Woods and Costner Steal the show at Pebble Beach
Jan. 31, 1997
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ With so much sensational golf and so many big names on the leader board after the first round, why was all the talk about a couple of guys not among the leaders?
Because they were named Tiger Woods and Kevin Costner.
It was simply the sexiest, sassiest, most compelling matchup in the 60-year history of the celebrity-laden event.
Jesper Parnevik birdied seven of the last 11 holes and David Duval closed with four straight birdies Thursday to tie for the lead at 7-under-par 65 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
British Open champion Tom Lehman shot a 66. Masters champion Nick Faldo and PGA Championship winner Mark Brooks both shot 67.
All were overshadowed by the Woods-Costner pairing.
This tournament has seen stars before, but it never saw anything like this. The leading draw on the PGA Tour and the leading man of ``Tin Cup'' were a two-man sideshow followed by a U.S. Open-like gallery that was a dozen deep around some tees and greens.
``It's huge,'' PGA Tour tournament director Arvin Ginn said about the galleries. And tournament officials said it was the largest Thursday crowd ever in the event first played in 1937, but gave no specific numbers.
Pity the poor guys who had to play with Woods and Costner _ in this case Steve Stricker and former ``Today'' host Bryant Gumbel. They had to endure thousands of fans and dozens of photographers who chatted, clicked, rattled and chuckled when the two glory boys weren't hitting.
Ginn admitted that gallery control and ``protecting the rights of the other players'' was a concern.
The party atmosphere around Woods and Costner made it seem almost like the scores didn't matter.
``I was down on Poppy and I could hear the crowd at Spyglass,'' Lehman said about the course where Woods and Costner were playing. ``And that's like, what, five miles away?''
Woods and Costner _ a 15 handicap _ 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 Parnevik and Duval by five strokes.
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 as he walked to one tee.
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.
While Costner was playing well and enjoying the atmosphere _ he made four pars in a row on one stretch _ 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.
Woods' best shot of the day came on No. 8 when he drove into the left rough, giving him a lie with the ball way below his feet. He also 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.
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, 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 as a get-together for celebrities and golfers, but he likely never dreamed of the crowds Woods and Costner drew.