PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — True, this is their workplace and this is arguably the most intense work week of their year. But, man, the pros just can’t help but look around and notice the beauty of Pebble Beach Golf Links.
The bluffs, the waves, the flora and fauna were not lost on Louis Oosthuizen, despite the fact he was otherwise occupied by shooting 5-under-par 66 and taking a share of the morning lead in the U.S. Open. That included an eagle on the par 4 11th hole, his second hole of the round.
“Pebble to me is probably one of my favorite, if not my favorite venue for a U.S. Open. You’re not going to beat the scenery and everything about this golf course,” he said after his round.
He added that during practice early in the week, he was just like the thousands who roll through 17-Mile Drive here every year. “I don’t think you can ever get a better golf day than it was on Tuesday,” he said. “And I was out there, probably looked like a tourist taking all the pictures on my phone and forgot I was playing a practice round. But, yeah, that’s what this place does to you. When you get around holes like 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and then you finish off with 17 and 18, it’s just different to any other venue that you really ever play.”
His countryman Erik Van Rooyen took a more practical approach, saying, “It doesn’t distract or inspire. I’m from South Africa and we’ve got places that look very similar to this — not to take anything away from Pebble Beach. But I’m here to do my job, that’s all it is.”
Still, many pros found the views invigorating. That goes even for those who have walked away from here carrying a trophy. Graeme McDowell was asked about playing his first U.S. Open round on Pebble Beach since his Open win here in 2010 and said, “I wasn’t coming here to reminisce, I wasn’t coming here to sightsee. Well, you always sightsee at Pebble Beach, so take that one away.”