Outside of the major tournaments, there’s hardly any more exciting, entertaining events on the PGA Tour than the pro-ams, where the world’s best golfers team up with A-list celebrities to battle it out on the links. And among pro-ams, none is bigger than the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, contested annually at Pebble Beach, one of America’s most storied golf courses.
The upcoming AT&T Pro-Am will be played February 8-16, 2016, with all proceeds going to Bay Area charities like the Monterey Peninsula Foundation. Last year, donations and ticket sales to the event raised nearly $10 million for the recipient charities.
An Extraordinary Venue
It’s easy to see why people turn out by the thousands to this great tournament. For starters, the final four rounds are played on the historic Pebble Beach Golf Course, a visually stunning venue on the Monterey Peninsula, which runs directly beside the Pacific Ocean. Besides featuring in countless movies and TV shows, Pebble Beach has played host to five US Opens and one PGA Championship. Perhaps the most memorable of these came in 2000, when Tiger Woods posted a jaw-dropping 15-shot victory (still the largest margin in major history).
A Star-Studded Field
The competition at this year’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am probably won’t threaten Tiger’s scoring record, but it will still be a delight for tourney goers all the same.
The celebrity slate for 2016 is more star studded than ever, with a virtual who’s-who of A-listers in sports, entertainment, and media scheduled to come out and take their cuts. Music fans will love watching Mark Wahlberg, Justin Timberlake, and even Kenny G tee it up alongside some of the best professional golfers in the world. Kenny G in particular is a fixture at pro-am golf events, and is renowned for his surprisingly precise short game and mid-70s handicap.
If you like funny guys, this year’s Pro-Am will have them in spades. Everybody is sure to love watching Ray Romano try his hand at Pebble Beach’s famously tough greens, which are usually fast and hard, thanks to the dry ocean breezes. Larry the Cable Guy will also be on hand, for those who are fans of his homespun, folksy style of humor. While not known for his golfing prowess, Larry the Cable Guy is open about his love for the game of golf, and is sure to amuse as he contends with professional-length fairways and drives.
If you don’t stay up late enough to catch him on late night, then you can see funnyman Carson Daly teeing off first thing in the morning on Thursday, February 11. Unbeknownst to many of his comedy fans, Daly is a top-notch athlete, and a threat to wind up at the top of the celebrity standings once all is said and done.
Daly won’t be the only TV host on hand. Fans of SportsCenter and NFL Tonight will get a kick out of seeing Chris Berman working his way around the course. Berman famously broke into sports reporting by sneaking into the U.S. Open on behalf of a local newspaper. This time he will return to the course not as spectator, but as one of the main attractions.
In other news, Huey Lewis will also be a part of the celebrity slate. Now that his touring duties have lessened, Lewis has become a frequent golfer, and is expected to make a respectable showing at this event.
Hall of Famers from Far and Wide
Of course, there will be a number of all-time greats on hand who made their names in sports other than golf. Of all those greats, the greatest one is probably Wayne Gretzky. The NHL’s all-time scoring leader is known to have a fiery competitive streak and is certain to do everything he can to stay in contention, at least among the celebs in attendance.
Steve Young will be another all-time legend on hand. Young took his place among American sports royalty thanks to his gridiron exploits on behalf of the San Francisco 49ers, who play not that far from Pebble Beach, and he has made his home in the area ever since. Spectators will get to see whether that translates into any home field advantage for this three-time Super Bowl champion and NFL Hall of Famer.
Also in the mix will be Andy Garcia, who is a legend for his work on the silver screen. Spectators may remember Garcia from such films as the Godfather: Part III, Ocean’s Eleven, and The Untouchables. In recent years, Garcia has stepped away from acting to enjoy personal time with his family. Only time will tell whether that free time has paid dividends when it comes to his handicap.
Pro Players in Attendance
Of course, for the many golf fans coming out, seeing the professional players will be just as exciting as catching a glimpse of the celebrities. Watching the best players in the world contend with Pebble Beach is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This year’s installment of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am will feature top players such as KJ Choi, Padraig Harrington, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, and Bubba Watson.
Snedeker, in particular, will be a name to watch as the weekend progresses and the numbers on the scoreboard dip lower. During last year’s tournament, he shot a 72-hole total of -22, including a first-round 64, to take a three-shot win. Five shots back was major winner Dustin Johnson, who is back this year and no doubt hopes to stake his claim to victory. The professional field will compete for a purse worth $7 million, with the winner taking home a paycheck worth $1.2 million, so there is no question that the competition will be fierce wire to wire.
Those interested in attending can purchase tickets online. Otherwise, the event will be broadcast worldwide and simulcast online by a variety of providers. For those who want to see the biggest names and the best golfers altogether on the same course, there is simply no better time to do it than at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
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