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Jay Busbee

Pebbles past: Tom Kite brings it home at last in 1992

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It's almost U.S. Open time, and there are few finer courses on Earth than Pebble Beach. Put those two together and you've got yourself a huge chunk of golf memories. As we lead up to the Open, we'll be looking back at the best of Pebble Beach Opens past, and we continue with one of the toughest majors in golf history.

Tom Kite doesn't look like a golfer. Seriously, let's be honest. With glasses that he could use to burn ants on a sunny day, he didn't look like the kind of guy who could even screw up the guts to be on a golf course, much less dominate one the way he did one weekend in 1992.

The U.S. Open is always the toughest tournament on the sked, and Pebble Beach in 1992 was brutal almost beyond the bounds of fair play. Only two players even finished under par, Kite (-3) and Jeff Sluman two strokes back.

Kite was Sergio before Sergio, in the sense that he spent a decade with expectations on him that he never quite capitalized on. He'd placed in the top 10 in majors 19 times before that fateful weekend at Pebble.

The course is always tricky, but on the Sunday of the Open, the screaming winds made Pebble Beach nothing short of a nightmare. Kite shot a par 72, a towering achievement in itself. (Plus, he did it in a red sweater that could be seen from orbit.) Colin Montgomerie had finished the day early at even par for the tournament, and Jack Nicklaus apparently congratulated Monty on winning while Kite and Sluman, among others, were still out on the course.

Shot of the tournament? It had to be Kite's chip on the seventh. Standing 20 yards away from the famous green, 40-mph winds swirling, he used his beloved lob wedge to clear the bunker and send the ball off the stick and into the hole. That was it, that was the moment, and few shots in Open history have ever matched it.

Next up: The most dominating major performance in golf history.

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