AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
A Guide to the PGA Tour Tournament
Golf fans across the country are very familiar with the professional tour and the many tournaments they hold each year. In this guide, I will describe the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournament and give you the history of this special event.
The tournament dates back to 1937. Bing Crosby hosted the first National Pro-Amateur Golf Championship in Rancho Sante Fe California. The tournament paired professional golfers with amateurs. Bing Crosby was a great fan of golf and came up with the idea of pairing low handicap amateur players with professionals who were on the West Coast during the winter months. The first tournament was 18 holes because of rain and it was held in the San Diego area. Sam Snead won the first tournament. In 1938 Sam Snead won again. E J Harrison won in 1939 (Snead did not play). Babe Didrikson played in the 1939 tournament. Ed Proky Oliver won in 1940. It intially started with a field of 60 players in 1938, but by 1941 the field had grown to 300 players and it needed two days for the first round. The final round held at Rancho Santa Fe was held in 1942 with Lloyd Mangrum and Leland Gibson winning. The tournament was suspended in 1942 because of WWII.
In 1946 Ted Durein and Dan Searle approached Bing Crosby about reviving the tournament and playing it in Pebble Beach. In 1947 the first Bing Crosby National Pro-Amateur was held on Pebble Beach, Cypress Point and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club. In 1967 Spyglass Hill golf course replaced the Monterey Country Club. In 1977 Bing Crosby died on a golf course in Spain. His name was on the tournament until 1986 when AT&T became the title sponsor. In 1991, Poppy Hills replaced the exclusive Cypress Point as the third course of the tournament which is now held on the three course: Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Poppy Hills.
The Unique Nature of the Tournament
What makes this tournament special is the unique nature of combining professional golf competition with a little show business. Celebrities are paired with professionals and sometimes the outcomes are wacky and entertaining. One of the most beloved players is Bill Murray the actor. He is hilarious on the course and adds a flavor and entertainment that is rarely seen in a professional tournament.
Several famous actors and sports professionals have played in this event. Emmitt Smith, Donald Trump, Huey Lewis, and Michael Bolton are recent or current players. Jack Lemmon, Johnny (Tarzan) Weissmuller and Clint Eastwood have all played in this tournament as celebrities.
The tournament is usually held in early February. The Field is 180 professionals and 180 amateurs. It is played over three courses, Pebble Beach Golf Links, Poppy Hills Golf Course and Spyglass HIll Golf Course. They play three days and a cut is made for Sunday. Previous winners of the tournament include TIger Woods, Vijay Singh, Mark O'Meara, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw, Payne Stewart and Davis Love III. Tiger Woods no longer plays and the most widely held belief is that he does not play because of the tournament is so laid back and casual plus he needs so much security. At the tournament, the fans and the players often interact, particularly because of the celebrities playing.
The 2007 tournament will be held February 5-11, 2007.