The PGA Tour heads to California this week for the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. Mark Wilson of the USA defends the title but he’ll face stiff competition from the likes of Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker.
After two tournaments in Hawaii, the PGA Tour makes its first stop of 2013 on mainland USA. A strong field has assembled at La Quinta as the players look to make a fast start to their FedEx Cup campaign.
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.
Last season Mark Wilson played four superb rounds in the 60s to finish on 24-under-par, beating Johnson Wagner, Robert Garrigus and John Mallinger back into a tie for second spot, two strokes behind.
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.
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 tend to rank among the easiest courses on the PGA Tour schedule and, with an excellent weather forecast for the week, there could well be some super-low scoring in this event.
Venue: PGA West (Palmer Course), La Quinta, California
Date: Jan 17-20
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: $5,600,000 Winner: $1,008,000
Defending Champion: Mark Wilson (-24)
Thursday 17 – Sky Sports 3 from 9pm
Friday 18 – Sky Sports 3 from 9pm
Saturday 19 – Sky Sports 3 from 9pm
Sunday 20 – Sky Sports 3 from 9pm
Robert Garrigus – Tied second here last year and tied second in his last PGA Tour start at the Disney. He makes a bucket-full of birdies so this event is perfectly suited to his game.
Harris English – Fired a 62 on Saturday in Hawaii and ended the week in the top-10. He also fired a 62 in this tournament last year. One to watch this season in general.
Jeff Overton – Eighth last week in Hawaii, Overton has looked likely to make the step-up from also-ran to winner on the PGA Tour for a few seasons now. Maybe this week.
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.
European Tour – Abu Dhabi Championship preview