King of Pebble Beach

peter_ueberroth2.top.jpgSports business veteran Peter Ueberroth owns the vaunted golf course that will host the U.S. Open this June.By Jessica Shambora, reporter


(Fortune Magazine) -- Peter Ueberroth may be the most popular person in golf this year: As the owner and co-chairman of Pebble Beach Co., this June he'll play host to the U.S. Open, the sport's hottest ticket.

Ueberroth is no stranger to epic sports events: His leadership during the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984 made him Time's Man of the Year; he went on to serve as Major League Baseball commissioner and, more recently, as chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

In 1999 he and a group of partners -- including Clint Eastwood and Arnold Palmer -- bought Pebble Beach from its Japanese owners. These days he splits his time between perfecting his game (he has a 12.4 handicap) and running investment firm Contrarian Group. We checked in with him as he was heading to the Vancouver Olympics for a Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500) board meeting (he's a director) to talk golf, clubs, and job connections.

Fateful round

Ueberroth first played Pebble Beach at the Pro-Am tournament in 1981 with Bob Lurie, then-owner of the San Francisco Giants. The relationship led to Ueberroth's MLB commissioner appointment.

Secret weapon

Yonex driver, a recent gift from Joe West, president of the World Umpires Association.

In the bag

Callaway X-22 irons; divot tool from New Jersey's Pine Valley Golf Club.

Memorable round

In the 2000 Pro-Am, Ueberroth and his partner, PGA player Jim Furyk, were paired with Tiger Woods and his former Stanford teammate Jerry Chang for the final round. Woods came from seven shots behind to win the tournament.

Best view at the Open

Stand on the left side of the sixth fairway; you can also watch the eighth hole coming back. "The approach shot on eight goes over the ocean and is one of the greatest shots in golf."  To top of page