AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Tommy Fleetwood enjoying making debut at iconic venue with research in mind for US Open

Tommy Fleetwood
Tommy Fleetwood

Tommy Fleetwood was all smiles, despite being caught in a hail storm, as he enjoyed his first taste of the iconic Pebble Beach ahead of his debut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the PGA Tour this week.

The Ryder Cup star insists there is a serious side to his debut in the event, which is being played at three courses with Pebble Beach being used alongside Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula in one of the most spectacular events on the calendar.

There's added interest for Fleetwood this year though, with Pebble Beach also staging the US Open in June, nine years after Graeme McDowell's famous victory.

That has enticed Fleetwood and fellow Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick to make their debuts, while Paul Casey, Branden Grace and Adam Scott make rare starts alongside tournament regulars Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed and Brandt Snedeker.

Each player and their amateur partner will play a round at the three venues before the top 60 and ties contest the final round at Pebble Beach, with Ted Potter Jr defending the title he won last year.

"I've been playing in hail stones and I'm still smiling," said Fleetwood, who has finished fourth and second in the last two editions of the US Open. "It's just one of those few places in the world that has like an aura and an atmosphere about it and I feel very lucky to be playing golf this week of the year.

"You're playing for two pin positions this week really in preparation at Pebble Beach, but you know that there's a US Open going on in a few months' time so you have a look.

"It's playing so wet and soft that you can only picture stuff and try certain little shots out, but it's nowhere near what it's probably going to be like. But still it's a massive gain to come here.

"There are so many guys who have played the PGA Tour for a long time that will have been here and they know it, they feel comfortable, they have been here a lot. For me this is the first time, so any gain or advantage that I would have had over just turning up in June is much more positive and good for me."

Who will triumph at the iconic Pebble Beach?
Who will triumph at the iconic Pebble Beach?

The combination of poor weather and the pro-am format can lead to extremely slow rounds, but Fleetwood has enjoyed success under similar circumstances in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which is played at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.

"There are people that don't like the pace of play or the rhythm or having a partner," added the world number 14, who has twice finished runner-up at St Andrews. "I've always enjoyed it and, yeah, I've never really had a problem.

"I've actually enjoyed the pace being out there a long time, being with someone. It's a different atmosphere because you're still doing everything that you do every week and there's a tournament going on. If you want a bit of a more relaxed vibe, you can have that.

"You don't have to talk to anyone, you can completely shut off if you want. But I've always enjoyed kind of having a few people out on the golf course with you and talking away and just using your amateur partner to your advantage, really. It takes your mind off what you're doing for a bit."

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