PEBBLE BEACH Five strokes short this Sunday. But 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh handled defeat in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am a whole lot better than he did a week ago in Super Bowl XLVII.
Soaking in the cheers and encouragement of fans all week, Harbaugh left Pebble Beach with a big smile on his face after he and pro partner Jason Day tied for 13th at 26 under par, five strokes behind two teams that shared the pro-am title.
"Yeah, we were definitely in position to win and didn't get anything going," said Harbaugh, who hadn't picked up a golf club since last year's tournament. "I didn't know if I was going to top the ball or hit like two inches behind the ball, or somewhere in between."
Four days of listening to encouragement definitely left the coach in a better mood just seven days after his team's agonizing defeat to the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans.
"Just the support out here from 49er fans, probably first and foremost, was the best part of the experience," Harbaugh said. "It was a real treat to play Pebble Beach, and to be in this tournament is a great honor. Everything is just A-plus-plus."
His best memory of the week? "I had dinner (Saturday) night and sat across from Clint Eastwood," he said. "My wife and I had a really nice conversation with him, and Phil Mickelson was also sitting at our table. That was pretty darn cool. Then the night before last, my wife danced with Bill Murray."
No love for Verlander Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander made the cut in his first attempt, but that meant an extra of day hearing people in the gallery shout "Go Giants!" at him. How much would he have made if he got a dollar for every time he heard that the past four days?
"Uhhh, a lot of money," Verlander said. "There was nothing too creative out there. It either had something to do with the Giants or simply, 'You stink.' "
Verlander and pro partner Robert Garrigus tied with the Day-Harbaugh tandem.
Goosen back on track One of the overlooked stories of the week was the performance of Retief Goosen, 44, who played his first tournament in America after a five-month layoff following disc replacement back surgery.
Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open winner, needed to make $76,336 to extend his medical exemption on the PGA Tour, but by finishing ninth and collecting $175,500, he will now be exempt for the rest of 2013.
"I played my first round of golf around Christmas," he said. "Everything felt OK, but the first couple of tournaments, I didn't hit a lot of balls. I just mainly played. This was the first week I was actually able to practice a little bit."
Mickelson stumbles again It was another rough go for Phil Mickelson on the 18th at Pebble Beach.
After carding a triple bogey and taking a fall while walking down a steep rock to the beach Saturday, Mickelson hit two more balls into the water Sunday and wound up with a double bogey.