AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AM kicks off Thursday!

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am kicks off Thursday at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club.

Some years the weather is a Chamber of Commerce type day, making the rest of the country jealous as the TV shots show people on the beaches, dogs chasing balls into the water and the spectators walking around in short-sleeve shirts. This while the rest of the country suffers through a freezing winter.

Then there the other years, which it appears will be like this year. The forecast is for rain Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And if history is any indicator, when the rain comes, it really comes.

Thursday looks like the best day to go, which is not a bad thing considering the “A” list (traditionally the top celebrities and professionals) are playing the Monterey Peninsula Country Club, the course I think is the best suited to get up close and personal.

This year the rotation for the “A” group is MPCC on Thursday, Spyglass on Friday and Pebble Beach on Saturday. Don’t get me wrong, Pebble Beach on Saturday is a lot of fun and if the weather cooperates it’s even better.

If you have been to the tournament before, I highly recommend getting there early Saturday and head out on the Pebble Beach course to stake out a great viewing spot. Camp there for most of the day and see everyone come through.

My personal favorite over the years is the 14th tee box. You can usually get very close to the tees on the par 5. It’s the toughest hole on the course so the groups back up on the tee meaning they have time to interact with the fans.

Over the years I have seen some great moments on the 14th tee box, including an impromptu harmonica jam session by Huey Lewis when he was in the same group of San Francisco 49ers legend, the late Dwight Clark.

The area around the 10th green and 11th tee is not bad as it’s the furthest area on the course and not a lot of people are not willing to make the trek. Plus, you are right on the edge of the course with great views of the ocean.

Of course, walking along the 18th fairway is always fun. With the continued rise of corporate sponsorship, it’s hard to get near the 18th green because of all the luxury suites and viewing areas but staking out a spot where the players hit their second shots provides great views.

One other tip I give for viewing if you don’t want to head out to the course early is to hang by the putting green as the players warm up. You can get close and for the most part, the professionals and the celebrities will interact with the fans when they are around the practice surface. Photo opportunities are also good in that spot.

Of course, if you just want to watch the professionals and get up close, hitting Spyglass or MPCC on Saturday will give you good access as the majority of the tournament goers jam into Pebble for the day.

Following are some the top pairings if you are gunning for the celebrity watching. They are listed by professional/amateur, followed by course and tee time for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Kenny Perry/Darius Rucker and Russell Knox/Matt Ryan (Monterey Peninsula 9:50 a.m., Spyglass Hill 9:06 a.m., PB 8:11 a.m.); Steve Stricker/Tony Keith with Kevin Kisner/Colt Ford (MP 10:01, SH 9:17, PB 8:22); Dominic Bozzelli/Clay Walker with Ricky Barnes/Pat Monahan (MP 10:12, SH 9:28, PB 8:33); Dustin Johnson/Wayne Gretzky with Jordan Spieth/Jake Owen (MP 8:11, SH 9:50, PB 8:55); D.A. Points/Bill Murray with Pat Perez/Michael Lund (MP 8:22, SH 10:01, PB 9:06); Brady Schnell/Larry the Cable Guy with Adam Schenk/Ray Romano (MP 8:33, SH 10:12, PB 9:17); Jason Gore/Alfonso Ribeiro with Ryan Armour/Kira Kazantsev (MP 8:44, SH 8:00, PB 9:28); Jerry Kelly/Aaron Rodgers with Ho-sung Choi/Chris ODonnell (MP 9:17, SH 8:33, PB 10:01); Jim Furyk/Tony Romo (SH 10:01, PB 9:17, MP 8:33); Wyndham Clark/Joe Don Rooney with Jose de Jesus Rodriguez/Chris Harrison (SH 10:12, PB 9:28, MP 8:33).

If the rain isn’t too bad, the tournament is still a kick in the rear end so if you head down, prepare to have a good time!

By Dennis Miller