Nearly a year into the pandemic, dealing with that annoying coworker who liked to yell “HUMP DAY!” on Wednesdays doesn’t sound half bad.

Let’s take roll here. Jay-quellen…. Where’s Jay-quellen at?

This week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am will be missing not only the ams but also a fair number of the usual pros. Because of the pandemic, amateurs will not be in the field this week, and as it turns out, most big-name professionals won’t be there, either. Zero of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking will tee it up on Thursday, and just five of the top 50 are present. Tee Times

On the surface, it seems crazy that any golfer would turn down a week on the Monterey Peninsula. When you think about it, though, it’s not all that crazy.

First, there are those who skip the Pebble Beach Pro-Am every year because they just don’t like the pro-am format, with its six-hour rounds and unskilled playing partners. Most of these players would have set their schedules before the tournament announced that amateurs would not be invited.

Other top guys—like world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who withdrew from the Pro-Am on Monday—collected hefty appearance fees from the Saudi government last week and declined to fly halfway around the world and play again four days later. Money talks.

A final factor is how crowded the PGA Tour’s February schedule has become. With the “elevated status” Genesis Invitational and the cash giveaway at The Concession in the next two weeks, Pebble is in a tough spot.

Whatever the reason, it’s a shame that one of the oldest events at one of the best venues on the PGA Tour struggles to draw names. Even in a normal year, few elite players make the trip to Monterey anymore. If the Tour doesn’t change something, the storied Clambake will turn into just another below-average week of stroke play.

Quick Hooks

The PGA of America announced on Monday that, starting this year, rangefinders will be allowed at the PGA Championship, KMPG Women’s PGA Championship, and KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. Bring on the takes! Press Release

Yesterday, the LPGA Tour announced an array of changes to its rules regarding non-member wins. In the future, any non-member of the LPGA who wins a women’s major championship will receive official money, points towards the CME Race to the Globe, and a five-year exemption. Unofficially, these will be known as the “Popov Rules,” as Sophia Popov controversially received none of those benefits after winning the 2020 AIG Women’s Open Championship. Full Story from Beth Ann Nichols

Twenty-eight of the top 30 women in the World Amateur Golf Rankings are in the 85-player field for this year’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Press Release

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Paulie’s Picks: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am – You can’t rely on the household names for your fantasy picks this week. Let Paulie be your guide to this Pebble Beach field.

The Fried Egg Podcast, Episode 203: Thomas Pagel – USGA Distance Insights Report

Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior managing director of governance, joins Andy to discuss the USGA and R&A’s latest announcement regarding their years-long Distance Insights Project. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

The Fried Egg Podcast, Episode 202: Andy’s Carolina Road Trip

Garrett and Andy chat about Andy’s recent road trip through the Carolinas. The podcast opens with some discussion on Fried Egg events we have planned for 2021 before diving into the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, host of this year’s PGA Championship. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Shotgun Start: The Rangefinder Championship, Pebble’s weak field, and the Popov rule

This Wednesday episode begins with some chatter about the peculiar habit of local news consumption in the year 2021. Then Brendan and Andy dive into the breaking Tuesday news that the PGA Championship, Women’s PGA, and Stand-up Mixer PGA will permit the use of distance measuring devices starting THIS year. They debate whether this is the erosion of yet another skill, an area that was already properly bifurcated, and dispel with the cover justification that this is a pace-of-play nostrum. Then they get to the schedule for the week, which is light and simply the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Despite its lack of competition on the event side, the field is the weakest it’s ever been and Andy wonders how that might sit with its telecom giant sponsor, which backs two events now struggling to attract primo fields. They discuss the Saudi impact on two West Coast swing events and also cover this modern pro’s ability to play for huge sums every week without having to glad-hand potential sponsors at a Pro-Am like this. In news, they hit on a trio of LPGA subjects, like the new Popov rule, a new title sponsor doubling a purse, and Annika coming back for an event after she played as a celebrity in another one a few weeks ago. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that most of us don’t live on the Monterey Peninsula. Well, Fried Egg editor Garrett Morrison used to, but he’s an idiot, and he moved away in order to take a job in independent golf media. Point is, some of us haven’t seen a temperature above freezing in many moons. Stay warm with a Fried Egg crewneck or Shotgun Start hoodie!