Planet Golf — 05 February 2014 by GW staff and news services
Manning joins celebrity field at AT&T

NFL Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning will play in this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, just a few days after his Denver Broncos’ 43-8 loss on Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks at the Super Bowl. Tournament officials confirmed the news Tuesday afternoon.

Manning, who will play at a 7 handicap, will be one of many celebrity amateurs in the field. Several other NFL personalities are in the field, including fellow NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady (New England), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) and Alex Smith (Kansas City), as well as Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

It will be Manning’s second appearance in the tournament, having partnered with Webb Simpson in 2009. Manning has also played in other pro-am events on the PGA TOUR, including in 2009 at the Wells Fargo Championship when he played with Tiger Woods. Manning and Woods were also paired together in 2005 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.

Manning won his fifth NFL MVP award in the 2013 season, throwing a league-record 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards while leading the Broncos to the Super Bowl.

Here’s a quick peek at the tournament that begins on Thursday.

WHO’S PLAYING?: Full field | Celebrity lineup

• COURSE: Pebble Beach Golf Links, 6,816 yards, par 72. Framed by breathtaking views of Carmel Bay on one side and the Del Monte Forest on the other, the iconic layout has been a favored PGA TOUR stop since 1947. Designed in 1919 by amateurs Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, the duo was meticulous in building as many holes as possible along the craggy Pacific coastline. Though Pebble Beach hosted the first of five U.S. Amateurs in 1929, it wasn’t until 1972 that the U.S. Open became its first professional major. Four more Opens have followed, along with the 1977 PGA Championship. Spyglass Hill GC (6,953/72) and Monterey Peninsula CC’s Shore course (6,838/70) also are used for the first three days of pro-am competition.

• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.

• CHARITY: Monterey Peninsula Foundation, which gave out some $11.5 million last year to 332 Northern California organizations. Last year’s giving lifted the foundation past the $110 million mark in grants since the Pro-Am’s 1937 start.

• FIELD WATCH: Phil Mickelson, seeking a fifth Pebble Beach win, and defending champion Brandt Snedeker headline a list that features seven of the top 21 players in the current world rankings. … Two-time champion Dustin Johnson also is featured, teaming again in the pro-am with NHL Hall of Famer and future father-in-law Wayne Gretzky. … David Duval, runner-up three times at Pebble Beach, makes his third start of the 2013-14 season. The former world No. 1 has no status beyond a past champion. … Max Homa, last year’s NCAA champ now getting ready for the Web.com Tour, will play on a sponsor exemption.

• 72-HOLE RECORD: 267, Brandt Snedeker (2013).

• 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Charlie Wi at Monterey Peninsula (1st round, 2012). Pebble Beach record: 62, Tom Kite (3rd round, 1983), David Duval (3rd round, 1997). Spyglass Hill record: 62, Phil Mickelson (1st round, 2005), Luke Donald (1st round, 2006).

• LAST YEAR: Snedeker capped a torrid 2013 start in record fashion, posting nothing worse than a 68 all week to break the tournament scoring record shared by Mickelson (2007) and Mark O’Meara (1997). The Nashville native – runner-up the previous two weeks at Phoenix and Torrey Pines – closed with a 7-under-par 65, playing his first seven holes in 5-under to build a comfortable cushion. Chris Kirk (66) was two shots back in second. Snedeker also won the pro-am division, teamed with fellow Vanderbilt alum Toby Wilt.

• STORYLINES: Another Mickelson win would draw him alongside O’Meara, dubbed the “King of Pebble Beach,” for most in the event. Back woes, though, remain an issue after withdrawing at Torrey Pines and a slow start in Phoenix. … Injuries have followed Snedeker, too, though he recently pronounced himself 100 percent following an October knee injury suffered when jumping off a Segway in China. … This year’s celebrity list includes NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, actors Andy Garcia and Kurt Russell, musicians Kid Rock, Jake Owen and Darius Rucker.

• SHORT CHIPS: Mickelson’s 13 wins in multi-course events makes him the leader among active PGA TOUR players, one ahead of Tiger Woods. Mickelson’s total includes four at Pebble Beach, three at Torrey Pines, two at the Humana Challenge, one at the HP Byron Nelson and three from the long-departed Nortel Open in Tucson. … Sang-Moon Bae becomes the only man commit to each stop since winter break ended, making Pebble Beach his sixth consecutive start. … Gene Littler is the only man to win titles in both the professional and amateur divisions – first in 1954 as a 23-year-old amateur, then 21 years later on the pro side.

• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).

• RADIO: Thursday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. ET. Sunday, 1-7 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).

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