PEBBLE BEACH -- Graeme McDowell played Pebble Beach Golf Links on Tuesday for the first time since he won the U.S. Open here in 2010, and while he didn't exactly get chills, details he couldn't really recall from his victory came flooding back.
"That was a blur moment," said McDowell, who decided to start his season on the Monterey Peninsula this year. "I don't even remember holing the putt (on the 18th), to be honest with you. It was a very surreal experience. That's why it was cool to be out there this morning and reconnecting with some of the emotions I experienced."
McDowell, who is from Northern Ireland, said walking up Pebble's 18th fairway for the first time in 31/2 years was a poignant moment.
"Of course, it was my first major championship, and the way it happened with my dad here and winning on Father's Day, I don't think emotionally that moment will be beaten in my career," he said. "But I'm not going to put Pebble on a pedestal and say it's the highlight of my career, because I want more."
Northern California has been good to McDowell, 34. He nearly won the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco in 2012, sharing the lead with Jim Furyk going into the final round before tying for second behind Webb Simpson after missing a potential tying putt on the 18th hole.
McDowell isn't expecting nearly as much this week after taking a 10-week break from playing. But he's looking forward to playing with his father, Ken, in the pro-am, and has already had an eventful time in California, having played San Francisco Golf Club on Saturday, Monterey Peninsula Country Club on Sunday and Cypress Point on Monday.
"It hasn't been a rough 3-4 days, it's been a lot of fun," he said. "I'm just getting some course time, shaking the rust off and gearing up for the year. This is a great place to come and ease my way into the season."
McDowell was particularly impressed with the finishing holes at Cypress Point, once a part of the AT&T course rotation.
"Beautiful, picturesque, very difficult," he said. "On 15, 16, 17, I don't think I've seen a better, more stunning piece of real estate to play golf on as those three holes."
Golf fans will have to pass through metal detectors for the first time at the AT&T, as mandated by the PGA Tour at every event in 2014, and be subject to wanding and search. A number of items such as backpacks and video cameras are not allowed and might be confiscated. A complete list of banned items is available at www.attpbgolf.com.
Cell phones are permitted but must be set to silent, and no photography is allowed once the tournament begins.
The 49ers, short on bodies for their six-man team, had to recruit former quarterback Alex Smith to play for them, as well as Northern California PGA Tour pro Matt Bettencourt. Brent Jones, Dwight Clark, Harris Barton and Steve Bono also played for the football contingent.
Pitcher Matt Cain nearly drove the green on Nos. 1 and 3 at Pebble, leading a team that also included Javier Lopez, Ryan Vogelsong, Robb Nen, Snow and broadcaster Dave Flemming.
Follow Carl Steward on Twitter at twitter.com/stewardsfolly.