The PGA Tour announced on Thursday that the most famous pro-am in the world will play only as a professional event in 2021. The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am — to be played from Feb. 11-14 — will not include amateurs such as Bill Murray, Bill Belichick, Larry the Cable Guy and Aaron Rodgers as it has in the past. The decision came down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though weekly pro-ams have returned — for the most part — to the PGA Tour, those are one-day affairs whereas this is a four-round slog. The good news, if there’s good news here, is that the tournament will no longer include those preposterous 6-hour rounds that slow it down and remove the rhythm from the event.
There will be a Wednesday pro-am to benefit local charities, but obviously that will be a fraction of the main event (and generate a fraction of the revenue as well).
“This was a very difficult decision, but the right one given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases,” Pebble Beach CEO Bill Perocchi said in a statement. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have put the health and safety of our guests, employees and community first. We know this will create challenges for many local charities this year, but we are confident that the incredible giving associated with this event will continue well into the future.”
Interestingly, the tournament will also go from a three-course setup to two. Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course will be used for the full-field event, but Monterey Peninsula Golf Club will not be used this time around as there’s little use for three courses when the entire field is cut in half. The last two rounds will be played at Pebble Beach instead of just the finale.
This is actually the second pro-am event in California that will be played without amateurs in the first part of the new PGA Tour year. Next week’s American Express will also not include amateurs.
Pebble Beach Golf Links trails only Colonial Country Club as the longest-running golf course used for a PGA Tour event. It has been used every year since 1947 (Colonial started hosting in 1946). The most recent champion of the amateur portion of the event is Larry Fitzgerald, who teamed with Kevin Streelman last year to shoot 33 under to win by five.