This weekend, PGA Tour pros will tee it up with entertainment celebrities and corporate CEOs in a unique pro-am format that has been enjoyed by golf fans since 1937. Oops — not this year! Only the pros. Absent will be the amateurs and the fans, casualties of pandemic safety protocols.
But the unique history of this event is still worth celebrating. It began as the inspiration of Bing Crosby (1903-1977), one of the most popular and influential artists of the last century — a singer, comedian and actor. He made over 70 movies — winning the Oscar for Best Actor in 1944 — and recorded more than 1,600 songs. According to the bingcrosby.com website, between 1927 amid 1948, Crosby recorded more than 40 songs that became #1 hits. In short, Bing Crosby was a mega-star.
Crosby was also an avid golfer with a two handicap. In 1937, he decided to host his inaugural pro-am invitational event at his home club, Rancho Santa Fe Country Club near San Diego. The idea behind the event was to get leading PGA players to come play with his Hollywood buddies and celebrate after the tournament with a clambake. It was an instant hit with both groups. Sam Snead won the first event and won $500 for his efforts. After a hiatus for World War II, the Crosby Clambake moved north to the Monterey Peninsula in 1947 where it has been played continuously since then. Crosby died on a golf course in Spain in 1977 but the Crosby Clambake continued on until 1985 (see the poster below). Thereafter, AT&T became the title sponsor. Learn more about the history of the event: http://www.attpbgolf.com/tournament/history/
For a little something extra, click here for an 2016 interview with Nathaniel Crosby by the Golf Channel. Nathaniel was U.S. Amateur Champ in 1981.