Why the Pebble Beach Pro-Am will look very different this year

Bill Murray will not be wooing and wowing fans with his jokes and golf shots at this year's Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Getty Images

A staple on the PGA Tour will look very different in 2021. In an effort to limit coronavirus risk, The Pebble Beach Pro-Am will now be played by just professionals.

The PGA Tour announced Thursday that amateurs — celebrity guests including actors, musicians, athletes, executives and more — will not be taking part in the tournament this year. The event, which is typically played over three courses, will only include Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill this year. The normal field of 156 professionals will remain intact.

“While we will truly miss watching the actors, musicians, athletes and other amateur participants that make this event so special,” tournament director Steve John said, “we are pleased to continue on with the professional competition, enabling the Foundation to support nonprofits in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties. Our charitable giving will target basic needs like food insecurity, educational inequities and health inequities brought on by the pandemic.”

While early-season events avoided being impacted by the coronavirus in 2020, it appears they will not be so lucky here in 2021. The American Express, another annual January stop, announced it would not have amateurs taking part this year. The Genesis Invitational, held in ravaged Los Angeles County, has announced it will not be hosting spectators at this year’s event at Riviera Country Club. The 18th hole at Riviera CC is one of the greatest natural amphitheaters in all of golf, but it will be almost completely empty this year.

At this point, tournament organizers expect a return to normal for the 2022 iteration of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Nonetheless, the PGA Tour plans to host a small pro-am exclusively on Wednesday of tournament week, just like it has periodically over the last five months.

Sean Zak

Golf.com Editor

Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine, currently working on a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews. You can read about those travels here and catch his latest thoughts on the Drop Zone Podcast:

Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart | PodBean