of five U.S. Open second place finishes.
He’ll have to hold off a field of 156 pros, though, and survive famously intense conditions that include a long and carniverous rough, more length and more bunkers than Pebble Beach has ever seen, fairways that have shrunk as much as 50 percents and poa annua greens that have traditionally given Woods reason to whine.
It all makes for a heady weekend of golf. And Tradewinds’ strategic positioning about a 3-wood from the Carmel-Pebble Beach gate makes it an ideal homebase that conveniently accesses the course, the beach and the town’s many restaurants.
A shuttle to the tournament leaves from Carmel Plaza about every half hour between 7am-7pm (and until 5:30pm Sunday) for $20/day; $80/week.
Also, for a local’s tips on food, music, etc. during the Open, see Things That Come with the U.S. Open blog on the Special Edible blog.