Sunday’s unseasonalbly warm and bright sunny weather at Pebble Beach Golf Links couldn’t have led to a more picture perfect finish at the AT&T Pro-Am championship. Established in 1937, the Pebble Beach National Pro-AM event was originally known as the Bing Crosby Pro-Amateur. After Crosby’s death in 1977, the tournament was hosted by his family, but the Crosby name was dropped after the 1985 event, and AT&T became the title sponsor in 1986.
In recent years, this championship tournament plays at 3 beautiful courses: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club. The proceeds have raised more than $100 million to benefit Monterey Peninsula Foundation since 1937. Taking place in February each year as part of the PGA Tour, the championship has a prize of $6,500,000.
Notable professionals in recent years have included Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Mark O’Meara, Tim Clark, Davis Love III and Vijay Singh. Celebrities have included Justin Timberlake, Bill Murray, Kevin Costner, Michael Bolton, George Lopez, Steve Young, Tom Brady and Carson Daly.
This year Andy Garcia, Bill Murray, Ray Romano, Huey Lewis and Tony Romo participated among others, and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh teamed up with pro Jason Day, an Australian native. The starting field consists of 156 professionals and 156 amateurs. One professional is paired with one amateur. Only professionals may compete in the individual competition part of the tournament. Amateurs are restricted to playing only in the pro-amateur team competition. The local Pebble Beach tournament officials handle pairing of professionals with amateurs.
Any pre-2000 winners of the tournament itself, as well as any pre-2000 winners of The Masters, US Open, British open, PGA Championship or the Players Championship are eligible. There are 16, rather than the standard eight sponsor invitations allowed, all going to various professionals. I was the guest of Barclays who has sponsored Phil Mickelson since 2008.
The 2013 winner Brandt Snedeker scored 267 at end of four days, 19 under par. His amateur teammate was Nashville investor Toby Wilt who gave Snedeker a golf scholarship to attend Vanderbilt University. The 32-year-old Nashville native won the $10 million prize as the champion of the 2012 FedEx Cup with a victory in the season-ending Tour Championship. After the Pebble Beach win, he moved to No. 4 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career. In his past nine tournaments, he has six finished in the top three, including back-to-back weeks as the runner-up to Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
With his fifth career win – and fourth over the past 22 months – Snedeker advanced to the second-highest American in the world ranking behind Woods. Chris Kirk won second place who trailed Snedeker all through the tournament without ever putting too much pressure on Snedeker. Korean-born pro James Hahn, a 31-year-old rookie from the Bay Area wound up with a 2-under 70 and tied for third with Jimmy Walker and Kevin Stadler. This wasn’t a total loss for Hahn—he previously tied for fourth at the Humana Challenge, and his tie for third gets him into Riviera next week. He hasn’t missed a cut this year and is already 11th in the FedEx Cup standings. He is surely a raising star to watch for.
Photos by Tom Palecek
For additional photos and info, visit AT&T Pro-Am Hub, featuring photo galleries and insider stories that take you behind the scenes at one of golf’s greatest events.