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Woods and Costner draw massive galleries at Pro-Am

January 31, 1997

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ The Pebble Beach Pro-Am never had a celebrity pairing like this. Tiger Woods and Kevin Costner made the 8:40 tee time on Thursday feel like the last group on the last day of the U.S. Open.

Playing before a wildly enthusiastic crowd jammed a dozen deep around every tee and green and serenaded by the constant whir of cameras, the young star of the tour and the leading man of ``Tin Cup″ combined to shoot an 8-under-par 64 _ four back in the team competition.

In the pro tournament, Woods shot a 70 at Spyglass Hills and trailed Jesper Parnevik and David Duval by five strokes. Parnevik shot a 7-under-par 65 at Poppy Hills, probably the easiest of the three courses with its five par-5 holes.

British Open champion Tom Lehman and Billy Andrade were a stroke back after they both shot a 66 at Poppy Hills. Masters winner Nick Faldo had a 67 at Spyglass, as did Phil Mickelson, and was in a knot of players at 67.

But this day at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am belonged to Woods and Costner.

``I was down on Poppy and I could hear the crowd at Spyglass,″ Lehman said. ``And that’s like, what, five miles away? It was like, oh, Costner made another 3-foot putt.″

From the moment the announcer on the first tee said: ``From Hollywood, California, please welcome Kevin Costner″ until the final putt was holed more than six hours later, the entire day had the feeling of a movie.

``Be really careful, I’m serious,″ Costner warned the gallery crowding in on his right as he prepared to hit his second shot on No. 4. ``I think I can get it there but it may slide on me.″

Few shots went astray for Costner on the front nine. The 15 handicap hit the ball solidly and shot a 39 going out and at one point made four pars in a row, netting three birdies for his team.

Costner was relaxed, joking with the galleries, kissing a baby coming off one green, tossing golf balls to the crowd and stopping to pose for a picture.

Good golf will relax you like that.

``I’m hitting it better than I was three days ago,″ Costner said as he walked to the fourth green. ``You pick up a lot playing with these guys.″

Costner crushed his drive on No. 9 and whooped ``Go baby″ as it split the fairway. ``My best score is 81,″ he said. ``I guess that’s the wrong thought to have right now.″

He was right. While not posting a final score _ amateurs pick up on some holes _ he sliced his first drive badly on No. 10 and made few pars on the back nine and would not have broken 80.

While Costner was playing well and enjoying the atmosphere, Woods was not at his best and at times was distracted by the constant movement in the gallery and the click of cameras. This is the only PGA Tour event where spectators are allowed to have cameras on the course during competition.

Several times he backed off shots and after both of his three-putt greens on the front nine Woods slammed his putter on the ground, yelled at himself and stared at a specific spot in the gallery.

Steve Stricker, who shot a 72, and former ``Today″ host Bryant Gumbel played with Woods and Costner and constantly had to deal with fans and some of the more than three dozen professional photographers moving while they were hitting.

``It’s huge,″ PGA Tour tournament director Arvin Ginn said about the galleries. He admitted that gallery control and ``protecting the rights of the other players″ was a concern.

Woods’ best shot of the day came on No. 8 when he drove into the left rough, had a lie with the ball way below his feet and had two trees blocking his line to the green.

``Not a lie to work off of,″ Woods said to his caddie, Mike ``Fluff″ Cowan. ``Think this ball is going to have to hook a little bit?″

He then hit a 7-iron from 179 yards that started out about 15 yards right of the green and then hooked back for the flag like a homing pigeon returning to roost and plopped down 15 feet from the hole.

``One of the best I’ve ever seen, is all,″ Cowan said about Wood’s shot.

Woods then rolled in the birdie putt to complete the incredible sequence.

Costner also slapped his second shot on the eighth green, a difficult approach over two huge bunkers, and responded to the cheers with two clenched fists raised over his head.

``I usually make eight or nine pars in a round,″ Costner said. ``It’s just those 8s you have to avoid.″

Spoken like a true amateur, one who played Thursday before more people than even Tin Cup McAvoy.

DIVOTS: Tiger Woods sported just the bare outline of a mustache and goatee. It wasn’t clear if he was growing something or just missed a couple of spots shaving. ... All three courses _ Poppy Hills, Spyglass and Pebble Beach, were still soaked from weeks of rain and the players were allowed to lift their ball up, clean off the mud and replace it, even in the rough. ... Parnevik, known for the upturned bill of his hat, now has SAP America written on the underside of it instead of Titleist. SAP is a German computer software company. ... There were more media following Woods and Costner than there were people in the entire gallery for some other groups. ... The Pro-Am was created 60 years ago by Bing Crosby.

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