5 Reasons The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Was The Best Event I Have Ever Covered

By now, most of the online world knows that I spent last week down in beautiful Pebble Beach trying my hand at golf coverage at the prestigious and star-studded AT&T Pro-Am. (And if you didn’t know, now you know. Also you need to up your social media game and follow me on Twitter and the Gram, stat!)

Golf has always been a fun hobby for me, something that represented special time spent with my dad, who is an excellent golfer to this day. But it wasn’t until I stepped into the media center just down the way from the Pebble Beach Lodge that I realized just how hopeless my knowledge about the sport was. And no amount of help from ESPN golf analyst (don’t call him a writer because he types with two fingers) Michael Collins, who I befriended over the weekend, seemed like it would help.

But then something amazing happened: as the 10-hour days wore on and I dove into the media notes and bios and any information I could get my hands on, I realized that golf is actually a very beautiful, nuanced sport. It truly is unlike anything I have ever covered. And while most of the week was extremely hard work (I’m not going to lie and say there wasn’t a pineapple martini or two from Traps at Spanish Bay in the mix at some point), I began to really enjoy the game and of course my surroundings. So much so that I believe this is the best event I have ever covered. Yes the Heisman ceremony is always amazing (if somewhat predictable) and the Final Four in Houston was magical, and of course the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day will always have a special place in my heart.

But PGA Tour events are my new Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament: my favorite week-long event to cover. Here are a few reasons why.

Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald Became the First African-American to Win The Team Title Part of the Tournament

He is also the seventh pro athlete to win but the first since Dan Marino in 1988. And we had the chance to catch up with him on camera after Round 3 on Saturday.

Fitzgerald and his PGA Tour pro Kevin Streelman won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am team title by seven strokes with a 12-under final round. Streelman finished sixth in the individual competition.

“It’s great, I’m just hoping moving forward we don’t have to talk about color anymore,” Fitzgerald told reporters. “It’s just us as one as people. Just to be here is an accomplishment. But that’s quite an accomplishment.”

Fun fact: Fitzgerald only picked up golf about 4 years ago or so, but did so with gusto, playing whenever he could, even during the football season.

An Underdog Ended Up Winning the Whole Thing

When the tournament started, the name Ted Potter Jr. wasn’t one that was thrown around much, if at all. But heading into the final day he was the only name on everyone’s mind – especially those players trying to catch him like Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day. But Potter held his own, hitting his targets and sinking his putts – something most players struggled with that weekend. And both Johnson and Day hit balls out of play, unable to maintain the kind of cool it would have required to catch and surpass Potter.

Hard work pays off.

My favorite part of the Potter story is his background – he turned pro out of high school and worked at a cart barn to help pay his bills and save up for Q-school. When he finally made it to the Web.com Tour, he missed the cut in all 24 tournaments he played in. He won at Pebble for only the second time in 84 starts and it was only his fifth top 10. But watching him hold up that trophy with tears in his eyes and knowing he was taking home $1,332,000 to his wife and new baby – that made this event even more special.

We Learned About A New Supergroup Boy Band

You don’t go to a PGA Tour tournament looking to break news. And while this isn’t exactly breaking news per say, we stumbled upon a side story so hilarious it quickly took center stage in our interviews.

The aforementioned Michael Collins from ESPN let us in on a little secret: Collins, Aaron Rodgers, Larry the Cable Guy and Colt Ford are forming a boy band supergroup and its going to be incredible. It all started at a different tournament where the group became friends and took a photo together and Collins labeled it 'boy band.' From there it took on a life of its own, with fans attempting to name the band and Rodgers calling up Collins to make this fantasy a reality. To find out which instrument each guy would play, check out the Sideline Sass Podcast with Collins.

Also, here's what Colt Ford had to say about it.

The More Relaxed Atmosphere

Media scrums have become a normal, yet terrifying part of my sportswriting life. I have become accustomed to the ferocity and frenzied nature of a post-game interview. But in Pebble Beach, the post-round environment was relaxed and causal. In fact most of the days and nights were like that too. Which is why my podcast co-host, Kaleigh Krish, and I were able to chat with Kate Upton in the women’s bathroom, toast the start of baseball with San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer and play simulated golf with a part-owner of the Pebble Beach Resorts.

We were also able to interview Aaron Rodgers twice, thanks to the laid-back nature and celebrities and athletes willingness to chat with media. We caught up with him after the Chevron Shootout on Tuesday when Danica Patrick was in the house.

And we also chatted with him Saturday after his last round of golf. He had only nice things to say about Fitzgerald and the event as a whole.

The Setting

They don’t call it one of the most iconic views in the world for nothing. As Aaron Rodgers said “there’s a reason it’s called the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.”

Designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant (for free), the Pebble Beach Golf Links has been rated No. 1 in public courses since the Golf Digest rankings began in 2003. The links-style design – a first 10-holes that head out and a final eight that comes back in  - takes advantage of the Carmel Beach coastline. In fact, the only holes you can’t see the ocean from: the 12th and 15th holes.

As for the magical 18th hole, the one dubbed as “the greatest finishing hole in all of golf” – well, it was originally a short par-4. But with a little help from friend and famous golf course architect William Herbert Fowler, No. 18 was extended along Stillwater Cove, transforming it into the cape hole par-5 it is today.

Not sure how dramatic No. 18 really is? Check out this video of Jason Day playing his ball from the beach back up on to the green in a effort to save a penalty stroke. Wild, wild finish.

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