100-yard 3-irons? Drivers on par-3s? Chaos reigns at Pebble Beach  

Keith MItchell

Keith Mitchell on Wednesday on the 3rd hole at Pebble Beach.

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Tony Finau hit, and there was a giggle from a bystander. On Pebble Beach’s iconic 7th, he’d swung and looked skyward.

Mark Urbanek, his caddie, cheered. 

“Oh, this has got a chance.

“This has got a chance.”

It did. And then some. His ball dropped just past its target. “Ohhhh, bro, it landed just barely over,” Finau laughed. He’d given it a charge, too. On the video shared by Boyd Summerhays, his coach, Finau had taken a rip at it to the tune of 172 mph ball speed. 

With his driver. 

To a hole about 100 or so yards away. 

Now, Finau had opened up his stance some on Wednesday.

And the mood was light during his Pebble Beach Pro-Am practice round.

But the point stands (if it wasn’t blown over): The fans were on. It was windy at one of the country’s finest courses. Of course, regulars expect it — the name “Crosby Weather ” was even coined after occasions of eventful weather under the tournament’s original host, entertainer Bing Crosby. Still, it surprises every time. 

Our first hint this year came from the weather forecasts, though predicting what may come along the Pacific Ocean can be harder than picking the Powerball. But folks were then told on Tuesday night that the doors would be closed on Wednesday to spectators, and the social media note from the tournament’s official account had all the menacing words.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we will not be opening the course to the public for Wednesday’s practice rounds. 

“The safety of our fans is our top priority, and tomorrow’s predicted weather conditions make it challenging to proceed.”

But the band played on. The players were still let in. To some funky results:

— There was Finau, and there are a few more notes to share from his video. His launch monitor pointed out that his ball could have carried 256 yards with the 172 mph ball speed — to which fellow pro Michael Kim remarked on Twitter

“Also amazing how non chalant he just made 172 look. That’s like my normal driver speed.”

(The shot may also bring to mind a moment captured from 2022, when some poor souls were greeted by 50 mph winds and rain on the 7th — and one swinger hit driver to 2 feet.) 

— There was Justin Thomas, who shared three videos from his Wednesday practice round. In the first, he lined up left of his target — and toward the Pacific — fired and watched his ball hang-glide back to safety. In the second, he recorded a selfie video, where he just shook his head and howled through the howling winds: “I might blow away. Need to put some rocks in my pockets.” In the third, he hit his tee shot to the 178-yard par-3 17th, to which he wrote this:

“Well, I’d say the weather has officially entered the chat @attproam. 4 iron from 164 on 17… holy wind!!!”

— There was Sahith Theegala, who, in a video recorded by Ben Everill of Golfbet, hit, recoiled and took a step back. “I think I hit it about 100 [yards],” he said. Everill noted that he did so with a 3-iron.  

— There was Keith Mitchell and his pro-am partner, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, laughing — as they watched a ball skate off a green due to the breezes. That was captured and shared by the PGA Tour’s social media account.   

— There was Jordan Spieth. He had this exchange with a reporter on Wednesday:

“I was curious about just the wind and what it was like today, 17 as an example.” 

“Well,” Spieth said, “I hit 3-wood into No. 10.” 

“Is that unusual?” 

“It’s highly unusual,” he said. “It’s normally like an 8-iron or a 9-iron. And then 17 was like a rip 5-iron, [and] I hit the grandstands. But then I hit, you know, 7-iron into 18 and hit 4-iron into 14 and had a chip wedge into 15. Just the wind is everything out here. I mean, it is Pebble Beach links — the wind makes the tournament. If it gets wet like it’s going to and then the wind is down, the only defense will be the greens, but you should look for some low scores pre-Sunday.”

An interesting final sentence above there, right? 

Pre-Sunday the forecast looks like this, according to on Wednesday night:

— Thursday: 56 degrees, with a 70-percent chance of rain, and winds at 9 mph 

— Friday: 54 degrees, with a 64-percent chance of rain, and winds at 11 mph 

— Saturday: 54 degrees, with a 17-percent chance of rain, and winds at 6 mph. 

Or, in other words, as Spieth noted, low scoring. Not too bad. 

But yeah, Sunday. 

Where there’s projected to be a 92-percent chance of rain, with 27 mph winds. 

Or, in other words, they might be playing on Monday. 

(When it’s also supposed to rain.) 

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