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WGT Course Preview: IOA Open at Pebble Beach

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Pristine fairways lining the Pacific Ocean. Finely manicured greens overlooking the scenic Monterey Peninsula. What better place to begin a new season of golf than at Pebble Beach?

With the WGT Virtual Tour,  you can do just that. Play is now officially open for the 2014 IOA Open at Pebble Beach, a virtual tournament in which players of all skill levels can take a crack at arguably the most scenic golf course in America.

Challenging even the most talented golfers since its opening in 1919, Pebble Beach Golf Links has hosted 10 USGA championships to date, including five U.S. Opens, and will add to that lineage when the season's second major returns to the California shores again in 2019. Ranked as the top public golf course for 2013-14 by Golf Digest, Pebble Beach combines elements of land and sea like few other venues in the country.

Even Jack Nicklaus, a winner of 18 career majors, puts Pebble Beach in a category unto itself.

"If I had only one more round to play, I would choose to play it at Pebble Beach," said Nicklaus. "I've loved this course from the first time I saw it. It's possibly the best in the world."

In the IOA Open, WGT players will get a chance to hit nine different shots from various famous holes in a two-round, closest-to-the-pin competition. Among the approaches players will face are the second shot over a cliff at the dramatic par-5 sixth hole, the downhill tee shot at the short but scenic par-3 seventh and the approach to the 18th green, one of the most memorable finishing holes in golf.

The IOA Open at Pebble Beach is open to virtual golfers of all ability, and players have until Jan. 24th to record their best score before adding a single-play, second round score between Jan. 25-31. The top 70 combined scores in each WGT tier (Hack, Amateur, Pro, Tour Pro, Master, Tour Master, Legend and Tour Legend) will split a total purse of 200,000 WGT credits, which will count toward each player's overall standing for the year. Upon entering the tournament, each player will also receive a free IOA-branded virtual golf ball and credit prizes, which can be used to upgrade WGT virtual equipment or compete against other players in match play and skins games.

Sign up today to head to the tee box at Pebble Beach, and stay tuned to GolfChannel.com for more WGT Virtual Tour updates, including monthly interviews with tournament winners.