LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Two-time British Open champion, former World No. 1 and World Golf Hall of Fame member Greg Norman will play in this month's Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, adding further appeal and intrigue to the tournament.
Captain of the International Team at the last two Presidents Cups, Norman has amassed 70 international titles to go along with his 20 PGA TOUR wins throughout his stellar career. Between 1995 and '97, he spent a then-record 96 consecutive weeks atop the Official World Golf Rankings, and his 331 weeks all-time as World No. 1 are second only to Tiger Woods.
"We're thrilled to be able to add Greg Norman to our tournament field," said Humana Challenge Tournament Chairman Larry Thiel. "Greg continues to be one of the great names in golf. Because he plays a limited schedule, we know golf fans in Southern California and our national and international TV audiences will enjoy having the rare opportunity to see him compete."
The Humana Challenge is scheduled for Jan. 16-22. For the third consecutive year, the $5.6 million tournament will take place entirely within La Quinta, where players will compete for a $1.008 million winner's check, the largest in event history, and the new Bob Hope Memorial Trophy, at La Quinta Country Club and the Palmer and Nicklaus Private Courses at PGA WEST.
"After a conversation with President Clinton, and also with my good friend Scott McCarron's encouragement, I'm all too happy to support President Clinton's commitment to the Humana Challenge and his Foundation," Norman said. "I'm confident with the recent changes to the tournament's sponsorship and format, and with the support President Clinton will give, this event, which has been one of the most iconic tournaments for decades, will once again establish itself as one of `the' tournaments to play in."
Norman secured his most memorable career wins at the British Open in 1986 and 1993 and at THE PLAYERS Championship in 1994. In 2008, at the age of 53, he made a surprise run at hoisting a third Claret Jug, taking a two-stroke lead into the final round at Royal Birkdale before tying for third.
Norman has played in the tournament previously known as the Bob Hope Classic just once, in 1986. He last played in the Coachella Valley in the 2001 Skins Game, in which he shut out Tiger Woods, Colin Montgomerie and Jesper Parnevik to take home the event's entire $1 million purse.
Off the course, Norman has built a business empire that includes everything from golf course design and real estate development to clothing, wine and a host of philanthropic activities. "The Shark" continues to be immensely popular among golf fans and general sports fans alike, and annually hosts PGA TOUR events at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico and the Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples, Fla.
Other early commitments to the 2012 Humana Challenge include defending champion Jhonattan Vegas, 2011 FedExCup champion and 2010 event champion Bill Haas, 2001 PGA Championship winner David Toms and 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson. Vegas is one of eight past champions who has committed to the 2012 Humana Challenge, joining Haas, Pat Perez (2009), Charley Hoffman (2007), Chad Campbell (2006), Justin Leonard (2005), Steve Jones (1998) and Mark Brooks (1996).
The Humana Challenge features a field of 144 PGA TOUR professionals and 144 amateurs, including celebrities. The first three rounds of the four-day tournament will be played in a pro-am format, each pro-am team consisting of one professional and one amateur, with each group consisting of two professionals and two amateurs. Sunday's final round will feature professionals only. Live tournament coverage will air on Golf Channel (12-3 p.m. PST on Jan. 19-20; 1-4 p.m. PST on Jan. 21-22).
The tournament continues to honor and celebrate the legacy of Bob Hope by awarding the new Bob Hope Memorial Trophy to its 2012 champion. The Bob Hope Legacy Pro-Am will be held Monday, Jan. 16 at the Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST and The Couples Team Challenge Pro-Am will take place Wednesday, Jan. 18 Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST. Tournament week is designed to bring the idea of "participatory wellness" to life for people of all ages and will feature a first-ever national conference focused on health and well-being on Tuesday, Jan. 17, entitled Health Matters: Activating Wellness in Every Generation and highlighted by a keynote address from President William J. Clinton.