IN 1937 FAMOUS CROONER BING CROSBY decided to get some friends together for a fun golf event that would also raise money for charity. He held the first event with about 60 players at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in San Diego. Crosby donated $3,000 for the prize money. It was originally called the Bing Crosby Pro-Am, but many simply called it the Crosby Clambake. Sam Snead was the first winner.
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[A complete guide to the 2016 Pebble Beach Pro-Am from I Love Carmel California]
Crosby's contribution to the popularity of golf is amazing. In the 1940s and 1950s he was often noted as the most admired man. In fact, in 1948 it was estimated that nearly half of radio time was devoted to his music. Crosby's star power was incredible.
Bing was also an avid golfer, with a 2 handicap, who played in both the British and U.S. Amateurs. By starting the Crosby Clambake, he brought a tremendous amount of recognition to the game of golf, as well as tourism to the Monterey Peninsula when the event moved to Pebble Beach Golf Links. Since 1937 the event has generated more than $120,000,000 for charities.
Since its inception, this PGA Tour event has had 5 name changes. It was originally called the Bing Crosby Pro-Am (1937-1952), then the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am Golf Championship (1953-1958), then the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am (1959 – 1985), then the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (1986-2015), and now the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (2016). When AT&T became the title sponsor in 1986, Crosby's widow withdrew his name from the event.
With an event held in California, you would think the weather would be fantastic. However, this event has been known for inclement weather, including rain, fog and even snow in 1962. The Pebble Beach Pro-Am has been delayed, shortened and was even cancelled in 1996. And in 1998, the final round was held in August.