PEBBLE BEACH — Changes continue to be made for this year’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, as the pandemic remains at the forefront in decision making.
With the amateur and celebrity portion of the tournament canceled due to COVID-19 circumstances, the cut down date for the pros will be moved to after the second round of the tournament rather than the third round. The event is slated for February 11-14.
“It will be more of a traditional tour event cut down,” said Lesley Varney, the director of marketing for the Monterey Peninsula Foundation.
The cut down date for nearly eight decades had normally been after the third round, after each competitor had played the three different golf courses over the first three days with amateurs and celebrities.
This year a field of 156 PGA golfers will play on Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course Thursday and Friday, with the field being split in half. The tournament pairings are slated to come out 48 hours before the tournament. Spectators will not be allowed to attend this year’s event.
The field will be trimmed to 65 players, including ties. The final two days of the tournament will be held on Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Tournament director and Monterey Peninsula Foundation CEO Steve John believes it’s a testament to the tournament that the field is full with several defending champions returning.
“I thought one of two things could happen,” John said. “Some pros would not come because they enjoy playing with their amateur partner, or others that don’t like the format would come. We haven’t seen either.”
Nine of the previous 11 AT&T Pro-Am winners compile a deep field, including reigning champion Nick Taylor, who led from wire-to-wire to become the first Canadian to win the event.
Runner-up Kevin Steelman — who won the pro-am portion of last year’s tournament with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald — is also back.
“Players have a good feeling about this place,” John said. “We have a strong past champions list. Look at the players that have won over the last four decades.”
That would include 1981 winner John Cook, 1985 champion Peter Jacobsen, as well as five-time Pebble Beach Pro-Am champion Phil Mickelson, who won the tournament in 1998, 2005, 2007, 2012 and 2019.
Among the previous champions in the last decade entered, include Brandt Snedeker, Vaughn Taylor, Tod Potter Jr. and two-time champion Dustin Johnson.
The son-in-law of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, Johnson won the 2020 Masters in November, and is ranked No. 1 in the world.
Johnson, who has won 24 PGA tournaments, including two majors, won back-to-back AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Ams in 2009-2010.
While most of the events leading up to the tournament have been canceled, John said that the tournament is working on a local 18-hole Pro-Am for the Wednesday before the tournament, where two amateurs will be paired with a pro.
“It will be a way to thank the secondary sponsors,” John said. “Most have stayed on, and either live in the area or own a home in Pebble Beach. They understand their role in this tournament. It’s a way for us to thank them in these very strange times.”
Over the years, the tournament has raised $176 million for local charities.
Contributed by local news sources