February 14, 2011
By Helen Ross, PGA.TOUR.com Chief of Correspondents
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.—D.A. Points remembers that conversation with Peter Jacobsen vividly.
Points was a rookie in 2004, and the veteran “kind of got in my face,” he recalled. Points doesn’t remember whether it was because he didn’t play in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am that year or whether he had just weaseled his way out of another tournament’s Wednesday celebrity event somewhere along the line.
Jacobsen’s message was still the same.
“Listen, son, the reason why I have a job and the reason why you get to play for any money at all is the amateur that is playing in these events,” Points recalled Jake’s words. “He said, ‘I don’t want to hear you ever skip a pro-am.’
“And that kind of stuck to me because I thought, You know, he’s absolutely right. We are super fortunate, and I think some guys lose sight of that, that we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to play golf for a living and, if we are successful, to make a really great living.”
Not to mention, the venues certainly aren’t that bad, either. Like Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula—the three that hosted the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Points won on Sunday. The victory was the first of his PGA TOUR career.
“It’s not like we are playing really terrible places,” Points acknowledged with a sheepish grin. And the man who kept him loose last week, his pro-am partner, comedian Bill Murray, had another take.
“It’s not like you’re working for a living,” Carl Spackler’s alter ego chuckled in what was one of the most entertaining post-tournament press conferences ever.
Of course, Murray, in all his “Caddyshack” glory, saw first-hand last week the pressure a player like Points endures as he tries to win a PGA TOUR event. Heck, Murray even felt it himself as the two of them went on to win the pro-am portion of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am, too.
But like his new buddy Points, Murray sees beyond the golf tournament itself. The comic, who has been playing—and entertaining the fans—at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am since 1992, keenly understands the relationship between the PGA TOUR and its charitable partners.
“It’s an amazing thing,” Murray said. “The players, obviously, they make some money, and they get to play wonderful golf courses. But somehow, it’s an extraordinary—I don’t want to use the word symbiotic—relationship between business and charity where it takes hundreds and hundreds of people, thousands of people maybe, to make this thing happen.
“And you wake up in the morning and if you’re driving on the road and you go like, that’s some Explorer kid, from 70 miles away who is directing traffic, why is he doing that? Well, because somehow some of this money gets funneled down to his charity and it’s there.
“And the marshals that are working the road and the fairways, some of that money is going to their hospice, or their fire department somewhere else. ... Obviously it’s a joyous experience to walk the course and to see the event and be part of the excitement and the energy of the crowd. But some of that money is coming back to someone and there’s a give; there’s a giving back.
“It’s a very impressive thing that the PGA (TOUR) does.”
Murray may clown around with the crowd—frolicking with unsuspecting fans in the bunkers, handing out ice cream bars and wearing really, really bad clothes—but he’s serious about the good work the tournament makes possible.
“It’s like, what (D.A.) said and what Peter was talking about is this—there’s no shame in being attached to this tournament,” Murray said. “There’s no greed in this. I remember hearing some knucklehead say, ‘Well, yeah, you guys go out there and you get all your publicity.’ It’s like, you don’t get it, do you? No one is here to get publicity.
“This is really fun and you can ride this ride; when it’s great, it’s awesome. It’s just really different and no entertainment experience (is) anything like it. Something about the energy of golf and having fun at it is so unusual that it can only happen in this place and a couple of others.
“And it’s very unusual, very singular kind of experience, and all of the people that are working are kind of going, go ahead, I’m in this, too, because this is good, what I’m doing is giving back too, we are all in.”
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