Winner 1990 U.S. Amateur
I think any great golf course makes for good competition whether it’s stroke play or match play, and Pebble Beach is certainly a great venue for either format.
I remember playing the California Amateur here and Pebble Beach was a tough match-play course because of the uncertainties you encountered. You didn’t know what kind of shot you were going to find out there and you didn’t know what kind of shot your opponent had. You didn’t know how the lie was, if it affected the chip or the angle of a shot. The greens are so severe that you expect a guy to make a par and he ends up three-putting. There are so many more uncertainties that you almost have to play it like a stroke-play event, because you just never knew what your opponent was facing, and therefore, how can you plan any strategy related to match play? Just go play each hole the best you can. Too many times you think they’re OK and they’re not or you think they’re in trouble and they’re fine.
2017 Presidents Cup captain
If they play it in the conditions we had this week [during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am], where it’s pretty firm – and it should be that time of year – it can be difficult. It’s hard. Greens are small. In match play, you’re probably going to aim more at the middle of some of these greens to minimize risk. But you can take some chances out there, too. The fourth hole, maybe some guys could try to drive it. You can be aggressive on 6. The wind blows, and then all bets are off on what wins a hole, which can be exciting. I think it will be terrific for match play in the summer.
2007 U.S. Amateur champion
It will be awesome. Anything at Pebble Beach is going to be great. The weather should be good and that could make it pretty tough, depending on how firm it gets and if the wind blows. They wouldn’t need to do anything special to make it a great test for both the stroke-play qualifying and then match play. If it gets firm and the wind blows, you’ll see some interesting scores winning holes.
2011 U.S. Amateur champion
It will be interesting. You make a lot of putts and you’ll do well, but that’s the thing – the greens can be frustrating. You have to stay patient knowing other guys are going to struggle, too. Speed control is really crucial. Some putts are going to go in and some great-looking putts are not going to go in. Stick with it, stick with a game plan.
One of the most interesting things about an Amateur at Pebble is if the weather is great, you have a lot of scoring options. They can move tees around, move the par 5s up or back, maybe move the 14th way up. Move the tee up on 10 to make it drivable. There’s a tee way up there they can use. I don’t know how it will be set up, but it will be fun to watch.
Winner, 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes
I think you could play a hickory club tournament out here. You could play any type of format you want. You could do anything and it would be special, because it’s Pebble Beach. And the other course is Spyglass Hill for qualifying? That is about as good as it gets, honestly.
I know the inland holes get criticized [at Pebble], but I don’t believe they should. The quality of the golf holes 1 through 18 is very strong. Every hole has something that makes it challenging and gets your attention. Look at that first hole. To play the hole properly you are only supposed to hit it about 215 or 220 yards off the tee. That leaves a 6-iron into the green. Good luck hitting that green with a 6-iron. Sure, you can try to hit one around the corner, and that would make it different, but that’s not a great play, frankly. Maybe you pull it off, maybe not. And that’s the weakest hole by some standards? I just don’t see it. Pebble Beach deserves all the respect in the world in terms of quality of golf. The views and everything make it memorable.
Davis Love III
1997 PGA champion
Two-time winner AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
There are a lot of pins you might go for in match play that normally you wouldn’t, but you do have to be very precise. Otherwise, you can employ some good strategy. I remember Nathaniel Crosby [winning the 1981 U.S. Amateur] at The Olympic Club, hitting it short of everything and then just pitching it up and having short putts and hanging in there. At Pebble, leaving yourself uphill chips and putts and letting the other guy make the mistakes generally wouldn’t be a bad way to go about it.
I don’t think it matters what you play on a great golf course. It’s going to be great no matter what the format. That really doesn’t change. I will say you can make a lot of birdies there, especially on the front nine. You can cut corners. You don’t have to lay up on Nos. 1 or 4, you can go for the par 5s. Yeah, make some birdies early and put some pressure on the other guy. That’s always a good match-play formula.
Three-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion
Three-time U.S. Amateur champion
Three-time U.S. Open champion, including 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Pebble Beach is fantastic for match play. If you make a boatload of birdies early – and you probably are going to have to in most matches – the way those greens are set up that time of year, it’s going to be firm, which means it will be a little bit tricky as the day goes on. You don’t get much rain in August. You might get some fog, but it will play firm. And that means you will have some more difficult pins, and in a match-play situation, you can see some swings in scoring. And who cares if you win with an 8 or you win with a 3. It’s one hole and you just go on to the next.
I played the California State Amateur there one time, 1992. It was a lot of fun. Lost in the semifinals. I kid you not, I lost in the semifinals to Steve Woods. He went to San Jose State. I love playing Pebble Beach in both formats, but I think it’s awesome for match play, and I think they’re going to love it.