The PGA Tour moves to the Monterey Peninsula this week for the the historic Crosby Clambake, or as it's now known, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The tournament has an atypical format for the Tour, with amateurs (read: "celebrities" and rich business executives) playing alongside the professionals for a minimum of three days.
The event rotates through three layouts on the embarrassment of golf riches that populate the Peninsula. Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club will be the sites this year. Cypress Point, perhaps the best course in the area, has not hosted the tournament since the early 1990s.
There are 156 pros and 156 amateurs playing this year, with each professional paired with an amateur partner for the first three days and playing each course once. The Tour puts two groups together to play each round in foursomes, leading to interminable rounds through the first three days. Many of the amateurs obviously take longer to play, and with a $10,000 entry fee, they're not prone to picking up and moving on when things go awry. This event has also been plagued by poor weather throughout its recent history, adding to the scheduling difficulties.
The fourth and final round will be played at Pebble Beach, with the top 60 pros (plus ties) making the cut through to the Sunday's final 18. This group will compete for the tournament title, purse money, and the FedExCup points that are distributed each week on Tour. There's also a separate pro-am team cut, with the 25 teams with the lowest score through the first three rounds making it through for a final day at Pebble. The low pro-am team through those four rounds will receive their own trophy and title.
The amateurs obviously slow down play but also add to the entertainment and appeal of this annual tournament. But many are also competitive -- even Bill Murray, whose antics on the course typically make the highlight reel, spoke about what it meant to win the pro-am competition with D.A. Points two years ago. He's back again with Points this year, and they'll go for their second title in three years starting on Thursday morning at MPCC.