Pebble Beach Pro-Am looks set for designated status next year

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John Murphy hits as Seamus Power looks on at Pebble Beach (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

If you’re a fan of Bill Murray, look away now.

Golfweek is reporting that the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is set for a designated face-lift next year, great news for the tournament, not so much for the likes of celebrity competitors, Bill Murray.

If the famous California stop becomes elevated, it means amateur partners for the pro-am will be shipped out before the weekend in 2024. The PGA Tour are said to be contemplating a 36-hole amateur segment instead, finishing up on Friday before the stars of the world game compete alone at the iconic venue for the $20m bonanza over the weekend.

Jack Nicklaus let the designated cat out of the bag last week at the Honda and it’s piqued the interest of Jordan Spieth who loves the Pebble Beach event and has long believed it deserves better from the schedule.

“I heard that,” said the AT&T ambassador who won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2017. “That was maybe a bit premature.”

The eight designated events have yet to be finalised for next year but following Thursday’s announcement, Pebble Beach would go from a 156 player field to somewhere around 70, with the prize fund more than doubling from $9 million to $20 million.

“I voiced that I feel that we have this opportunity where the top guys are committing to play in the same events then we should look at the most iconic venues and make sure that we’re doing it there because that feels like the coolest scenario for ratings, for sponsors,” Spieth said.

“Let’s figure out what can be done. I don’t know what that looks like. I don’t even know if they do. For AT&T to be open to it would be really cool because I love that golf tournament and it had been an unfortunate part of the schedule ever since the Saudi stuff and even before that.”

Just three of the world’s top-20 players competed at last month’s renewal won by Justin Rose.

The Pebble Beach Pro-Am dates back to 1937 when Bing Crosby invited some famous friends over to play golf and eat clambake, all the while raising some funds for charity.

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