PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — After 54 holes of play, the 2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is over and reigning U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark has been declared the winner.
“It’s just been a whirlwind of emotions and feelings,” Clark said during a Sunday night virtual news conference. “It’s pretty surreal right now.”
On Sunday morning, the tournament’s final round was postponed to Monday because of inclement weather that included heavy rainfall and winds up to 60 mph.
But after further assessment by the PGA Tour and Monterey County emergency authorities, the Tour announced Sunday night that “out of an abundance of caution for the safety of all constituents” there would be no more golf played.
Though the forecast is expected to improve overnight, the storm and its high winds are set to extend into Monday morning. Monterey authorities have issued a shelter-in-place order for the Pebble Beach community.
“In accordance with the PGA TOUR Regulations the tournament results will be final through the conclusion of 54 holes,” the tour said in a statement.
The decision means that Clark (17 under), who shot a Pebble Beach record 12-under 60 Saturday and held a 1-stroke lead over Ludvig Åberg after the third round, has secured his third PGA Tour victory.
“Everyone wants to win a tournament in 72 holes and sleep on a lead and perform on Sunday,” Clark said. “Coming down 16, 17, 18 at Pebble Beach [on Saturday] it felt like a Sunday … as I come to the green I got a standing ovation and everyone was giving me the respect for having such a great round. When I shook hands and waved to the crowd, it really felt like I just won the tournament, so I don’t feel like I got cheated at all.”
Clark said he tried his best all day Sunday to keep his mind focused on a potential fourth round. He slept poorly, getting up at 2 a.m. before waking again at 5 a.m. to see if there was an update on the status of the final round. Once the Tour said no golf would be played Sunday, Clark said it was hard not to think of the possibility that the tournament would not resume.
He spent the rest of his day trying to take his mind off golf by playing cards with friends, watching a movie and taking a short walk to assess the damage the storm had made nearby. Later in the day, Clark said he began to get calls informing him that there was a strong likelihood the tournament would be fully suspended.
“So then my mind really started racing,” Clark said. “It was very difficult if I’m going to be honest because most tournaments, if I shot what I shot and had a 1-shot lead going into a normal Sunday where you 100 percent know you’re going to play, your mindset is different.”
During a pingpong match with his friend Brian Kettler, Clark said he finally received the call that he had won the shortened tournament. He and Kettler were taken off guard, hugged and shed some tears, according to Clark.
“This tournament is very special to me and my caddie, John [Ellis], mainly because it’s both of our favorite place in the world,” Clark said. “He has always told me, ‘Wyndham, if there’s one thing you can do in your career, I don’t care if you win a hundred times or one time, I just hope one of them is at Pebble Beach.’ … So for us to pull it off and in the fashion that we did was pretty awesome.”
The 2023 U.S. Open champion drained more than 150 feet of putts during the first nine holes of his Saturday round, leading to a 28 on the front nine. His eagle putt on 18, which would have given him a 59, stopped just short of the cup. The subsequent birdie still gave him the record for the best round ever at the historic venue. It would also be his final shot of the tournament.
“I hadn’t been in contention really since probably my U.S. Open win,” Clark said after his round Saturday. “I don’t know how you could beat a round like this at Pebble Beach.”
Clark admitted he had been struggling on the greens since his Open win, which had led him to working with a new putting coach this past week. After spending three to four hours with the coach and trying out nine putters in the lead-up to the second signature event of the PGA Tour season, Clark found something he liked.
“We resulted to changing no [aiming] line on the putter, I went a little bit shorter and I went from being conventional to cross-hand,” Clark said. “A lot of big changes, but when you’re in a spot where I was mentally in putting, you kind of needed a change.”
The change worked. Clark led the field in strokes gained putting for the week and was lights-out Saturday, making two eagles and nine birdies.
“I don’t think I’ve had a better putting round,” Clark said. “Sixty is my lowest [personal] score.”
When asked if he had thought about the possibility of Saturday’s round being the final one of the tournament given the weather, Clark said he had considered it, which also helped fuel his stellar showing.
“You’ve got to have that mentality that today’s the last day so try to go for broke,” Clark said. “With that said, that’s very rare that we have 54 holes.”
The last PGA Tour event to be called after 54 holes was the Zurich Classic in 2016, and the last tournament at Pebble Beach to finish after 54 holes was the 2009 event, won by Dustin Johnson.
“Obviously you never think about winning a tournament in 54 holes,” Clark said. “And it’s maybe not the way you dream of winning, but with that said, I think a lot of us yesterday kind of had — not that we knew or anything, but we definitely had this outside shot in thinking that maybe this is our last round. So yeah, it’s been an amazing last 36 hours.”
Clark was also asked Sunday about the rumors that he had considered leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf at some point over the past few months. The 30-year-old said he had met with LIV and wanted to see what it could offer him, but that he eventually decided against joining.
“I ultimately declined going to LIV because I felt like I still have a lot of things left in the tank on the PGA Tour and I wanted to chase records,” Clark said. “My dream is to try to be one of the top players in the world, if not the top player. I just grew up always imagining winning PGA Tour events. So I ultimately, I chose my legacy over LIV and that’s really what it came down to.”