In 1998 Phil Mickelson won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am… 6 months after the tournament began


By:Josh Morris – The 1998 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was one of the strangest occurrences in golf tournament history to date.  The Pro-Am, as always was played on three courses at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Club, and Poppy Hills Golf Club in Pebble Beach, CA.  The tournament started off as any other would, some of the games greats were amongst the leaders including Tom Watson. The only thing standing in the way of completing this year’s tournament was Mother Nature.

After 36 holes were completed California, along with the West Coast got heavy rains, enough to make the courses unplayable forcing the PGA Tour to reschedule the event to monday after the next Californian tournament, which happened to be the Nissan Los Angeles Open.  The move made sense, and it was the most convenient for the players at the time.  Mother Nature decided to interrupt play once more making the rescheduled date a rainout as well.  The PGA Tour and tournament officials had their hands full with this one.  They needed just one more round completed of this tournament to make it an Official PGA Tour minimum of 54 holes.

“It appears we will have some unusual circumstances on the West Coast this year because of El Nino, and we must be prepared to take unusual measures in order to complete our events.”

— Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour

To avoid cancelling the event all together, much like in 1996, officials decided to set the date in August 17th to hopefully end the affair.   43 of 168 players withdrew rather than return for the final round. When the field arrived in August, just after the conclusion of the PGA Championship the leader board looked a little like this.  Tom Watson and Tim Herron were tied for the lead with -10 under par while Tom Lehman, Phil Mickelson, and Jay Haas all sat one stroke back at -9 under par.   When the players who decided to come out August 17th 1998 for a reschedule of a reschedule final round of tournament play there were no grandstand, no TV crews, no large crowds. It was Phil Mickelson who prevailed that day, shooting a five under 67 to win the so called “longest event in PGA Tour history”.

It should be noted that just a week earlier Mickelson had a rough go at the 1998 PGA Championship finishing with a disappointing 79.  The winner that year was non other than Vijay Singh who took home the Wanamaker trophy and winners share of $540,000.  The next day Mickelson went out and won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am winning $450,000 in the process with a $100,000 bonus check for being the top winner on the West coast that year.

“Let me see if I got this right…Vijay wins the PGA yesterday and wins $540,000,and I just won $550,000? It’s a cool day.”

— Phil Mickelson after winning the 1998 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am

Mickelson shines in this event…Since this fiasco in 1998 he has won the Pebble Beach Pro Am three more times in 2005, 2007, 2012.

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