Why did you watch “The Match II?” Because of Tiger? Because of Phil? Or, more likely, to see the chemistry between these all-time greats and their respective all-time great quarterback partners?
Let’s be honest: The success of any pro-am format depends very little on the actual talent of the pros or Joes involved, and much more on the chemistry of the pair. And, sometimes, the pairing itself just makes us chuckle. Here are a few classics. And yes, what’s-his-name from Caddyshack will appear...but we’re going holding him until beneath-the-fold. Ya gotta work for it.
Peter Jacobsen & Jack Lemmon @ The Clambake
The Clambake was the predecessor to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Actor Jack Lemmon and pro Peter Jacobsen were the epitome of team chemistry for years at this event. Lemmon was terrible, and not for lack of trying. One year he finally took lessons and even lifted weights. When he stepped up to the first tee, he toed his driver right at an old lady. Don’t worry...she caught it. Jacobsen pleaded with her to give his partner some extra yardage. “Throw it, throw it!” he yelled.
Phil Mickleson & Kenny G @ 2001 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
This pair has more in common than you think. Both are great at golf, for one. The duo tied for the win during the 2001 AT&T Pro-Am, thanks in part to Kenny G’s point-six handicap. Both are also famous for investing; the platinum-selling saxophonist made millions by being one of Starbucks’s first buyers. Phil's portfolio is packed with brands that he endorses, ranging from Callaway to Pfizer. The AI-driven frozen yogurt company he just launched sounds cooler, though.
Jack Nicklaus & Kid Rock @ 2018 Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf
It’s not unusual for buddies to end up together at these things...which is why Kid Rock and John Daly frequently end up together. It makes all the sense in the world that Rock and Daly are real-world buddies. They have all the same hobbies! But Nicklaus—so polite that he once ceded a putt during the Ryder Cup—and the guy behind “Bawitdaba”? Actually, it went pretty well.
Dustin Johnson & Wayne Gretzky @ Anything
Dustin may be one of the world’s best golfers, but he still deserves some kudos here. There is no better form of gamesmanship than being a guy’s father-in-law. That’s psychological intimidation at any level. But when your dad-in-law is arguably the most dominant athlete at any single sport (more than 50 NHL records and four Stanley Cups)? Good on Dustin for keeping his cool in the presence of The Great One. And, uh, for landing The Great One’s daughter too.
Bruce Vaughan & Masashi Yamada @ 2001 Bob Hope Classic
Had you heard of Masashi Yamada? No, neither had we. Bruce Vaughan wishes he hadn’t. The first-year pro and his Japanese real-estate magnate partner won...until it emerged Yamada had carried out a dramatic sandbagging plot to artificially raise his HCP, earning more strokes and “helping” his pro-am team to victory. They were disqualified. Vaughn lost $7,000 in earnings...and what would have been his only PGA Tour victory.
Scott Hoch & Bill Clinton…& George H.W. Bush & Gerald Ford & Bob Hope @ 1995 Bob Hope Classic
So this one isn’t technically a Pro-Am...but it’s certainly an anecdote worth referencing during a list like this. Scott Hoch had won the 1994 Bob Hope Classic...and that earned him the right to tee off with current President Bill Clinton at the ‘95 event. And the guy who was President before him. And Gerald Ford (a President, you may recall). Oh, and Bob Hope, perhaps the most famous golfing celebrity of all time...unless you’re counting...
Bill Murray. As we promised, Bill would make an appearance. Several, in fact. His partnership with D.A. Points is the stuff of pro-am legend. Here are three cases where the pair made magic at the AT&T:
Bill Murray & D.A. Points, 2011:
Golfing with Bill Murray sounds like a dream, but that’s not always the case for pros. Bill has a persona, and it can make the golf side of the equation tough. For example, during 2011, Murray tossed a girl into a bunker at Pebble Beach’s No. 17. Not typical Tour behavior. D.A. Points hasn’t let it get to his head. The pro claimed during this first partnership that “it distracted me from trying so hard.” Points responded to the fan-toss by grabbing Murray and jumping in as well. During the closing round, Points makes an 100-yard eagle at No. 14 on the pair’s way to the win. Winning your first PGA event and becoming bosom buddies with Bill Murray during the same weekend? Nice.
Bill Murray & D.A. Points, 2017:
D.A. Points seems satisfied with his life. True, he only has one Top-10 finish in a major, but he’s won three PGA events. He’s content with the polite applause that greets guys of his ranking at the AT&T. Bill Murray? No. No-no-no: He grabs the microphone and gives his partner a rowdy welcome. "It's D.A. Points!” the comedian urged. “We won this damn tournament!" The crowd responds when Bill asks them to.
Bill Murray & D.A. Points, 2020:
D.A. Points has certainly gotten used to Bill Murray-isms by this point, but even he had to be impressed by Murray’s no-look putt on No. 7 (an illegal move, as the comic’s first putt was still rolling). Murray continued to walk as the putt sank and the crowd went nuts. The general public was more open to Murray’s display of illegal putting than Phil Mickleson’s Shinnecock shenanigans.
Did we miss any of your favorite pro-am moments? Have an interesting story to share? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!