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Players bracing for all kinds of weather


PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.—Jordan Spieth, still only 23, was amazed that this is the fifth time he has played the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

He's been watching it even longer.

Spieth said yesterday that Pebble Beach was one of the golf tournaments he watched as a kid. He was intrigued, and at times amused, to see PGA Tour players alongside celebrities, entertainers, and corporate titans.

“These guys who are just so good at what they do, whatever it is, but they for whatever reason can't figure out how to golf,” Spieth said with a laugh.

“And then they come out here and they're hitting shots in front of you, and you see how nervous they are.”

And Spieth recalled the weather—usually the nasty stuff.

“Bad days isn't the way to say it, but just these crazy weather days that just make the Monterey Peninsula kind of meaner on this golf course,” he remarked.

Buckle up. He might get to experience it himself.

Pebble has been blessed with mostly glorious weather in the five years that Spieth has been playing, except for cold, windy conditions in 2014 and the occasional day of light drizzle, fog, or an overcast sky.

The three courses on the Monterey Peninsula—Pebble, Spyglass Hill, and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club—have been soaked by recent rain.

And more was expected for the opening round today and lingering into tomorrow.

Tee times were moved up an hour for the first round to avoid most of the nasty stuff.

For the strong field that has assembled at Pebble Beach, they have come to expect it and are pleased when the crazy weather stays away.

But it figures to be sloppy. Webb Simpson, coming off a playoff loss in Phoenix on Sunday, hit his tee shot on the first hole yesterday morning and the ball was half-submerged in the soggy turf.

Other players were scooting the golf ball around in the fairway as they tried to find a dry spot from which to play.

“I've seen it before,” defending champion Vaughn Taylor said of rain and wind.

"It's not that enjoyable, but when you get around Pebble and you still look around . . . I think someone said last night even when it's at its gloomiest, it's still beautiful.

“That's what you've got to focus on when you're out there," he stressed. ”If it's nasty weather, just take a look out at the ocean. If you can see it.

“Because it's still an amazing place regardless of the weather.”

The field features Jason Day, two-time Pebble winner Dustin Johnson, Spieth, and Patrick Reed from the top 10 in the world, along with Phil Mickelson, the runner-up to Taylor last year in his quest for a fifth title at Pebble.

Spieth has started the year solidly, though without a realistic chance of winning. He was third at the two Hawaii events, though a combined 14 shots behind Justin Thomas, who won them both.

Spieth then tied for ninth in Phoenix.

And already he has dropped one spot in the ranking to No. 6.

That's an example of how crowded it's getting at the top of golf. Johnson, for instance, has a mathematical chance of going to No. 1 if he were to win Pebble Beach for a third time—and if Day were to finish at the bottom of the pack.

“There's a lot of young, incredible talent that's on the top of their game, going back to the end of last year and to throughout this year,” Spieth noted.

“It's kind of up for grabs right now is what it feels like.”

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