PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA | The two-month break in the LPGA Tour’s domestic schedule worked out beautifully for Ally Ewing, who is at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in a different role.
She’s a caddie.
Her father-in-law is Dallas businessman Fin Ewing, a regular among the amateur portion for this PGA Tour event. There was no better time to be his caddie, especially with the U.S. Women’s Open coming to Pebble Beach this summer for the first time.
“I had a down week and a good reason to get out to Pebble,” Ewing said Thursday. “I can spend time with my in-laws and get an opportunity to see Pebble Beach before the U.S. Open in July.
It won’t be exactly the same course. Pebble has hosted a PGA Tour event and a U.S. Open in the same year six times, and they’re never quite the same except for the gorgeous scenery along the Monterey Peninsula.
“I expect the rough to be longer, a little more penalizing,” Ewing said. “But it’s Pebble Beach. The greens will be what they are (small), maybe a smidgen faster, all depending on what the USGA does.”
She has played Pebble a couple of times on her own. But it was a good experience to see it in a different role, not with a club in her hand but a bag on her shoulder.
Ewing got a good look at the new eighth green, where some of the ridges have been softened to allow for new pin positions. She stood over Fin Ewing’s putt, gave it a good look and then motioned to him the size of the break, which was substantial.
And while this was their only day at Pebble Beach — the next two rounds are at Spyglass Hill and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula — Ewing was able to see how the ball reacts on the ground from four players — Greyson Sigg and Matthew NeSmith on the PGA Tour, and the two amateurs.
“I’m getting to see two guys at the peak of men’s golf getting around Pebble Beach,” she said. “You can see the intricacies of the golf course, the bounces and the breaks.”
Pebble Beach is one of several big upgrades for the U.S. Women’s Open, which already features the largest purse in women’s golf at $10 million. Future sites include Riviera, Oakmont, Merion and Oakland Hills.
“It’s awesome. These prestigious golf courses we’re now getting on is exciting for the game,” Ewing said. “Pebble is on our rotation, we had Muirfield last year for AIG Women’s (British) Open. It speaks to what the LPGA and women’s golf is doing to get us on these courses, and the courses opening their doors and being very welcoming.”
As for her job for the week? The weather and the views were ideal Thursday, though Ewing finished before the wind began whipping and a marine layer covered the sun and reduced temperatures by about 10 degrees.
Ewing said she carries her own bag at home when she plays with her husband, Charlie, the women’s golf coach at Mississippi State. She had a regular caddie, or her mother pushed a cart during her year on the Symetra Tour.
How much will this week help? She has made the cut in her last four U.S. Women’s Open appearances, her best finish a tie for 10th in 2019 at the Country Club of Charleston in South Carolina.
But there was one immediate benefit.
“It’s great to be out here for the Open,” she said. “But it’s just great to be out here. Who’s going to turn down a trip to Pebble Beach?”