I used to be a baseball writer living in Kansas City, and when spring training started, you'd leave the frozen north to go south. Suddenly it was all blue skies and shirtsleeve weather and the special scent of spring. The West Coast tournaments have that feel for me. If I had to choose, I'd go with hang gliders at Torrey Pines. But I also agree with Michael, there's nothing in America to compete with the Monterey coastline. Never mind the golf, simply being there is special.
I'm partial to the party that is the Phoenix Open because Scottsdale in February is awesome. Still, the two courses I never tire of walking are Riviera and Pebble Beach. Riviera is timeless—check it out sometime in the old Tracy-Hepburn movie Pat and Mike. Standing by Pebble's 6th green on the headland overlooking the cove and the Lodge, you feel as if you're standing on top of the world.
The West Coast swing is the highlight of the season for me, and not just because I live near Monterey. Phoenix is the most fun week of the year, and the Match Play is the coolest event. Besides the obvious, don't forget Spyglass Hill, Monterey Peninsula and Kapalua.