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"20 million dollar special competition."

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the second special event of the 2024 PGA Tour, will take place at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spieglashill Course in Pebble Beach, California, for four days from Friday (Korea time). Pebble Beach Golf Links has hosted six major U.S. Opens, and it is a dream of golfers who held the U.S. Women's Open last year. It features "Crosby weather," which refers to extreme weather due to combination of strong winds and waves along the coast of California as well as beautiful scenery. Crosby was named after American singer Bing Crosby who hosted the event for the first time.

Starting this year, the competition has been classified as a special event, and its characteristics have changed. Up until last year, 156 professional and amateur golfers each competed in three courses for preliminary rounds, and those who passed the cut gathered again to play in the fourth round. However, the number of participants has drastically decreased to 80 this year, and no professional golfer has missed the cut. The number of participants in the competition has also been limited to two without the Monterey Peninsula course (par 71).

Due to unique style of play and volatile environment, the preferences of many star players have been sharply divided. However, nine players will participate in the event, excluding Jon Rahm (Spain), who moved to LIV Golf among the top 10 players in the world. In effect, the event has become a "war of stars."

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler of the U.S. will participate in the championship for the first time this year. Other players besides Scheffler include Collin Morikawa, Cameron Young of the U.S., Kim Joo-hyung and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan. Scheffler has a bad memory at Pebble Beach Golf Links, as he failed to make the cut at the U.S. Open in 2019. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who is ranking second this week at his first appearance at the 2024 PGA Tour, will also make his comeback in six years since 2018. Meanwhile, Victor Hovlan of Norway, ranking fourth, has continued to have good memories. He won the U.S. Amateur Championship in 2018, and tied for 12th at the 2019 U.S. Open, and tied for 13th at last year's event to rank high.

In addition to Kim Joo-hyung, five Korean golfers will participate, including Im Sung-jae, Kim Si-woo, Ahn Byeong-hun and Kim Sung-hyun. Nick Dunlap of the U.S., who was an amateur player who won the PGA Tour title for the first time in 33 years, will make his professional debut through this competition.

Meanwhile, LIV, sponsored by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund (PIF), will open its opening game in Mexico on the 3rd and start the new season.

Rahm, who left the PGA Tour and moved to LIV in a surprise move, and Tyrrell Hatton (England), who is ranked 16th in the world, will make their LIV debut in the opening game. LIV will hold 14 events this year in eight countries, including Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, Spain and England, besides the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Mexico. The event features seven competitions in the U.S. alone.
Wednesday, February 7, 2024
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