Everyone knows the tournament began as a combination golf game and clambake hosted by Bing Crosby way back in the day, and most people have heard of the champions such as five-time winner Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and 2014 winner Jimmy Walker. But we’ve gathered some fun facts that aren’t as widely known. See how knowledgeable you are about the Pebble Beach Pro-Am!
1. What other sport has played through at the Pro-Am? Hunting. The three days of pouring rain caused the first tournament to be so wet, some of the contestants took a duck hunting break. A pond near the 18th green was full of waterfowl riding out the nasty weather…so they took a short break from shooting golf balls down the green, and shot ducks instead!
2. What other sport has made a brief appearance at the Pro-Am? Football. In 2013 Amateur golfer and actor Bill Murray borrowed a football from fellow amateur golfer and offensive tackle Harris Barton, to kick a very amateur field goal into the rough.
3. What’s Crosby weather? Held in February, the weather for the Pro-Am Tournament is unpredictable at best, and can make play nearly impossible! From a snowstorm that caused one early contestant to joke that he’d accidentally ended up in Squaw Valley, to a 50 mph gale that caused another contestant to take a 16 on the 16th hole at Cypress Point, the difficult and downright crazy “Crosby” weather throughout the history of the tournament is the stuff of legend.
4. Who is the only player to win both the Pro-Am and the Professional portion of the tournament? Gene Littler, a Golf Hall-of-Fame player who won the Pro-Am as an amateur in 1954, and as a professional in 1975.
5. How many holes were played at the original event? The first tournament was an 18 hole event.
6. In which year was the Crosby Weather so bad that the third round was delayed until August? 1998! In 1996 the tournament was cancelled due to weather conditions, and to avoid canceling again two years later, officials made the decision to delay instead.
7. What’s missing at the 18th hole in the 2015 Pebble Beach Pro-Am? One of the two great cypress trees that guard the 18th was felled by 40mph winds during a storm in December. Course officials say there won’t be a way to replace the tree until after the tournament is over.