Category Archives: Pebble Beach Stories

Pebble Beach Stories Part VI: Tiger Woods

I’m not sure why, but I seem to forget about keeping the Pebble Beach Stories series going until it gets close to the AT&T or any event at Pebble Beach. Anyways, Tiger never came to the AT&T Pro-Am during the three years I was working there for the event. He went the year before I started working at Pebble (2002), and I always hoped he’d change his mind so I could see the legend in the making play live, but it never happened. In honor of his first entry into the AT&T since 2002, I figured it was a good time to dust off the one and only Tiger story I have, but unlike Stevie Williams and Hank Haney, I’m not going to be making money on it.

From the first time I mentioned Tiger to co-workers they would all grumble something that ended with I hate that guy. They’d regroup and say he’s a ridiculously good golfer, but just not a good human being. After asking numerous people why he wasn’t a favorite like Phil, Davis Love III, Jonathan Byrd, or even Dustin Johnson, they all seemed to point to the fact that he was a bad tipper, or that he bitched about everything.

There was one time he did come to Pebble Beach while I was working there, and it was for an EA sports party when they were doing promo stuff for his video game, and from that point on in 2004, I didn’t like the guy much either. I tried to make some small talk with him asking him about his hotel stay and where he’d eaten in around town to maybe give him some recommendations or something like that. He flat out ignored me like I didn’t exist. Now, I could understand if he was doing something like talking on the phone or signing an autograph for someone, but he was just hanging out in front of the pro shop with nobody else but a group that just came of the 18th hanging around. I rattled off at least 30 seconds of chat, but was apparently talking to myself. Maybe it was the crappy weather that day or maybe he couldn’t stand getting a fat paycheck for putting his ugly mug on the cover of EA’s golf game, but he could at least acknowledge my existence with more than a head nod. I guess I wasn’t important enough for him to acknowledge my existence. I’m not one to get star struck especially after meeting lots of celebrities and athletes during my time there, but he might have been the rudest of all I met by simply ignoring me. My new theory on maybe why he ignored me in the post Tiger scandal is that maybe one of the girls he was a sugar daddy for extorted him for the money he just made on the EA game.

Whatever the case, I asked our head golf pro and the assistant golf pro what was up with Tiger, because he seemed so cold and was basically the opposite of Phil to the point that it seemed like it would physically hurt him if he smiled, and he wasn’t even there to play golf! They didn’t seem to know or really care that much, but what they did tell me was you’ll probably never see him at the AT&T Pro-Am, which makes it even more remarkable he’s playing this weekend at Pebble when it’s not for the US Open. Curious, I had to ask why.

Chuck (the head golf pro) gave me a couple of answers, both of which made some sense.

First he told me that Tiger doesn’t like the greens at Pebble or really any public course because they get too much play and thinks they’re too bumpy. I was taken back by this answer, because aside from the pace of play, I’d never heard anyone complain about the courses features at Pebble unless of course they plugged the greens, but there’s no chance Tiger ever played after they plugged the course, because they’d never want that shown on TV or have the pros complain.

The second thing he told me which made a lot more sense was he didn’t like playing with amateurs. They play slow, and usually shank more shots than hit good ones. Today they aired a little interview with Tiger on ESPN talking about his celebrity playing partner this weekend, Tony Romo. Tiger went on to say Tony had been texting him relentlessly asking about how low he needed to shoot, and what he could do to work on his swing that made me crack up just thinking of the way Tiger probably responded. I’m almost positive Romo recieved no advice, and was probably annoyed by the onslaught of texts from someone that wasn’t going to be a one night stand.

Maybe he’s a better man close to a decade removed from when I met him, but it’s still the main reason to this day that I don’t root for him to succeed.

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Pebble Beach Stories Part V: The Celebrities

I was on the road for the past six days visiting family and friends across California. My last stop on the way home was in Monterey. As many of you golf fans out there know, the AT&T Pro-Am is being held this weekend on the Monterey Penninsula. I stopped in to see my old boss at Pebble Beach, and see what condition the course was in. It looked as great as it always does, and made me realize that I haven’t written a Pebble Beach Stories post in a loong time. While I was walking past the putting green I saw George Lopez, and it reminded me of how cool some of the celebrities are, and George was one of my favorites. Since I’ve worked there, I haven’t seen that many celebs nor been able to interact with them aside from Big Papi in Vegas. Going back to the course and seeing some old co-workers re-reminded me of some of those memories. Since the AT&T Pro Am is 25% about the celebs in the tournament I thought I’d make a nice and not so nice celeb list based on my experiences with them while working at Pebble Beach. Granted some were longer conversations or meetings than others, so some people might have just been having a bad day. On the other hand, how can you really have a bad day if you’re golfing at Pebble Beach?!? I already talked about the Caddies in part IV. I rambled about Derek Lee, Adam Dunn, Cory Lidle, and Brett Boone in part III. I talked about Chi Chi Rodriguez in part II. I talked about Chris Berman and Vijay in the inaugural post of this series, so I won’t go into any details on those guys, and you can revisit those posts to see what happened with them in the links provided, Here’s some things that came to me while I was wandering around Pebble Beach Monday morning. I have more, but these were some standouts.

Hmmm, buddies with George huh, one more reason for me to dislike him...

Not So Nice

Charles Schwab – Couldn’t be more of a dick, and has earned a place in the HOF of assholes. If there was a less friendly guy that holds onto his money with a vice grip like he does I don’t think I’ve met him yet. To top it off, he never tips. A co-worker of mine once laughed at me when I helped him for a second time in two days. Helping him culminated in driving him out to his $60M dollar house that overlooks the 18th teebox. I got no tip, he didn’t say more than two words answers when I tried to make some small talk with him. This is a man that could drop $1,000 dollars on the ground and not be worth his time to pick it up, and he can’t even give me a five spot. Even worse he couldn’t make small talk with someone doing him a favor!?! Talk to Chuck if you want your money safe, but you never know he might be stealing it too. Continue reading


Pebble Beach Stories Part IV: The Caddies

I bought this putter while I worked at Pebble. There were only 400 made, and to this day I'm pissed that I sold it away just to double my money. I wish I listened to my buddy Roy, and if you reading this, you were right to keep yours!

I’ve taken a little break from this series, but since I’m on vacation, I figured I should revive the series since it’s not exactly a time sensitive post, an evergreen if you will. Anyways, if you happened to miss the first three parts of this series and are interested in catching up here they are, Pebble Beach Stories Part I, Pebble Beach Stories Part II: Chi Chi Did It First, and Pebble Beach Stories Part III: The Baseball Players.

The caddies at the courses at Pebble Beach Resorts are probably some of the luckiest guys around. You wouldn’t you know that listening to them complain more than a feminist group. Sure, it’s a physically demanding job carrying two bags for 18 holes, but there aren’t many better places to take that walk, and sometimes they get blamed for making the wrong call on a shot, but in the end they get solid pay even before they get their tip. When I was there it was $65 a bag, and usually they’d carry two for a guaranteed $130. They’d get a minimum of a $50 tip, but more times than not, it was between $100-$200. Some of them have returning clients that must either be a nice person to walk with, or they are a baller that is going to want that caddy to hook them up with some things non-golf related.

Sometimes the caddies hook the guys up with, ummm, escort services, yes even the married ones. (Side note, a lot of guys asked me about escort services, and I would either give them the number to call or tell them to ask one of the caddies.) Another reason is sometimes certain caddies are good at getting their players certain drugs, no need to elaborate which ones, it’s irrelevant. I’ve heard some guys actually request a certain caddy, because they liked them the last time, that’s an unimaginable crazy scenario, I know. Some also take a caddy based on their reputation, and that is basically their seniority.

They get to meet all kinds of cool people that are just happy to be there whether they are famous or on a company sponsored trip. One of my good buddies caddied for the CEO of Jack Daniels, he ended up with a nice tip ($400-$500), and delivery a week later that was a box of JD Single Barrel bottles, flasks, cocktail glasses, and other JD swag. I gladly helped him take down some of the premium whiskey! It seems to happen to each caddy every couple months, which is why I think they have it pretty easy.

Seniority reigns supreme in the caddy shack, and it’s weird that the oldest guys are the grumpiest. It was always funny to hear them talk about some of their players, and how they didn’t deserve to play on the course, because they were so bad at golf. It might be half true, but REALLY!?! They just paid $450 for the round each, probably had to stay a night at the resort just to get the tee time ($400-$1,000), and throw in $65 more for a caddy that doesn’t even like them, and they don’t deserve to be there?!? I’ll be the first to admit, there were some spoiled rich bastards that came in, but knowing how much we charge for everything, you just have to suck it up, and be nice. Usually you’ll even get a tip out of it, unless your helping Charles Schwab (the cheapest man in America who never tips with a $60 Million dollar house next to the 18th tee at Pebble).

Another thing about the caddies I found entertaining is when the big tourneys come into town. I got to chill by the driving range and give them range balls. I’d often listen in on them betting on their players within their pairings. They would be betting on everything! They would bet on shots their players took on the range! I remember one time Luke Donald’s caddy was talking to another caddy for the player next to him (can’t remember who), but they were betting on whether or not Luke could fade his shot around a range pole, because that was what he was working on. They were betting $5 a shot on the stupid range warm up shots! I know for a fact that some guys lost all their money they made for the day to another caddy, always funny stuff. This is one reason I’ve always believed Stevie Williams must be more rich than we even think. I bet Tiger makes 9 out of the 10 shots Stevie could bet on!


Pebble Beach Stories Part III: The Baseball Players

The 8th at Pebble is my favorite hole on the course. There isn't a better over the cliff 2nd shot anywhere I've played!

Here’s the third installment of my stories from working at Pebble Beach. If you missed PART I or PART II click on the links to view. The baseball players are easily the most entertaining group of characters that I saw stumble their way the through the golf course. The best part about the baseball guys is that they show up to the first tee smelling like booze at 8-9AM. No other professional sports group drinks nearly as much as them. They will often ask you to grab them a bloody mary to cure the hangover before their round. It’s pretty funny when the mini-store they have at the resort runs out of booze EVERY time they come to town. The only times I saw the store sold out was during tournaments or when the baseball players were there! Another fun part is watching the baseball guys BOMB their drives.  They are one of the groups that plays a lot of mini golf games while at the resort such as scrambles/best ball/elimination games throughout the week. I always would volunteer to be a judge for the events and got to most of the time. Anyways, with spring training in full swing here’s my most notable memories from the always fun, MLB players.

Brett Boone – Easily the winner of the biggest drunk guy maneuver. Although there were complaints of someone leaving fecal matter in the elevator on this very night, but nobody owned up to that one, so it will be a mystery forever. We just know it had to be one of the ball players. It might be a coincidence, but  the two times that Boone came to Pebble, I saw him occasionally over their week, and about 6 of the 7 times I saw him, he had a cocktail in hand. I remember helping him in the morning of the particular day of the “incident”, and he was dropped off in the front area where the bag drop is. He had a cocktail in hand, and already had that drunk lazy eye look at 8:30 in the morning. Not surprising by any means, but he was slightly ahead of pace on this particular morning if you know what I’m saying.

Anyways, fast forward 16 hours to a little after midnight. Brett Boone and another player that was never identified to me decided to start a bonfire just outside his hotel room at Spanish Bay. A good chunk of landscape got burnt luckily not any fairway, and also a little of the building had some charring on it. This extremely smart idea no doubt came from some heavy drinking, and earned Boone a $20K fine for fixing up the damages. He also received a ban from the resort. In case you were wondering why so many athletes go broke, this could be another good example of why…

Adam Dunn – He holds the title for the best golf shot I’ve ever seen by a non-golf professional. We were doing a scramble, and I was the judge for the six pairings (twelve players overall). Basically, the game was; the two worst scores are eliminated on each hole, each pair had players alternating shots, when there were three teams left it went to a single elimination for each hole. I can’t remember who Dunn’s teammate was for this mini game, but there were only three teams left at the time of the shot. We were on the par 4 15th hole at Pebble. Dunn was hitting his fourth shot, and it looked like the other two teams had VERY make-able par chances(Neither groups made them). He was about 45-50 yards out, and he hit his shot a mile up in the air. It bounced on the green once with a little backspin slowing the balls speed after it touched down, and on the second hop it went into directly into the hole. His 50 yard chip in saved them on the hole, and they eventually won the scramble. It very well could be the only time I’ve really seen Dunn win! Sorry Reds and Nats fans, pun intended.

Derek Lee – The longest drive I’ve ever seen on the 18th hole came from Derek. I’m not sure exactly how far it traveled, but it went close to 400 yards. It was past the trees that are supposed to give you trouble on your second shot. It was a shame he wasted that monster drive by shanking his second shot into the water to the left of the green, but hey, most of us would be happy with just having that first shot… A side note on DLee, my buddy in guest services wouldn’t accept any of his money/tips from him all week while “hooking” him up with upgrades to his room and things of that nature. At the end of the weekend, he sent my buddy to the pro shop to get fitted for clubs and sent him a brand new set of Nike golf clubs. My friend couldn’t turn that down! I’ll always root for him no matter how much he struggles or how much Chicago fans rip him, he just made that good of an impression on me!

Cory Lidle – I was debating whether putting a negative on the deceased was in bad taste, but essentially I’m just telling a story. Also, it’s been two years since the plane crash, so I figure enough time has passed. It’s a shame my memory of Lidle was the most horrid display of putting I’ve seen. I could really see two year old throwing a ball at the hole and getting as close as him. He missed so bad on one putt he was slightly off the green after it. He took his time setting up these putts, and seemed to put some genuine effort into the shots which made it more perplexing. Something just wasn’t clicking, I felt bad for the guy. He ended up four putting that green, and the one that actually went in, was a rocket that he was lucky it stayed down. Maybe he didn’t care or was just THAT bad at putting.


Pebble Beach Stories Part II: Chi Chi Did It First

This is the second installment of the series. It was mainly inspired by the upcoming AT&T Pro-Am as well as the US Open both being held at Pebble Beach this year. I worked there for two plus years as a customer service rep while in college, and have some random stories that I thought I’d share as I remembered them. If you missed part I here it is.

One funnest parts of my job was seeing various pros come to driving range when I was given that shift. It’s cool to see different pros go through their routines, and what in particular they are working on. One of the funnier things to hear is when the caddies of the players are making bets on their guy to win during warm-ups, but that’s another story for another time. Not all players were friendly, but most would talk to you at least a little, especially if it was slow.

One summer day in 2004, Chi Chi Rodriguez came to the range after a practice round warming up for the First Tee Open. It’s one of Pebble’s Senior Tour events or I guess it’s now called the Champions Tour. Chi Chi  was chatting it up near the tent where we gave out the range balls with a couple people including me and my boss. Somehow we ended up talking about Tiger’s Nike commercial with him bouncing a golf ball on the end of his club like soccer players juggle with their feet and bodies. The commercial was pretty new at the time, and caused a mini uproar of guys (including myself) practicing it during the many boring hours at the range. At one point I could pop the ball up and hit it about 30-40 yards, which I thought was pretty good.

Chi Chi’s eyes lit up when we were talking about whether it was real or fake or how many takes Tiger took to shoot the commercial. He grabbed his wedge and said “Tiger didn’t start that sh**. It’s been around forever guys!” He pulled a ball out of his pocket and started juggling it on his wedge while telling a joke. I wish I could remember the joke, but I was mesmerized by the fluidity of his between the legs and behind the back bounces and stalls on the clubface. He never once drop the ball to the ground showing that Tiger most likely did it in one take. After his joke was done, he snatched his ball out of the air, and said I know a trick that nobody I’ve met can duplicate. Of course, we all said, “Let’s see it!”

He once again started juggling the golf ball. This time before he stalled the ball, he flicked the end of the golf club putting some spin on the ball. He then caught it on the end of his wedge like a stall, but this time it wasn’t sitting still. The ball actually had so much spin on it, that it was moving in small circles on the face of his club. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes! Chi Chi is one cool guy, so if you ever happen to be at a senior tour event and run into him, ask him to do this trick! I think he got as much of a kick out from our reactions as we did seeing it! Thanks for the memory Chi Chi!


Pebble Beach Stories Part I

With the dawn of a new PGA season upon us, I feel it’s only right to get my golf posts started up again. I’ve been putting this off for awhile, but I feel like I owed it to some people to put up some good stories from when I worked at Pebble Beach Golf Links. I was working there for two years and some change during college, and had a few interesting experiences along the way. I will try to continue this series for as many stories as I randomly remember! The main reason for this inspired series coming up now, is that, the 25th AT&T National Pro AM is fast approaching (Feb. 10-14), and the US Open is also being held at Pebble this year for the first time since Tiger dominated it in 2000. I’m pretty excited for the Open, so hopefully some of these posts will get you excited as well…

Every year the AT&T National Pro-Am is held at Pebble Beach in early to mid February the resort gears up for their biggest tournament of the year, which is a good thing for the employees. They always hire on so much extra help/volunteers for the tourney, we really don’t do anything during the day except drive golf carts around, watch the tourney, and help the players where we can, like shuttling them around. The inspiration for this first post is people hitting golf balls at people.

The Fijian Bastard

On a Wednesday before the tournament started in 2005, we were closing down the range, and Vijay was the last guy there. It was getting dark, and he was the only guy out there for the past half hour. I guess this isn’t an uncommon thing as Vijay usually practices longer than a lot of guys, so my boss says. My coworker told him he needed to wrap it up, because we needed to clean up and get out of there. He told him to finish off the balls he had, and that was it. Vijay finished the balls in his trey and sent his caddy to get more balls. His caddy took them from one of the barrels that we just picked up off the range. My boss went over to him, and said that he had to go because we were closed, but let him hit the ones that he had just put on his trey. After he had hit those ones, he still didn’t leave. Instead, he pulled out his own balls and started firing them from the range tees over to where me and another employee were cleaning up the chipping green area. He almost hit the gardener that was about to cut the lawn. Biggest dick move I’ve ever seen from a professional golfer. I could see if he wanted to practice deep into Saturday night, if he was in the hunt for a win, but this Wednesday before the tourney even started. He played the tough guy I’m a star card, and refused to stop practicing. This is the main reason I will never root for him. He’s a selfish bastard that thinks he can do whatever he wants. Anyways, the gardener got in his face, and Vijay finally left the range an hour after everybody else that was practicing. The best part was that he didn’t come close to winning the tourney, and he didn’t even make the cut! Karma is a bitch!

Swami Nails the Family Jewels

Chris Berman or “the Swami” gets invited to the pro am each year, and is always super excited. He’s a great guy to talk to, full of energy non-surprisingly to many. Anyways, one tourney he was right on the cut line, and was waiting in the clubhouse to see if he made it. When the third to last group bogeyed 18 he jumped up and down hugged a few people in the pro shop saying “I made it!” over and over. It was like he won the tournament or something, but I guess being a broadcaster you have to feel like you belong to the athletes your always talking about. Anyways this story of the Swami takes place on the 14th hole, and quite possibly the hardest hole on the course (easily the hardest par 5). It’s a long dog leg right, that is uphill after the tee shot, and takes most at least four to get on the green. I was standing with a co-worker watching a few groups go by, and Berman was one of them. His tee shot was a shank, and heading for us/the crowd through the dog leg. The ball came within about five feet of us hit the cart path and went directly into some guy’s nuts like it had a heat seeking lock on them. Me and my friend were both wearing our work clothes, but couldn’t help from cracking up. I’ve always found it amazing that people don’t pay attention during this tourney or any tourney there are amateurs at. Don’t they know that amateur means not that good? Shanks are going to happen on the regular! By the time Berman got to his ball, it’s pretty doubtful that he even knew what happened, except for the fact that his ball was saved from going to the 8th fairway.

Look for Part II coming soon, on the baseball players!