February 12, 2010– (UPDATED 2/15) Charley Hoffman is a Las Vegas resident who helped lead the 1998 UNLV Golf team to the NCAA title. He is also a PGA Tour champion–Bob Hope, 2007–and is known as one of the more outgoing personalities on the PGA Tour. So it comes as not much of a surprise that he is OK with the format at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where each year celebrities become nearly as big of a story as the pros. Hoffman plays and practices at Las Vegas golf courses TPC Las Vegas and TPC Summerlin, plus works on his swing at Las Vegas' Butch Harmon School of Golf. Hoffman finished in a tie for 35th. Click for all final results.
"I do (enjoy this format)," Hoffman told the media after his 6-under 64 in the first round. "Obviously the rounds take a lot longer than they normally do on tour, but I've had good success throughout the years at the Bob Hope, and halfway decent success here at AT&T, so I obviously enjoy playing this format. I like meeting new people. I played with one of my sponsors, the CEO of Waste Management, David Steiner. He was fun to play golf with and it's nice over the years to get to meet guys. You come back and you see familiar faces. It's a fun format to play, for sure."
Hoffman is one of no fewer than 30 pro golfers who play the major golf tours who have strong ties to Las Vegas golf courses. Hoffman lives in the same neighborhood as fellow PGA Tour player Bill Lunde. Other pros with strong Las Vegas golf ties are Tommy Armour III (who is making his Champions Tour debut this week and who grew up in Las Vegas) and Dean Wilson, a former PGA Tour champion. Wilson is a Las Vegas resident. The LPGA Tour is represented by such names as Natalie Gulbis, Kim Hall, Stephanie Louden and Kim Hall. Plus the Las Vegas Golf Region is the home to more than 50 Las Vegas golf courses, including three designed by World Golf Hall of Fame member Pete Dye. The Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort is 54 holes of Dye signature golf, and was recently voted to receive the "Most worth the green fee award" by noted website GreensKeeper.org. Click now to view the official website of the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort and to start your plans to play any of the three Dye Las Vegas golf courses.
For this year, Hoffman admitted that during the first round he was on the fringes of the major celebrity pairings, but has played in the past with some Hollywood A-Listers and has seen and heard comments that aren't quite typical of a regular PGA Tour event. "I was sort of away from the main celebrity draw, I would say, so it was pretty calm," said Hoffman, who operates his official website at CharleyHoffman.com. "But last year I played with Luke Wilson. It's fun. Mostly the gallery is pretty golf knowledgeable, so they don't get in your way too much. It's fun to hear a comment here or there."
The event this year has a bit more meaning than other years because the U.S. Open will be played at Pebble Beach in June, and the Pro-Am event is a chance for many of the players to see the course and prepare for the second major of 2010. But the Pro-Am uses three courses–Pebble Beach, Spyglass and, for the first time since 1977, the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, which replaced Poppy Hills. Hoffman loves the setting. "Poppy Hills is a good, fun golf course, but MPCC is just a step above that," said Hoffman, who is a native of California. "It's a great golf course, a great country club. It was extremely dry for how much rain it had, and it was fun to play. … (and) I love Spyglass. I've been coming up here for years playing California and U.S. Amateurs and that stuff, and the last few years playing the Callaway Pro-Am, so I've played Spyglass a lot. It's one of my favorite courses of all-time."