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Giving Through Golf

By Bettina McBee | Photos by Paulina R

It’s a new decade for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Golf tournament, but the goal of the touranment organizer, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, remains the same: philanthropy. All proceeds are awarded to charities located in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties.

Steve John, CEO of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, and his talented staff work year-round to continue the legacy started in 1937 by Bing Crosby, which is to inspire community and global partnerships for giving.

It’s a PGA tournament like no other, a contest laced with drama. The weather always takes center stage. The suspense is intensified by the field of 156 professional golfers and 156 amateurs, and the course at Pebble Beach is unsurpassed. Sponsors and golf fans love the challenging demands of the tournament. For the professional golfer, the competition is a chance to shine through the adverse conditions that our coastal climate presents. Whether blazing sunshine, blistering cold winds, or blinding rain, everyone comes to be a part of history.

“We organize an incredible golf tournament,” says John, “paring corporate leaders, entertainers, and athletes with the world’s best PGA Tour golfers . . .it’s our recipe for success.”

That recipe is seasoned by the support of its major sponsor, AT&T. The greens of Pebble Beach and Monterey Peninsula Country Club add the necessary spices. And served with the underlying support of the community and thousands of fans, the tournament raised $15.6 million in 2019.

Actor Michael Peña participated in last year’s event. His film debut, when he was 19 years old, was in My Fellow Americans, with Jack Lemmon and James Garner, and he heard the actors talk about golf constantly while on the set. Inspired, Peña sought to master the sport.

Comedian Ray Romano, an AT&T Pro-Am veteran, says that Pebble Beach is the prettiest place in golf and he loves the event. For Phil Mikelson, five-time winner of the tournament, Pebble Beach is a special place; in 1919, his grandfather was one of the first

caddies at Pebble Beach. Mikelson, whose pro career started there, carries with him a 1900 Morgan silver dollar coin that belonged to his grandfather.

The tournament’s focus is the fans’ experience. Witnessing talented athletes and celebrities brave the obstacles of the golf courses while being challenged by the forces of nature is a fan’s dream. Making a debut on the PGA tour in 2020’s Pro-Am are state-of-the-art tents to optimize the experience, adding protection from the elements while allowing spectacular views with new perspectives of the game. Most pro-ams are played for one day, but the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is played for a week. Driving ranges are open, along with the autograph zone, which is priceless to fans of the sport. The abounding feeling of community makes the event a magical experience as attendees watch some of the best golfers compete alongside many of their favorite celebrities. The competitors duel as they support the mission of The Monterey Peninsula Foundation, giving through golf.

Be part of the action. It starts February 3, 2020.

For tickets, shuttle information, and ways to volunteer and make a donation, go to


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