THE REMATCH AT CYPRESS POINT But the modern-day re-
ubba Watson brought his pink driver to Cypress Point and
bombed away, blasting tee balls that architect Alister MacKenzie surely never could have imagined nearly 100 years ago. And yet, on a brilliant October morning along the Pebble Beach coastline this past October, all 6,524 yards of Cypress Point were as stiff a test as the flex of Watson’s driver shaft. Watson joined Rickie
Fowler, Davis Love III and Nick Watney to create a sequel to the famed 1956 four-ball match at Cypress Point between legendary pros Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson and top amateurs Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward.
That match was such a legend; to have modern guys go out and play, it was fun for everybody involved.
–DAVIS LOVE III
match, born out of fundrais- ing for the First Tee, would not produce a combined 27 birdies and an eagle. Nor would it produce a course- record 63, the score Hogan shot. And it probably won’t produce a book, like the one written by Mark Frost detailing “The Match” on Jan. 10, 1956. The modern-day
rematch did produce an entertaining, memorable and nostalgic round of golf for the hundreds of fans who flocked the fairways and circled the greens without ropes, including President George W. Bush, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and original participant Venturi.
And the rematch
did produce a 2-and-1 victory for Love and Watney, dotted with some exquisite shot-making. But it also served as
another reminder of Cypress Point’s genius and timelessness, and it under- scored the historic play that took place on that winter day 57 years ago. “That match was such
a legend; to have modern guys go out and play, it was fun for everybody involved at Cypress,” Love said. “Any time you get to play Cypress, it’s a treat.” Love, the most recent
American Ryder Cup cap- tain, shot a 5-under 67 in the rematch, highlighted by a birdie on the revered but
daunting 233-yard 16th hole to put his team dormie. Love and Watney then closed out Watson and Fowler with a par on the 17th hole. Watson finished with a 70, Watney a 71 and Fowler a 73. The modern foursome
turned out to be no match for the originals, who shot a combined 19 strokes lower (Hogan 63, Venturi 65, Nel- son and Ward 67), despite playing with persimmon woods and balata golf balls. The only hole won on the back nine in 1956 was the 10th, when Hogan eagled the par 5 to top Ward’s birdie. Nos. 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 and 18 were all halved with birdies coming in, preserving a 1-up win for Hogan and Nelson. Without the presence of
amateurs, the 2012 rematch was originally planned to pit young against old. Former Masters champion Fred Cou- ples, 53, and Love, 48, were to challenge defending Masters champion Watson, 33, and Fowler, 23. Couples had to bow out with a balky back, so Sacramento native Watney, 31, was the lucky replacement.