Twice The Fun
Twice the challenges
Thursday, August 13, 1998
Pebble Beach''s two biggest events of the year are the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament and the Concours d''Elegance car show, each drawing patrons from around the world and filling hotels from San Jose to San Luis Obispo County.
This weekend, thanks to relentless El Ni¤o rains that damaged the golf course and postponed the final day of Pro-Am play in January, both events will be held right on top of one another, presenting both challenges and opportunities for organizers.
"We are asking people to be patient, and don''t think they can breeze on out there," says Cathy Scherzer, marketing coordinator for the golf tournament, which will be making up its final day of play, originally Jan. 31, this Monday.
Valerie Hutcherson, who handles media relations for the Concours d''Elegance--the 48th annual high brow car show, festival and sale--says the golf tournament is making this year''s preparations a bit more complicated.
"Everything you need, whether it be rooms, or parking, or space, all these things are obviously at a premium," Hutcherson says. Yet she feels prepared for the madness: "I don''t think it''s an unmanageable situation at all, and we''ve done our best to overcome any challenges."
The Concours is expected to draw more than 12,000 people to the area, while the golf tournament will bring anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 more people--numbers that would overwhelm Pebble Beach if there was direct overlap of the two events.
While the Concours officially ends before the golf tournament begins, the car show usually spills over into Monday, when the area this year will be filling up with golf fans. Monday is traditionally the day when tear-down and cleanup happens for the Concours, but the golf tournament will delay much of that work this year.
"There''s a lot of tear-down on Monday from the Concours that will have to be delayed," Hutcherson says. "Anything that can''t be torn down and completely out of the way will be left up in its original state, so you don''t have a tent half-down."
In addition to the physical remnants and trappings of the Concours, many of the people involved will also still be around when the golf tournament begins at 8am Monday.
"There are still a lot of participants there and judges and people who are paying, who purchased a car at Christie''s or whatever, that do their business on Monday. But I also don''t think it''s going to be a normal AT&T [golf tournament] crowd, because it''s not the same number of players or celebrities."
Scherzer says the final day of the tournament will include about 100 pro golfers, not the normal 160 from January, and no amateurs or celebrities like Bill Murray, which is a big attendance draw. She hopes the intimacy, as opposed to the usual spectacle, will be a plus for fans.
"We feel locals will get to see [the golf pros] up close and personal," Scherzer said. "We''ve gotten calls from all over the country about people wanting to come out for it."
Unfortunately, because of the Concours d''Elegance, popping into town and finding a hotel room won''t be easy this weekend. According to Hutcherson, they are all booked.
Yet despite the problems, there are also benefits. Organizers of the golf tournament and car show have been working closely together to accommodate the coming crowds, and have shared costs for things like the rental of tents, highway signs and portable toilets.
In fact, the two events will enjoy a symbiotic relationship in many respects.
"The benefits are that there are a lot of great [golf] players coming in who will see the cars," Hutcherson says. "There are quite a few of our participants that are going to stay to watch the golf."
This year, the Concours will have about twice as many parking areas and shuttle buses as last year to facilitate the crowds. Much of that was because this is expected to be an especially popular Concours anyway, being the 50th anniversary of Porsche.
"It''s going to be hard on everyone who supports the events, whether they are tent vendors, or volunteers, or employees of a company having another day of serving food," says Hutcherson. "There is a whole host of challenges."
Local residents are also bracing for those challenges, and keeping a good attitude.
"Sure, there is an inconvenience for a few days," says Bob Gross, a Pebble Beach resident and past president of the Del Monte Forest Property Owners. "But that is more than outweighed by the charitable giving from these two events and the international recognition we get from this."
The association''s current president, Jeff Craig, agrees the events are beneficial to the community, even if Pebble Beach residents will have a hard time getting around. "The biggest concern for a lot of people will be getting mail from the post office."
Street and easement improvements in recent years have also cut down on the hassles of haphazard roadside parking by visitors, with new posts and fencing keeping things orderly. Still, locals will be happy when it''s over.
"There are always some inconveniences and problems when you have that many people," Craig says.