Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, spring 2018

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Page 119 of 243

Beach Pro-Am, which for the first time ever will be hosting McIlroy, who no doubt will be doing a little scouting for when Pebble hosts the 2019 U.S. Open. (He missed the cut at the 2010 Open at Pebble.) "It's a huge deal for the tournament," says Steve John, the CEO of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation. "Rory is unquestionably one of the most popular players in the game. There's a pretty big buzz every time he tees it up. He's a Hall of Fame talent and it is going to be a treat for local fans to get to see him attack these great golf courses. With Jordan coming back to defend and Dustin Johnson"—the current world number one and twice a champion at the Pro-Am—"this is shaping up as our strongest field ever." What makes the burgeoning McIlroy-Spieth rivalry so fun is the differences between them. McIlroy is one of the greatest drivers of the golf ball of all time, able to decimate even the brawniest courses. Spieth is the deadliest putter since Tiger Woods, and possesses the same clutch gene. Their personalities are fire and ice; Spieth is a feisty, emotive presence who grew up playing baseball and basketball amidst big- time competition in Dallas and has the jock swagger to prove it, while McIlroy is almost laconic between the ropes, sauntering down the fairway seemingly without a care in the world. McIlroy has always enjoyed being a global citizen while Spieth is a downhome Texas boy whose biggest extravagance after hitting the big-time was to buy Dallas Cowboys season tickets. Their playing par tners at the Pro-Am are revealing: Spieth always teams with country singer Jake Owen, an accomplished junior golfer who brings a palpable intensity to the Pro-Am competition, while McIlroy is thrilled Spieth (in the soft morning light at Pebble Beach) has been tagged with the sardonic nickname "Golden Child" by his peers, but he is cele- brated in golf circles for his tenacity and mental toughness. Photo: Marc Howard for Monterey Peninsula Foundation 118 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 8

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