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Why the PGA Tour is playing 'preferred lies' at Pebble Beach even though it's not raining

February 02, 2023
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Tracy Wilcox

The sun is out today on the lovely Monterey Peninsula, making for a beautiful day at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. It's a tad chilly, sure, but compared to the frigid temperatures in the Northeast and other places, it's hard to complain about a high of 60 degrees on Feb. 2. Seriously, we don't want to hear any complaining.

But despite Thursday's nice weather and ideal scoring conditions for those PGA Tour pros and celebs (We know Bills QB Josh Allen would never complain about playing in 60-degree weather) teeing it up, the tour announced everyone will be playing preferred lies—AKA lift, clean and place—during the opening round. Huh?

In fact, the PGA Tour announced this practice usually reserved for soggy days for the first three rounds of the tournament despite the fact a drop of rain has yet to fall there this week. Why? Because there's rain in Friday's forecast. See for yourself:

Still confused? We don't blame you. But here's where the tournament's unique format comes into play. Because golfers play three different courses (Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Monterey Peninsula) over the first three rounds and on different days, the tour is trying to ensure that everyone plays each course under the same set of rules.

It's a small thing, but some of the golf purists, who generally don't like lift, clean and place—or as they call it, "lift, clean and cheat"—weren't pleased. Here's a sampling:

Anyway, the PGA Tour is just trying to protect the field and not give anyone an unfair advantage. And we're guessing they'd rather hear a few angry complaints on Golf Twitter than from its players.