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Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Pebble Beach Pro-Am

The tournament now known as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is a 72-hole professional golf championship on the PGA Tour which is staged by the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, a non-profit organization that operates this annual golfing event and distributes the proceeds to charity.

The starting field comprises 156 professionals and the same number of amateurs. On the first three days, 2-man teams play a better ball format on each of the three hosting courses with the professionals also playing their regular individual stroke play game. Professionals and pro-am teams that make the 54-hole cut play the final day at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

It all began back in 1937 when Bing Crosby came up with the idea of staging a pro-am competition to give members of his Lakeside Golf Club in Los Angeles and various celebrity friends the opportunity to play with professional golfers who were wintering on the West Coast.

Since Bing had a home near San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe was chosen as the place to hold the championship and so the club became the venue for the first of six “Crosby Clambake” pro-ams until World War II brought about a four year suspension of the event.

Sam Snead claimed the $500 first prize for winning the inaugural competition which was reduced to 18 holes because of bad weather and he would eventually go on to win four pro-am tournaments across three different decades.

The final championship at Rancho Santa Fe was held in 1942 with Lloyd Mangrum and Leland Gibson listed as co-winners of the 36-hole event but in actual fact they finished behind amateur John Dawson, a scratch amateur at Lakeside who shot 66 and 67 for a total of 133, three shots better than the two professionals.

When the tournament moved to the Monterey Peninsula in 1947, it was extended to 54 holes and the purse was doubled to $10,000. Seventy-five professionals and their amateur partners played Cypress Point on Friday 11th January, the Dunes course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club the following day, then the final round on the Sunday at Pebble Beach.

Ed Furgol and George Fazio tied for first place on 213, with Sam Snead sharing 3rd place alongside two others who were all three shots off the pace. Snead at least had the consolation of winning the pro-am along with Roger Kelly after they posted a joint score of 196.

After eleven editions were played in a 54-hole format, the championship became a 72-hole event in 1958, with the field cut after 36 holes. The pro-am was televised nationally for the first time and the purse was boosted from $15,000 to $50,000. Billy Casper shot 71-66-69-71 for a total of 277, beating Dave Marr by four strokes.

Crosby could always call on the support of Hollywood A-list stars like Jack Lemon, Dean Martin and Clint Eastwood to participate in the event and he also helped the PGA in the early days by getting his celebrity friends to host tournaments throughout the country.

His partner Bob Hope had his event in Palm Springs – as did Andy Williams in San Diego; Glen Campbell in Los Angeles; Danny Thomas in Memphis; Sammy Davis Jr.in Hartford; and Jackie Gleeson in Ft. Lauderdale as they all followed the Clambake template.

Those stars also brought in their corporate sponsors and it was these companies that would underwrite many of the PGA tournaments, such as Chrysler in the early 1960s when it signed up to sponsor the Bob Hope Desert Classic.

The first non-American winner of the pro-am was Australian Bruce Crampton in 1965, two years before Monterey Peninsula Golf Club was replaced on the pro-am roster by the newly-built course at Spyglass Hill. Crampton’s three-under-par closing round of 69 for an aggregate score of 284 was good enough to give him a three-stoke margin of victory over Tony Lema, with Jack Nicklaus finishing a further shot behind in third place.

There have been only three other foreign victories celebrated in more than half a century since that first one: Antipodean Brett Ogle secured his first PGA Tour title with a 3-shot win in 1993; Fiji’s Vijay Singh also won by three strokes from Jeff Maggert in 2004; and Canadian Nick Taylor secured his second US win in 2020, carding a nineteen-under total of 267,

Cypress Point was removed from the list of host clubs in 1991 – for refusing to change its membership policies to conform to the PGA Tour's new anti-discriminatory guidelines for clubs where tour events were held – and it was replaced by Poppy Hills. Eighteen years later, it too was overlooked in favour of the Shore course at Monterey Peninsula, which had last hosted in 1977 when it stood in for under repair Spyglass Hill.

Both Mark O’Meara and Phil Mickelson have won the pro-am five times, Sam Snead notched four victories, and Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus each claimed three titles down the years. Gene Littler has also accomplished an impressive double – winning first as an amateur in the pro-am (with Art Wall Jr. in 1954) then as a professional twenty-one years later, beating nearest challenger Hubert Green by four shots.

Popular celebrity pro-am winners include Andy Garcia (with Paul Stankowski) in 1997 and Bill Murray (with D. A. Points) in 2011. Among the many other amateur champions, Ed Lowrey, Francis Ouimet’s caddy (with Byron Nelson in 1955) and Father John Durkin, a Catholic priest (with Lou Graham 1971) are two of the most notable to win the pro-am title.

In 79 editions of the competition up to and including 2020, Pebble Beach has hosted the event 73 times. Spyglass Hill has staged the pro-am on 52 occasions and Cypress Point has been used 44 times.

View:
01
Cypress Point

Cypress Point

Del Monte Forest, California

02
Monterey Peninsula (Dunes)

Monterey Peninsula (Dunes)

Del Monte Forest, California

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Monterey Peninsula (Shore)

Monterey Peninsula (Shore)

Del Monte Forest, California

04
Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach

Del Monte Forest, California

05
Poppy Hills

Poppy Hills

Del Monte Forest, California

06

Rancho Santa Fe

Rancho Santa Fe, California

07

Spyglass Hill

Del Monte Forest, California

Pebble Beach Pro-Am Top 100 Leaderboard

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