PEBBLE BEACH — Andy Garcia and Carson Daly won big for their charities Wednesday at the annual Celebrity Challenge held at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am.
Because of the two celebs’ efforts, The First Tee of Monterey County and Remind.org will each receive $20,000. Garcia and Daly were the biggest winners of the day, but won just one hole in the five-hole contest, but it paid double because the money from the previous hole carried over when nobody won it.
Six teams of doubles played holes 1, 2, 3, 17 and 18 of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the Challenge. Actor Ray Romano and country musician Clay Walker both earned $10,000 for their charities Harvest Home and Band Against MS; actor Bill Murray and musician Darius Rucker made $10,000 each for the Hemophilia Foundation of Northern California and the Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation; and Huey Lewis and Jake Owen won $10,000 each for Bread & Roses and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Chris Berman and Kenny G paired up, as well as Charles Kelley and Josh Duhamel, but both teams mustered just $2,000 each.
Large crowds attended the event, which was graced by a clear, sunny skies.
“I just love it here; it’s the best place on earth,” said Jenny Grace of Sacramento. “I try to come every year. I remember when Bill (Murray) looked young. That new beard maybe makes him look older than he is.”
Murray, sporting a bushy grey beard, did surprise some in attendance, who didn’t recognize the comedian at first.
“That’s not Bill,” said Garret Smith of Tucson, Ariz. when Murray first came into his view on the 1st green. “Really? … No. Really?”
The celebrities’ play was rougher than anything but the farthest fringes of the course. Missed putts and errant drives seemed to be the rule.
“But we’re not here today to see good golf, just celebrities. ” Grace said. “The real golf starts tomorrow.”
Real play does get under way Thursday after three days of practice where the course has been basically open to fans. Golf fans could be seen tip toeing into an empty green or shaking hands, taking photos and getting autographs from celebrities between holes — things that will not be permitted Thursday through Sunday.
“I got to meet Chris Berman. He’s a very nice guy. “And Matt Cain, I shook his hand.” said Steve Tate, who was at the event for the first time on Tuesday. “I’m having a great time.”
Matt Tadevich of Livermore was happy he got Murray to sign a copy of a GQ magazine on which Murray was on the cover.
“He can be finicky on what he will sign, so I am real happy to have got it,” Tadevich said. “I’m actually shocked, but pleasantly surprised.”
Thursday will mark the start of the tournament in earnest, with teams teeing off at 8 a.m. from Pebble, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course. There is a $6.5 million purse at stake, with the winner taking home more than $1 million.
Some crowd favorites to note: Vijay Singh tees off at No. 1 at Pebble at 8:11, followed about an hour later by John Daly at 9:06 a.m. ESPN anchor Chris Berman will tee off from No. 10 at Spyglass at 9:50 a.m., followed by Kenny G. David Duval and Giants pitcher Matt Cain will tee from that same hole at 8:22 a.m. and Jim Furyk will hit it at 8:55 a.m.
Many of the tournaments biggest celebrities will be at MPCC. Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander hits from the first tee at 8 a.m. Hockey great Wayne Gretzky and golfer Dustin Johnson will go at 9:06 a.m. and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will start at 9:39 a.m. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo hits from the 10th tee at 9:28 a.m.
Complete tee times can be found at http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/at-t-pebble-beach-national-pro-am/tee-times.html.