The only invitation better than Clint Eastwood asking you to play in the AT&T Pro-Am is Salma Hayek inviting you back to her room. Since Salma never called, I happily accepted Clint's offer.
Last year I played in my first AT&T, and not only did I make the cut, I tied for third. This year I wanted to win--badly. My boy Jesper Parnevik and I were paired together again. I love that crazy Swede. We share a flair for style, heavy on the argyle. Most of the guys, in their Dockers and Polo shirts, look like the tour guides at Warner Brothers.
Bill Murray did not play in the 2004 AT&T, but this year he was back. We'd never met, so I introduced myself. He said, "Hi." That was it. Later I complimented him on a nice approach shot. Nada. He made no effort to respond, and it was hard to miss. A headline in the local paper the next day read, comedic showdown: what a letdown. Maybe Murray thinks the AT&T is his thing and doesn't like sharing the spotlight. But hey, Coke has Pepsi.
On Thursday morning we started at Spyglass Hill, and we got off to a hot start: I made three net birdies in the first four holes. In the group behind us Phil Mickelson shot a course-record 62. He drove the ball so far that on the par-4s we practically had to clear the green before Phil could tee off.
Jesper usually competes at the AT&T, but in the first round I had to carry his skinny Swedish ass. He shot two over, while I made four net birds and saved par three times. We finished the day five under, nine back of the leaders.
On Friday morning at Poppy Hills, Jesper cracked, "I can't do it all two days in a row." Grinding in the rain, we could only scratch out four more strokes to get to nine under, a discouraging 12 shots back. But neither the weather nor our play threw a wet blanket on the fiesta. When a police siren broke the silence on the 15th green, I yelled, "Goodbye folks, there's my ride!"
That night I called Jesper. "We'll get 12 strokes tomorrow," he said. I knew he was not having fun, but I respected the way he hung in and kept his sense of humor.
Saturday was moving day, and I got us to 10 under with a net birdie on the 1st hole at Pebble. I rolled in a birdie for net eagle at the 5th, then Jesper had a tap-in birdie at the 6th to get us to 13 under. I stroked with a par at the 10th, but that was as close as we'd get to the 20-under cut line.
I thought I'd be devastated if I didn't make the cut, but not playing on Sunday only made me appreciate our tie for third even more. Besides, it's hard to feel bad when I get to play Pebble Beach while working on my tan.