California State Am Leaving Pebble Beach

While scanning Ron Kroichick's chat with Johnny Miller in search of blatant self-references, I was surprised by this note following the piece:

State amateur moving: The California amateur championship, held at Pebble Beach every year but one since the seaside links opened in 1919 -- the course was built, in part, for the tournament -- is hitting the road.

This year's 96th edition of the state amateur will be played at Monterey Peninsula Country Club. The event will then alternate between Northern California and Southern California sites in future years.

Not surprisingly, money was a driving factor behind the departure from Pebble. The Pebble Beach Company gave the California Golf Association a discount on green fees, but the price was still significant; after all, a standard round at Pebble now costs $450 (and will rise to $475 on April 1).

The move to nearby Monterey Peninsula -- where the club will not charge the CGA for green fees -- represents a huge savings for tournament officials. They also liked the idea of holding the entire tournament at one venue, as opposed to recent years in which Poppy Hills hosted two stroke-play rounds.

Plus, match play at Pebble often led to the odd sight of tournament competitors weaving through public play. Regular folks -- well, regular folks who can afford to pay $450 to play golf -- would stop and let state amateur contestants "play through."

"There was a lot of hand wringing and a lot of anguish about this decision," said Bob Thomas, spokesman for the Southern California Golf Association. "We know how special Pebble is."