After two tournaments in Hawaii, the PGA Tour makes its first stop of 2014 on mainland USA. A strong field, including defending champion Brian Gay, has assembled at La Quinta to contest the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
From 1965 until 2010 this tournament carried the name of Bob Hope as the “Bob Hope Classic.” The event has been won by some notable players, including: Arnold Palmer, Johnny Miller, Tom Kite, Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples.
This is an event that tends to witness extremely low scoring – David Duval shot a 59 around the PGA West Palmer Course back in 1999 and winning totals have been close to 30-under-par in years gone by.
Last season Brian Gay made 27 birdies and only two bogeys to finish the week on 25-under-par. But he still had to come through a playoff with Charles Howell III and David Lingmerth to secure the victory.
The Palmer Course at PGA West is the host venue, but the players will also tackle La Quinta Country Club and the Nicklaus course at PGA West.
All three are par 72s, but none are particularly long and, in fact, they ranked as the three easiest courses on the PGA Tour in 2013. With fabulous weather forecast through the week, expect to see some super-low numbers in this event.
Venue: PGA West (Palmer Course), La Quinta, California
Date: Jan 16-19
Course stats: PGA West – par 72, 6,950 yards; La Quinta Country Club – par 72, 7,060 yards; Nicklaus at PGA West – par 72, 6,924 yards
Purse: $5,700,000 Winner: $1,008,000
Defending Champion: Brian Gay (-25)
Thursday 16 – Sky Sports 4 at 8pm
Friday 17 – Sky Sports 4 at 8pm
Saturday 18 – Sky Sports 4 at 8pm
Sunday 19 – Sky Sports 4 at 8pm
Harris English – He was fourth last week in the Sony Open and tied 11th the previous week at Kapalua. He won in Malaysia towards the end of 2013 and was also a winner at the Franklin Templeton shootout.
Charles Howell III – Lost in a playoff here last year, will look to go one better this time out.
Ryan Palmer – Tied eighth last week and tied sixth in this event last year. The planets could be aligning for Palmer.
Key hole: 18th – Palmer West: This will be the final hole of the week. A 543 yard par 5 where there is the option of biting off part of the hole to try and reach the green in two. Whether you gamble or play safe there is sand and water in play.
Skills required: Making birdies. This tournament tends to be a shootout with the winner going well under par.
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