The 10 Biggest Characters at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2013

The 10 Biggest Characters at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

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    The tournament at Pebble Beach every year is one of the truly unique stops on tour.

    As the event’s website aptly states, “The concoction of roughly four parts professional golfers to one part show business and sports celebrities has gone down as smoothly as a well-chilled libation.”

    Here are the 10 biggest characters from the “show business part” you’ll see this year.

No. 10: Tom Dreesen

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    Accomplished master-of-ceremonies and stand-up comedian, Tom Dreesen will be representing the over-70 set at Pebble Beach this year, occupying the place formerly held by such comedic luminaries as Jack Lemmon. As his website states, “Dreesen’s comic style is down-to-earth, warm and unpretentious” and will presumably be on full display this week in California.

    Dreesen, who rose to prominence with fellow comedian Tim Reid in the 1970s is a golf enthusiast, hosting the annual Tom Dressen and Friends Celebrity Classic.

    He reportedly plays to a five or six handicap.

No. 9: Jim Harbaugh

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    Charles Schwab is playing in the Pro-Am...that guy is a hoot.

    Really, though, it's slim pickings for “characters” amongst the rest of the field.

    Jackie Flynn is competing. Apparently, he’s a comedian. His website features a “funny” caricature of him with a big head playing golf, and he’s starred in such classic films as “The Barclays Commercial with Phil Mickelson.”

    Given all of the above, Jim Harbuagh, fresh on the heels of a Super Bowl loss and sideline freakout, is the last character on our list.

    Hopefully, he won’t throw his headset or cavort violently when he strikes his first errant shot...

No. 8: Gary Mule Deer

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    Gary Mule Deer is a funny man, to be sure; however, the funniest thing about his appearance at Pebble Beach this week will be his proximity to Vijay Singh, who is in hot water presently for using deer antler spray, which contains a banned substance.

    The actor-cum-comedian’s website describes his stage shows in the following way: “A Gary Mule Deer performance is like watching Johnny Cash and Keith Richards getting drunk with Jack Benny.”

    Beyond this, he has a blowout that would make Pauly-D jealous.

    All of the aforementioned together should make for some real entertainment at the pro-am.

No. 7: Huey Lewis

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    The "Hip to Be Square" singer is not the most dynamic personality at Pebble Beach. He’s far more colorful in his music videos (see "Perfect World" or "I Want a New Drug").

    However, the musician has been a fixture at Pebble for years and can be counted on for entertaining exchanges, like the following with his caddy:

    Huey: "5 wood or 3 iron?"
    Deacon: "5 wood."
    Huey: "Well, I don't hit the 5 wood very well."
    Deacon: "You don't hit the 3 iron very well, either."

No. 6: Carson Daly

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    The former host of MTV’s Total Request Live, Carson Daly hosts a talk show bearing his name (Last Call with Carson Daly). It’s a given, then, that he’s a character, right?

    Daly won a golf scholarship to Loyola Marymount and reportedly considered a pro career.

    He played in the Humana Challenge earlier this year and is really the perfect celebrity pro-am player: decent pedigree, lacking an oversized ego, self-deprecating, funny, but not technically a comedian, respectable golfer.

No. 5: Kenny G

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    What can one say about Kenneth Bruce Gorelick? More entertaining than his signature ponytail on the golf course (which is better than his signature flowing jheri curl off it) is the fact that he can actually play; Mr. G is a scratch golfer.

    Kenny G seems to be a genuinely good guy with a self-deprecating sense of humor. He seems to acknowledge the inherent comedic value inherent in his stature—as an adult contemporary saxophonist.

    His "Riot Suppressor" commercial for Audi during the Super Bowl a few years ago showcases a healthy bit of the personality he displays at Pebble Beach.

No. 4: Andy Garcia

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    The Casino star has been a fixture at Pebble Beach for more than 15 years.

    He and playing partner Paul Stankowski won the event in 1997 with a record-setting 43-under par score. “I played the best golf I've ever played in those four rounds,” Garcia said, in a Golf Digest interview.

    The 56-year-old can be seen with some variety of eccentric headwear and sunglasses strolling the fairways of Pebble Beach, Spyglass and Monterey Peninsula Country Club with his trademark joie de vivre—and a cigar.

No. 3: Chris Berman

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    The elder statesman of ESPN, who almost surely only has his job because of some sort of a bizarre tenuring/grandfather clause, is a Pebble Beach regular.

    But really, he’s been at the network since its genesis and has contributed a lot to its development.

    Berman seems to love playing pro-ams, and it’s not entirely surprising he has these bag tags, tweeted by Keegan Bradley, or that he has a Pebble Beach golf bag.

    Divisive figure? To be sure. Equally certain is that Berman is a great character at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

No. 2: Ray Romano

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    The star of Everybody Loves Raymond brings an element of levity to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am—not that Bill Murray doesn’t already bring enough of that commodity.

    Romano is certainly good for a laugh or two but isn’t much of a golfer. As instructor Kevin Hinton said in breaking down Romano’s swing for Golf Digest: “Ray, you're a great actor and a hilarious guy. Unfortunately, your swing has more moving parts than a fine Swiss watch.”

    The actor, who received the expert instruction of Hank Haney in Season 2 of The Haney Project, made the final-round cut for the first time in 2012, after failing in that endeavor 11 times previously.

No. 1: Bill Murray

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    If Mark O’Meara is the “Prince of Pebble,” then Bill Murray is the court jester of Jack Neville and Douglas Grant’s famous oceanside course.

    What can one really say to summarize Murray’s antics at the tournament over the years?

    Nothing seems sufficient.

    Instead, here are a few selections of the maestro of the celebrity pro-am at work: one, two, three times.


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