The Pebble Beach National Pro-Am gets underway Thursday morning at one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The Monterrey Peninsula is loaded with iconic seascapes, rugged California coastline, and three golf courses that some say were laid out by God. This tournament holds a special place in my heart, as it was the first Professional Golf Tournament I had ever attended, and in 1980, before Corporate America took over every aspect of sports in this country, was called “The Crosby Clam Bake”.
2012 Fed Ex Cup Champion, Brandt Snedeker picked up his first of two wins last year after three second-place finishes in the early going. He lost to Dustin Johnson at the Hyundai TOC, second to Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines, and second to Phil Mickelson at the Phoenix Open, but would get the win at Pebble Beach.
Snedeker is back to defend his title, and says he is at full strength after recovering from rib injuries during the remainder of the 2013 season, and knee problems when he jumped off a Segway in China back in October.
There are 156 professional golfers slated to tee it up on Thursday with each having an amateur to play with. The National Pro-Am plays on three separate golf courses over three days with the Sunday finale’ finishing up at Pebble Beach after a 54 hole cut. Professionals who do not make the cut will be allowed to play on Sunday if their amateur is still in the tournament.
The most important thing the Pro’s can bring to this tournament if they want a trophy on Sunday is patience. They must endure three courses, and the inevitable slow-play on the difficult lay-outs. 2012 National Pro-Am champion, Phil Mickelson will bring his game to the Monterrey Peninsula and be looking to tie the King of the Pro-Am, Mark O’Meara for his fifth win in this event.
Pebble Beach Golf Links, 6,816 yards, par 72. Framed by breathtaking views of Carmel Bay on one side and the Del Monte Forest on the other, the iconic layout has been a favored PGA TOUR stop since 1947. Designed in 1919 by amateurs Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, the duo was meticulous in building as many holes as possible along the craggy Pacific coastline. Though Pebble Beach hosted the first of five U.S. Amateurs in 1929, it wasn’t until 1972 that the U.S. Open became its first professional major. Four more Opens have followed, along with the 1977 PGA Championship. Spyglass Hill GC (6,953/72) and Monterey Peninsula CC’s Shore course (6,838/70) also are used for the first three days of pro-am competition.
This is a great tournament where you can watch your favorite celebrity play golf, and play by the rules while rubbing their elbows with the pro’s. This year you cam see a host of NFL Quarterbacks in action. Tom Brady from the New England Patriots, Aaron Rodgers from the Packers and Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs.
The list includes Kid Rock, Darius Rucker, Kenny G, Clay Walker, Chris Berman, and former Florida Govenor, Jeb Bush, and many more.
The professionals will be playing for a hefty purse of $6.6 Million Dollars with the winner picking up a check for $1.118 Million and 500 FedEx Cup points.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
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