The weekend broadcasts at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am are arguably the worst of the year. The pace of play is brutal and you have washed-up celebrities or CEOs hacking their way around and sucking up air time. For the non-golf fan who may want to watch Ray Romano putt, it’s fine. But for the weekly golf watcher, it is a drag and can make you grateful it is just a one-week-per-year experiment. The scenery is nice, of course, but as a golf-on-TV product, it’s awful.
This weekend was no different. On Sunday, it took the final pairing of Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey two hours to play the first six holes at Pebble Beach. An unexpected hail storm after a week of nasty weather soaked the course had led to a lengthy delay on Sunday morning. It became unlikely they would finish in time on Sunday night, with sunset at 5:40 local in Pebble Beach. The pace of play was not helping and put together with the weather, it just led to a sluggish, gloomy, bore of a broadcast, even with Mickelson’s involvement.
The final hour on Sunday, however, was completely redeeming and that’s taking into account the fact we didn’t even get a resolution. Phil started lighting it up as he made the turn and with him in an obvious groove, he started racing against the impending suspension of play due to darkness. It was only a matter of time and no one was under the delusion that they could finish in any kind of conditions that would not make it a farce.
Except Phil, who dropped a stunner on the 16th hole, where PGA Tour rules chief Mark Russell joined the final pairing for a walk to gauge their intentions on continuing to play. Phil said he wanted to not just finish 16, but play all the way in, prompting an incredulous laugh from Casey. Russell also seemed confused, but Phil insisted he had great vision and was seeing the ball fine in the rapidly fading light. It was just the beginning, as Phil pushed forward up on the green, while Casey, who was playing poorly, dug his heels in and wanted to call it a night.
Phil then proposed playing ahead without Casey, and getting his tee ball away on the 18th hole.
If you watch much golf, you will know that, at this point, the cameras were making it appear much brighter than reality on the ground. Up ahead, a few groups played into the finish and it was near pitch black with TV tower lights providing some illumination. It even cost Scott Piercy a boatload of money, as he three-putted in the dark to fall into a tie for 10th place.
Phil, however, was not a fan of anyone trying to put a stop to his round, even though the consensus seemed to be from everyone there at the start of Sunday’s round that they would never finish.
2019 has barely started but this is EASILY my favorite sports moment of the year so far. Phil Mickelson wanted to finish, Paul Casey didn’t want to. And. Phil. Was. LIVID. pic.twitter.com/3rlAeI7QCy
— Jed DeMuesy (@Local12Jed) February 11, 2019
Casey is a veteran on Tour, but it has to be intimidating with a legend like Phil pushing so forcefully to finish up and making his position unmistakably clear. Casey, however, never even putted out on the 16th hole, choosing to wait for freshly-rolled greens in the morning. The Tour blew the horn suspending play and Phil was obviously perturbed, waiting up ahead on the 17th tee box.
It made for a fun moment of tension and drama we rarely see between two players. That and Phil’s play redeemed a rough start to the final round broadcast.
Now they’ll come back out Monday morning with Mickelson holding a three-shot lead over Casey and Scott Stallings, who is already in the clubhouse at 15-under. Casey is putting for par at the 16th hole and Phil has just the 17th and 18th to play.
The official resumption of play is set for 8 a.m. local, or 11 a.m. ET. Golf Channel will have the broadcast but this will be a CBS production. Pebble is a CBS party and they have the third and fourth round. But when those rounds run late and into CBS programming, it now kicks over to Golf Channel. With the lengthy weather delay, and the Grammys on CBS, Golf Channel landed all the above drama and the Phil charge in the final hour-plus on Sunday and now they will get the conclusion on Monday.
It’s not what CBS wants but for the golf fan, this is a nice bite-sized snack on a Monday morning. The 17th at Pebble Beach is one of the best par-3s in the world and the 18th is one of the best and most scenic par-5s in the world. You also have a Hall-of-Famer going for his fifth career win at this venue, which will also host the U.S. Open in a few months, the one major that Hall-of-Famer needs to complete the career slam. It’s an unexpected but nice little Monday windfall. Here are your pertinent details:
Resumption of play at 11 a.m. ET, 8 a.m. local. The final pairing has two holes to play, which should take 30 minutes or so barring disaster, like Phil hitting his drive into the Pacific Ocean on the 18th. It would have been madness to play that 30 more minutes on Sunday night, but you can understand Phil’s attempt to make it work given the way he was playing.
Monday’s final round coverage
As noted above, it will be a CBS production with all their usual announcers, just running on Golf Channel because CBS will have some regularly scheduled daytime programming and Golf Channel exists to show golf. Make sense? It all works out for the fans wanting to watch.
11 a.m. ET — Golf Channel
10:35 a.m. ET — CBS simulcast stream
11 a.m. ET — NBC Sports Gold
11 a.m. ET — PGA Tour Radio on Sirius-XM (Ch. 92/208 and streamed here)