It's a Birdie... It's Rain... It's Crosby Weather

Feb 9, 2017

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is off with a stormy start. On Thursday, play was suspended because of wet weather.

But rain is no stranger to this charity golf tournament. In fact, it even has a name – “Crosby Weather.” The phrase pays homage to Bing Crosby, the famous singer and actor who started the competition.

Golf fans dressed in layers and baseball caps crowded around the first tee at Pebble Beach Golf Links Wednesday.

“To start us off at the 3M Celebrity Challenge, Larry the Cable Guy!,” the announcer shouted.

As Larry tees up and swings, the crowd applauds. The challenge is a kick-off event at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.  It happens before these amateur players pair up with the pros for a tournament that spans four days and three courses. At the 3M Celebrity Challenge, the stars compete on a few holes to raise money for charity.

Like Larry the Cable Guy, actor Josh Duhamel is another Pro-Am regular.

“Several times I played this, we’ve had gorgeous weather. And I’ve missed it a few years in between and it was pouring the whole time, so I like to think of myself as good luck. Doesn’t look like I’m going to bring it with me this year,” Duhamel says.

The weather is what golfers and locals call “Crosby Weather.” Bill Murray knows the term well; this is his 20th year at the Pro-Am.

“Crosby Weather means you have everything in your bag. You prepare for rain, snow, wind and sun,” says Murray.

Ed Vyeda is the unofficial historian for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He’s a former sports writer who now works with the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, which puts on the tournament.

“It's just drizzling, kind of messy, icky, sloppy, you know that’s sort of what we call it. It all falls under the umbrella… no pun intended of Crosby Weather,” says Vyeda.

He’s been coming to the Pro-Am since the early 70s, when this tournament was still informally called “The Crosby,” and was played by Bing Crosby, his celebrity friends and golfers.  It was also back when January or February almost always meant rain.

“That’s what Crosby Weather was... it was basically a positive spin on lousy conditions. But they had a blast. It seems to me they had enough liquor going around where the rain didn’t bother them, let’s put it that way. They had a lot of fun whether it rained or shined,” Vyeda says.

Vyeda says the term Crosby Weather is about as old as the tournament, which made its home at Pebble Beach in 1947. He adds, even Bing Crosby used the term.

“Absolutely. Are you kidding me? I’m not sure if he actually coined it. But I’m guessing somebody within the group did. Or, who knows, it might have been one of the old pros at Pebble Beach. It might have been a writer, you know, frankly. Or somebody on the radio... seriously,” says Vyeda.

Crosby Weather has delayed tournaments, but only cancelled one. That was back in 1996. Otherwise, Vyeda says, when there’s bad weather, it’s part of the experience.

“It’s sort of a badge of honor. I went to the tournament and you know it was in horrible weather and I stuck it out,” says Vyeda.

Doug Hewitt is one of the volunteer drivers at the tournament. He carts around members of the media while others drive the players. Hewitt started off the week by getting cars unstuck in muddy parking lots.

“It doesn’t seem to phase anybody. And then whatever has to be done, something gets canceled, got to play on Monday instead of ending on Sunday, whatever it may be, people still come. That’s just part of the Crosby,” Hewitt says.

The forecast shows Crosby Weather clearing up in time for the weekend.