They call me Rain Man. Currently the superintendent and director
of agronomy at Pebble Beach, I'm in my 13th year in the business
and my seventh at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. I'm
still looking for a break in the clouds.
Three years ago we got so much rain, the tournament was
canceled. Last year we waited 6 1/2 months to complete the
longest golf tournament in history. Before this week's Pro-Am, I
was interviewed on the local news three nights in a row, and
then, last Saturday night, it rained more than an inch.
I may be getting more attention, but none of this is new for me.
I worked the U.S. Open at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester,
N.Y., in 1989, when three inches of rain turned into six feet of
water on low-lying fairways. We called in pump trucks from a
fire station to help clean up the mess.
I fine-tuned my squeegee technique at Augusta National at the
'91 and '92 Masters. At the '95 Ryder Cup at Oak Hill, I was
called to the 11th green. With Ben Crenshaw and Curtis Strange
standing by, I squeegeed for my country. I'll never forget that
Due to my stormy relationship with Mother Nature, I've had to
experiment with some different techniques for dealing with soggy
courses. Two years ago I rode in a helicopter with Clint
Eastwood and the late John Denver, hovering over fairways at
Pebble Beach, trying to get rid of puddles. Clint was the pilot,
John the copilot, and I was telling them where to go. It worked,
but I don't think we'll need the chopper this week.
We've had eight inches of rain so far in '99, compared with 20
at this time last year, but we're not letting our guard down.
We've got 12 water pumps standing by, and they've all got new
spark plugs. Pray for me. I don't want to be the Rain Man anymore.
Rain was forecast for Thursday's first round of the AT&T.
COLOR PHOTO: JED JACOBSOHN