McDowell Relives U.S. Open Win at Pebble, Night at Brophy’s
Feb. 10, 2014
Graeme McDowell finally returned to Pebble Beach, playing in the AT&T Pro-Am for the first time since winning the 2010 U.S. Open here.
He even retraced his steps the night he celebrated his first major.
McDowell stopped by Brophy’s Tavern in Carmel on Sunday night before catching a plane out of town. After McDowell closed with a 5-under 67 at Pebble Beach to climb into a tie for seventh, he revisited the scene of some late-night revelry almost four years ago.
“I may have been the drunkest man on earth,” McDowell recalled. “The next day when I woke up and saw the trophy on the table in my room and thought this is a really great hangover. I had to pinch myself.”
McDowell eventually scribbled “Love You” and signed his name on a mural of the seventh hole at Pebble Beach. McDowell returned to Brophy’s Sunday night to admire his message, and sign the wall again, this time adding, “A much more sober Graeme McDowell” and dating it with the 2014 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Even though McDowell didn’t win this time around, he still called it a “dream week.” McDowell treated it much like any of us would (if we could): he partnered with his dad for the pro-am portion, and embarked on a playing tour of the best of what Northern California has to offer. McDowell and his dad arrived last Saturday and played San Francisco Golf Club, then Sunday at MPCC, Monday at Cypress Point, and practice rounds at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill before the tournament.
“This is definitely one of the hot spots of great golf courses in the world out here on West Coast,” McDowell said. “First time playing Monterey Peninsula Country Club, and it’s a beautiful golf course. Cypress Point is a bit special. San Francisco Golf Club on Saturday is a real hidden gem that I didn’t know much about.”
McDowell shared his experience playing the famed 16th hole at Cypress Point (and how even the pros need more than one crack to hit that green):
“No. 16 at Cypress is a very difficult hole. I could easily see why — well, how does the story go? — Hogan played it 12 times and laid up every time or something like that. When I played it yesterday it was a strong right‑to‑left breeze, 240 flag with no bailout. I hit a hard 5‑wood ‑‑ well, my first hard 5‑wood kind of turned over a little bit too much and ended up on the beach, which I believe is not a hazard. So, you if you can’t play it you’re back to the tee box. It’s not ideal. So, I was able to play it and flip it up on to the green.
My second 5‑wood, I hit it as hard as I could, and it didn’t even get to the front edge. So, it was a 3‑wood yesterday to a small target with no bailout. So, I mean, beautiful, picturesque, very difficult. Nos. 15, 16, 17, I don’t think I’ve seen a better, more stunning piece of real estate to play golf on as those three holes.”
McDowell also reflected on returning to Pebble Beach for the first time:
“I forgot how slopey these greens are here at Pebble, of the how small they are. They’re very receptive, which in many ways makes them more difficult, because you really have to control your spin so much more. A lot of the greens are pitched back against you. And it is very difficult to kind of keep the ball close to the flag. And with them being that soft, not that I’m saying bring back the U.S. Open setup, but obviously, it’s a completely different test of golf than it was in 2010.”
And of course, McDowell reflected on his U.S. Open win:
“I don’t even remember holing the putt, to be honest with you. It was a very, very surreal experience. And that’s why it was cool to be back out there and just sort of reconnecting with the emotions that I experienced, because a lot of them, it’s tough to know whether my memories are just images that I’ve seen on TV, or memories that are actually emotions in my mind.”