Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and Peyton Manning walk onto a golf course. Can’t wait to hear what the punchline would be, but it’s no joke that the gridiron legends will seek to drown their collective sorrows over a woulda-coulda-shoulda season for all three starting Thursday at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Manning, coming off a 43-8 thrashing by Seattle over his Broncos in Sunday’s Super Bowl, will take his 7-handicap and partner with third-year PGA Tour pro Scott Langley. The Patriots duo, meanwhile, no doubt still smarting over Manning’s way-too-easy 26-16 AFL Championship victory waltz over Coach Hoodie and his minions, will take to the storied oceanside links in the same foursome alongside a pair of professionals with deep-rooted New England ties.
Brady, who plays to an 8-handicap, will stroll the fairways with Ricky Barnes, whose father Bruce played for the Pats back in the 1970s. Belichick, meanwhile, drew Massachusetts native and Boston sports junkie James Driscoll as his mate in the four-day event.
Driscoll, who grew up in Brookline and maintains a residence in Boston, learned the tools of his trade at Charles River Country Club, where he won the club championship. The former Massachusetts junior and state amateur champ played in Belichick’s foursome last year and Coach teamed up with Barnes in the past two Pebble pro-am tilts, according to the Boston Herald.
Under this week’s format, pro-am teams play a round at all three venues -- Pebble, Monterey Peninsula (Shore Course), and Spyglass Hill. The top 60 pros (and ties), as well as the top 25 pro-am teams tee off at Pebble in Sunday’s final round. The fabled foursome will kick off at 11:22 a.m. ET at Spyglass Hill on Thursday.
His Hoodiness, by the way, promised to get over his squad’s January 19 loss to Denver by smacking a small, dimpled orb around the links this week.
"I’ll take all my frustrations out at Pebble Beach,” Belichick told the Boston Globe the day after his team failed to make it to The Game for the second straight year. “See if I can hit the ball over the water instead of into it for a change."
In the meantime, Manning and Belichick took their gridiron rivalry to the course on Wednesday, as the two NFL luminaries played a practice round together ahead of this week’s contest.
And because it’s always all about us, Manning’s pro-am partner, Langley, of course, boasts something of a link to the six-state region. As a teenager, the 25-year-old from Illinois, according to PGATour.com, once teamed with the Bay State’s Dana Quigley to win the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble.