Five to watch at Pebble Beach

John Daly
USA Today Images
John Daly always draws a crowd everywhere he plays, especially at Pebble Beach.
By Mark Aumann
PGA.com

Published: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 | 7:44 a.m.

From the moment Bing Crosby moved his annual clambake and pro-am tournament up from Rancho Santa Fe to the Monterey peninsula, what's now known as the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am has delighted fans and players alike. Where else can you see a combination of stars and coastline views, along with some of the most famous golf courses in the world?

See: Full tee times and ATT&T Pebble Beach Natioanl Pro-Am leaderboard

The roster of Hollywood stars, corporate big-wigs and Bing's buddies was sometimes a bigger draw than the golf, but that never kept the top names from attending -- and winning -- at Pebble Beach. Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson had their names etched on the trophy in the tournament's early years. They were followed by the likes of Billy Casper, Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Mark O'Meara and Davis Love III -- all multi-event winners.

Phil Mickelson has won this tournament four times -- most recently in 2012 -- and Dustin Johnson twice.

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With its traditional mid-February date, the AT&T has a reputation for what's called "Crosby weather" -- cold, fog and rain. But that doesn't appear to be the case this year, as this week's forecast calls for sunshine and temperatures near 70.

With that, here are five players to watch this week.

5. John Daly
2014 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am:
Missed cut
Reason to watch: Whether he finishes first, last or anywhere in between, any time Long John tees it up, it's must-watch viewing. Sure, he's 48, hasn't won a PGA Tour event since 2004 and probably gets more attention for his line of clothing (and his music career) than for his golf.

But even though he's no longer a regular, he can still bang the ball as far as anyone. He won Turkey's Beko Open in December. That same week, Daly got engaged to his long-time girlfriend. So perhaps Daly's life is perhaps getting back into some degree of normalcy. 

Plus, we can't wait to see what clothes come out of the suitcase.

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4. Jim Furyk
2014 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am:
Tied for 35th
Reason to watch: Furyk hasn't played a competitive round since last fall's PGA Grand Slam of Golf, so he's definitely well-rested. He was supposed to play in Tiger Woods' charity event in December, but begged out with back issues.

Could he be rusty? Definitely, although Pebble Beach is a place where Furyk has had consistent success. In 19 trips to the peninsula, he's made the cut 16 times.

3. Hunter Mahan
2014 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am:
Sixth
Reason to watch: Mahan withdrew from last week's Farmers Insurance Open, with good reason. He and wife welcomed a second child -- Miller Myles Mahan -- into their lives on Friday night. Despite that, he expects to make the trip to the peninsula for the annual Clambake.

If Mahan isn't suffering from the postpartum baby blues, he's a pretty good pick at Pebble Beach. He finished second to D.A. Points there in 2011.

2. D.A. Points
2014 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am:
Disqualified
Reason to watch: This year's tournament has to be a better experience than what Points went through in 2014. Playing with pro-am partner Condoleezza Rice, the 2011 winner shot an opening-round 67. On the second day, he was waiting out a delay on the 18th hole when he pulled a sponge ball from his bag and put it under his right arm, taking a few practice swings. He then finished his round.

That happens to be a violation of Rule 14-3 -- dealing with "practice devices" -- and three hours later, Points was disqualified from the professional portion of the tournament. Points never seemed to recover, recording just one top-25 finish in 2015 and winding up 173rd in the FedExCup standings.

He's made three cuts in six tries so far this season -- and perhaps Pebble Beach is where Points buries that forgettable incident for good.

1. Jimmy Walker
2014 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am:
Won
Reason to watch: When Walker won here last season, we were still somewhat hesitant to place him in that "could win anywhere, anytime" role. Twelve months later, he's a contender every time he laces up the shoes in the clubhouse.

Ninth at the Franklin Templeton Shootout. Losing a playoff to Patrick Reed at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, followed by a win at the Sony Open. And last week, seventh at Torrey Pines. The only blemish? His final-round 73 spoiled a streak of 15 consecutive rounds under par -- a stretch over which he shot -77. (Not a typo.)

Based on the way he's playing right now, you have to believe Walker's going to be right in the thick of things again on Sunday.