COVID & Sports: February tournament on the pebble beach for pros only due to spikes

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PEBBLE BEACH (TBEN / TBEN) – The only stars of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this year will be the players.

The peak of COVID-19 cases in California has led organizers to cancel the pro-am portion of a tournament with a long history of artists and celebrities mingling with the pros on one of the country’s most scenic courses .

That means no antics from Bill Murray, Justin Timberlake singing while waiting for a tee shirt or even rap singer Macklemore’s latest fashion statement.

Bill Murray plays a rough shot near the fourth green during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links on February 13, 2016 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge / Getty Images)

The tournament also loses one of its golf courses. The 156-player field from February 11-14 will only play at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. It usually includes the Shore course at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club.

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Pebble Beach is the second PGA Tour event to lose the pro-am format. The American Express next week in La Quinta, Calif., Previously announced that it would only have professionals on two courses in the desert. No fan will be allowed.

Coronavirus cases in California have risen sharply since Thanksgiving, although numbers have stabilized in recent days. Even so, new cases over the past week in the country’s most populous state outnumber those in Texas and Florida.

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California reported 589 more deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total to 31,102 and 33,751 new infections, some of which will inevitably lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.

“It was a very difficult decision, but the right one given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases,” said Bill Perocchi, CEO of Pebble Beach.

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