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What's a little rain in golfing heaven?

PEBBLE BEACH — The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am celebrates its 60th anniversary on the Monterey Peninsula this week with, what else, rain.

We haven't seen rainfall on tournament week since 2000, so the percentages favored some "Crosby weather" sooner or later. But in all truth, the show goes on regardless of the cloud cover or the choppy sea.

The AT&T remains a party disguised as a PGA Tour event, which is in keeping with the theme launched long ago by founder Bing Crosby. It's scenery-gazing, celebrity-gawking and, eventually, some golf-watching by Sunday.

And it's a whole lot more:

It's Kevin Costner rolling in a 4-foot putt Wednesday to win the Celebrity Challenge with partner Carson Daly. When Daly is chided for his late-night TV hours, Costner answers, "He wasn't raised by wolves."

It's Costner earmarking his winnings for breast cancer research, in honor of his breast cancer-surviving mother.

That's her, waving at her son from the bleachers.

It's Bill Murray holing his third shot from about 100 yards for eagle at Pebble Beach's 18th to win the 2006 Celebrity Challenge.

It's a leather binder mailed to your door featuring the AT&T logo and the words, "The Invitation," the confirmation that you'll soon live out an amateur golfer's dream. That is, if you have a spare $12,800.

It's Tiger Woods' absence since 2002 and, by the way, a record attendance of 149,000 in 2006.

It's Tom Watson, a two-time winner of the Crosby (1977-78) and U.S. Open (1982) at Pebble, as he makes a sentimental return this year with son Michael as his partner.

It's Jack Lemmon finally in position to make the cut, only to have the tournament washed away by rain (1998).

It's Phil Mickelson returning six months later to claim the victory.

It's bandleader Phil Harris touting his membership at "the Jack Daniel's Country Club."

It's Harris at the annual Clambake dinner admiring singer B.J. Thomas. "Ladies," Harris says while Thomas walks off the stage, "doesn't B.J. have a nice butt?"

It's Gerald Ford saying goodbye to the presidency at noon, hitting practice shots at Pebble by dark and, the next day, paired with Arnold Palmer at the Crosby.

It's $60 million raised for charity in 60 years.

It's Cypress Point bowing out of the tournament rotation in 1990 with wind gusts up to 40 mph and golf balls blowing off the greens. Above, the blimp is tossed into reverse.

It's Modesto car dealer David Halvorson tying for 12th in the pro-am with Ed Fiori in 1991. And last year, Fiori says to Halvorson, "I remember you. You made me some money!"

It's George Lopez picking up the entertainment baton carried for years by Murray, Lemmon, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, Glen Campbell and countless others.

It's Jerry Pate's orange-ball ace at Cypress Point's famous 16th in '82.

It's Mickelson shooting an almost mathematically impossible 62 at Spyglass en route to victory in 2005.

It's Lemmon leaning over the cliff at Cypress, assisted by a human ladder including Clint Eastwood, Peter Jacobsen, Greg Norman and Norman's caddie, Pete Bender, hacking a ball safely out of the ice plant. Then, on his next shot, Lemmon shanks it into the ocean.

It's Watson talking about Woods: "He's raised the bar so high. No one has seen it this high."

It's Woods rallying from seven strokes back with seven holes left to win in 2000, triggering his year of history.

It's Sunday-morning snow in 1962 and a question from Jimmy Demaret: "Geez, I know I was drinking last night, but how did I get to Squaw Valley?"

It's five wins by Mark O'Meara, "The Prince of Pebble Beach."

It's Vijay Singh, cleaning the grooves of his irons with his tee — a technician at work — during his victory in 2004.

It's Jacobsen, the 1995 winner, again reminding skeptics that the AT&T could be the Tour's most important tournament because of its venues and nonstop handshake with corporate America.

It's Australia's Brett Ogle, one of the most obscure champions, dropping to his knees in 1993 and kissing the 18th green in victory.

It's Orville Moody in 1972, three-putting the final green to create a three-way playoff, which was won by someone named Jack Nicklaus.

It's Tour Commissioner Deane Beman chastising Murray's antics and Murray responding by calling tour officials "Nazis." Beman resigned. Murray didn't.

It's Eastwood, after the awards presentation each Sunday, thanking the fans for their attendance and then, in his Dirty Harry voice, slowly saying, "Now get out!"

It's Kenny G smiling, Huey Lewis singing and John Daly trying to drive the par-4 fourth at Spyglass.

It's the 18th at Pebble at sunset.

Heaven.

Bee sports columnist Ron Agostini can be reached at 578-2302 or ragostini@modbee.com.

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