by Nathan Rubbelke – St. Louis Inno editor, St. Louis Business Journal

Three St. Louis CEOs this week are teeing it up with some of the best golfers in the world, and with the likes of football stars Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, too.

Jim Kavanaugh, CEO of World Wide Technology; Emerson Electric CEO Lal Karsanbhai; and Ron Kruszewski, CEO of Stifel Financial Corp. (NYSE: SF), are participants in the PGA Tour's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournament. The tournament, an annual PGA Tour event, involves amateur players — a roster of celebrities, sports stars and business leaders — playing alongside the professional golfers as part of the competition.

This year's amateur field is highlighted by several current and former professional athletes, including Brady and Rodgers, as well as former NFL quarterback Steve Young and retired San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. The field also incudes Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, along with CEOs and executives from McDonald's, American Express, Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab.

The Pebble Beach Pro-Am teed off Thursday, with each amateur competing in 18-hole rounds Thursday and Friday with their professional partner in the pro-am competition. The professional golfers will also play Saturday and Sunday as part of the event's professional competition.

Karsanbhai is paired with professional Cameron Young, the PGA Tour's rookie of the year winner in 2022. Kavanaugh is playing alongside Ben Griffin while Kruszewski is teamed up with Canadian Adam Swenson.

Karsanbhai, Kavanaugh and Kruszewski are among a group of players in the field with the highest golf handicaps, a measurement of a player's skill level, with a lower number for better players. The three St. Louis CEOs are all listed with a 16 handicap.

This year's Pebble Beach Pro-Am marks a return for Kavanaugh, who played in last year's tournament. Karsanbhai's predecessor, former Emerson CEO David Farr, played in the event several times while leading the Ferguson-based industrial technology and software company.

Maryland Heights-based World Wide Technology, which provides technology products and services for large businesses and government entities, is a sponsor of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. It also is title sponsor of its own PGA Tour event, the World Wide Technology Championship played in Los Cabos, Mexico.

"We are proud to be a sponsor of the AT&T Pebble Beach tournament to witness incredible golf but also celebrate the power of collaboration," Kavanaugh said. "It's an honor to be here participating in this tournament and sharing the course with other leaders, exchanging ideas and insights and also adding to the shared spirit of what this tournament is all about."

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