2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Packs Some Star Power
January 12, 2016
Each of the last few years, it seemed the whispers grew louder.
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was tired. It was getting to be (gasp)…boring.
While the images of Pebble Beach Golf Links still sparkled on television, and Bill Murray still had fans rolling in laughter, the tournament had lost some of its luster.
The main culprit that everyone was pointing to was the field, and they were certainly on to something.
In 2011, the professional field featured 11 players from within the Top 50 in the world rankings. In 2013, 13 of the Top 50 were scattered throughout the field.
This year, however, the AT&T Pro-Am again packs some star power.
While this year’s tournament (Feb. 11-14) is still a bit over three weeks away, there’s already six players in the Top 10 alone who have committed to play.
Most recently, No.7 Justin Rose and No.10 Patrick Reed have confirmed that they’ll play in the event at Spyglass Hill, the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club and host Pebble Beach Golf Links.
The duo joins No.1 Jordan Spieth, No.3 Jason Day, No.4 Bubba Watson and No.8 Dustin Johnson among those set to tee off. While he hasn’t committed yet, No.9 Jim Furyk has been an AT&T Pro-Am regular, and is also expected to play. Furyk has missed some time due to a wrist injury.
Spieth, who won last weekend’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions, will be making his fourth straight AT&T Pro-Am appearance since receiving a sponsor’s exemption in 2013.
Others who have confirmed include defending champion Brant Snedeker (No.34), Kevin Na (No.23) and four-time champ Phil Mickelson (No.39).
“The professional field is really, really solid,” said Steve John, CEO of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, the group that runs the AT&T Pro-Am. “Such a great field will increase ticket sales, which increases money for charity. That’s our goal.”
The celebrity field also has some serious swagger.
There, names include actor/musician Justin Timberlake, actor Mark Wahlberg, musician Toby Keith, Chef Thomas Keller, former 49ers great Steve Young and Kunal Nayyar of ‘The Big Bang Theory.’
Timberlake, who’ll be making his third appearance, joined the field on Friday. ““It is fantastic to have Justin Timberlake coming back to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am again,” John said. “Everyone knows what an unbelievable talent Justin is, from music to acting, but he is a tremendous golfer and is just terrific with the galleries.”
While Bill Murray has not officially committed yet, it’s very Murray-esque to not confirm until days before the tournament.
“There are needle movers all over the celebrity field,” John said. “It’s been my goal to put a jolt into the tournament ever since I’ve gotten here. The difficulty is people’s schedules.”
Even Better: While No.3 world ranked Rory McIlroy has yet to play in the AT&T Pro-Am, John said to not be surprised if he’s in the field in the near future.
“I think Rory will definitely play here in the future,” John said. “Right now, it’s just so difficult with his schedule.”
A good bet would be to see Rory appear in 2019 to get an early glimpse of Pebble Beach, which hosts the 2019 U.S. Open.
Dunne In: Irishman Paul Dunne, 23, is among those who have received a sponsor’s exemption to play in this year’s Pro-Am.
Dunne is most remembered for his play in last year’s British Open, where he at one point held the lead competing as an amateur.
The AT&T Pro-Am has been on the money when granting recent exemptions. Following Spieth in 2013, one of those receiving a 2014 exemption was Cal alum Max Homa, who went on to earn his PGA Tour card.