Poppy Hills was only one problem

June 03, 2009

PGA Tour players had a general disdain for Poppy Hills Golf Course, which on Wednesday officially was dropped from the course rotation for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and replaced with the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.

Whether that will be sufficient to invigorate the event (in part by getting Tiger Woods to return) is another matter. The tournament will still be hampered by painfully slow play, even by PGA Tour standards, and there doesn't seem an easy remedy short of shrinking the field from 360 players (180 pros and their amateur partners).

The bumpy greens at Pebble Beach and the often inclement weather also tend to be an inducement to pass on the tournament.

One counterpoint is that the U.S. Open is returning to Pebble Beach in 2010. Another, at least as far as Tiger is concerned, is that AT&T's logo now appears on his golf bag.

Appearance fees are forbidden on the PGA Tour, of course, but one way to circumvent that rule is for a title sponsor to also have an endorsement contract with a particular player, virtually assuring his participation.

-- John Strege