Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pebble Beach: A Cool Place To Be

Not to be rude or anything but here at Pebble Beach, where the U.S. Open is coming to life today, it's chilly.

I know, you don't want to hear it as you rub sweat out of your eyes and wonder if it would be possible to cook a turkey in your car while you're at work today. But at Pebble Beach, where Tiger Woods was on the course at 7 a.m., people are bundled up in sweaters, sweatshirts and jackets.

The parking attendants are wearing hoodies and gloves. It looks like a Packers' game.

Depending on how often the sun decides to shine through what they call the marine layer out here -- it's like fog only not quite that low -- the temperature isn't expected to nudge much past 60 degrees unless Phil Mickelson gets it going on low or Clint Eastwood makes the scene. It's what you call atmosphere.

This U.S. Open could have plenty of it. Just playing at Pebble Beach, which has posed for more flattering photos than Julia Roberts, makes it special. Walking its hills and bluffs, feeling the cool mist coming off the water, marveling at its sheer beauty is like looking at the Grand Canyon. It's almost visual overload.

The par-3 seventh hole, which is barely 100 yards long, may be the single best hole in golf anywhere. If we're lucky enough to get a little wind -- just a little -- it will be more fun to watch than 'Caddyshack.'

As with any Open, there are multiple storylines. Phil Mickelson turns 40 on Wednesday with another chance to win his elusive national championship. Tiger's back at the scene of his most dominating performance ever but he's not the same guy, at least not now. Lee Westwood just won in Memphis and seems a threat again.

It doesn't start for another couple of days but Pebble Beach is already a cool place to be.