More than just golf with Pebble Beach celebrities

Bill Murray slipped on a floppy red hat in the first fairway,

stuck a twig in his mouth, looked over to the swarm of fans along

the ropes and yelled, ”It’s official. We are in the hunt.”

No Tiger Woods? No problem.

The crowds at Pebble come for Murray.

The actor and comedian and other celebrities took center stage

in the third round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Saturday.

It was the first day most of the stars played the main Pebble Beach

course, and the round has traditionally been more about one-liners

and shenanigans than birdies and eagles.

Once again, there were all sorts of moments that only Pebble

produces.

Murray, star of ”Caddyshack” and ”Groundhog Day,” sported

the Elmer Fudd-style hat all day and pulled out all his usual

tricks to move the masses to laughter. Walking up the fairway on

No. 2, a young fan with a San Francisco Giants jersey approached

him for an autograph.

”Are you willing to at least look at some Chicago Cubs

literature?” asked Murray, a longtime Cubs fan.

”I have an uncle who lives near Chicago,” the boy replied.

”Wouldn’t you rather spend time with him than your mother?”

Murray said.

”Sure,” the boy relented, earning the actor’s signature.

”See,” Murray insisted, ”Was that so hard?”

Murray also poked fun at members in his group, including former

San Francisco 49ers lineman Harris Barton. The three-time Super

Bowl winner showed off his trio of championship rings to Murray

before the round, then zipped them inside his caddie’s bag.

”For any petty thieves on the golf course now,” Murray said,

”make a move at the back pocket. Trust me.”

The Pebble Beach celebrity scene has perhaps changed some from

the days Bing Crosby hosted the tournament and Hollywood’s stars

first began playing alongside golf’s best. Still, on a weekend

where the world’s top three players – Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer

and Woods – skipped Pebble to play half a world away in Dubai,

actors and athletes gave fans a show the pros couldn’t touch.

Late-night comedian George Lopez was walking off the eighth

green on a picture-perfect day on the California coast, when an

older woman shouted in Spanish, ”I love you, George!”

In his politically incorrect style, Lopez joked, ”Speak

English! Now take the sand trap rake and get to work.”

It didn’t seem to matter that the quality of golf wasn’t always

up to PGA Tour standards.

On the short par-3 seventh, with seals resting on the shoreline

and waves crashing on the cliffs, actor Anthony Anderson – wearing

an orange shirt with orange-and-black swirled pants – sent his tee

shot about 200 yards. That was only about 94 yards too long,

landing somewhere in the Pacific.

”Catch it!” he screamed to the seals, drawing laughs.

Not that the celebrity field lacked athletes.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, New England Patriots coach

Bill Belichick and Giants pitcher Matt Cain were among those in

competition. They drew cheers from fans, jeers from others – all in

fun.

There were still far more camera clicks for actor Kevin Costner

smiling, Andy Garcia puffing his cigar and Ray Romano pleading for

a mulligan than any athlete. None of them, however, could steal

Murray’s crowds.

Paired with D.A. Points this year, Murray and Points managed to

stay one shot back of Bryce Moulder and Harry You for the lead in

the pro-am portion of the tournament. Murray even provided some

incentive for putting up with his antics.

On the par-5 second, Points had about 6 feet for birdie when his

partner made a proposal.

”Make it and you get a bite,” Murray said, holding a

doughnut.

Points did. And did.

NO THREE-PEAT: Dustin Johnson had a chance to become the first

player to win three consecutive Pebble Beach National Pro-Ams since

the tournament began in 1937. He was lucky just to make it to

Sunday.

Johnson hasn’t been much of a factor this week, opening with a

1-over 71 at Monterey Peninsula and making two bogeys on par 5s in

his round of 71 at Spyglass Hill. His first full round at Pebble

Beach since the U.S. Open wasn’t much better. He bogeyed the first

hole, but a burst of birdies after the turn helped him to a 70.

Johnson made a 3-foot par on the 18th hole to finish at 2-under

212 and make the cut on the number.

”I’m still struggling with the putter,” Johnson said. ”I

didn’t get off to a good start, and I couldn’t get anything

going.”

A year ago, Johnson tied for third at Riviera and followed that

with a win at Pebble. The schedule was different, mainly because of

the Winter Olympics.

Johnson tied for third at Torrey Pines this year, but tied for

29th last week in Phoenix.

”I’m struggling with my game a little bit,” he said. ”I’m not

hitting the golf shots I want to. I’m playing all right. If I hole

the putts I’m supposed to hole, I’m right there. I can’t count how

many I missed inside 5 feet.”

TIN CUP: Actor Kevin Costner credited his role in the movie

”Tin Cup” for rekindling his interest in golf.

The 1996 movie was about a washed up amateur, named Roy McAvoy,

working at a dinky driving range who qualified for the U.S. Open to

impress his rival’s girlfriend. Not only was the film a box-office

hit, it apparently sparked Costner’s interest on the course.

Even if his game wasn’t always up to par.

”My life went dark after that movie,” Costner said, laughing.

”Nothing’s been the same since I took up golf.”

DIVOTS: The sparkling sunshine that has glistened Pebble Beach

all week isn’t expected to disappoint on Sunday. The final-round

forecast is for highs in the mid-60s, partly cloudy and zero

percent chance of rain. … Phil Mickelson overcame a slow start

with three birdies on his final five holes, shooting a 3-under 69

at Pebble Beach to move into a tie for 11th place. ”I probably got

as much out of the round there toward the end as I could have,” he

said. … Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, followed up

his second-round 67 with a 72 to slip back into a tie for 23rd

place.

AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this story.