Mickelson joins Norman in Humana Challenge field

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A two-time winner of this event, Phil Mickelson has committed to the 2012 Humana Challenge.
January 06, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Phil Mickelson, a two-time winner of the Humana Challenge and the leading all-time money winner in the event, has committed to play in an event where he has enjoyed immense success -- the 2012 Humana Challenge, in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.

Set to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in May, Mickelson is the second Hall of Fame selection to enter the Humana Challenge field. Greg Norman, winner of two British Opens and captain of the International Team at the last two Presidents Cups, also committed to his first Humana Challenge since 1986.

"I'm honored to join President Clinton and the Clinton Foundation for the Humana Challenge," Mickelson said. "I admire President Clinton and the charitable work of his Foundation, which helps millions of people around the world, and I applaud him for joining Humana in using the tournament to help promote health and wellness. Some of my best seasons have come after starting at this event and I'm really excited about coming back again."

"Phil is one of the iconic names in golf and we couldn't be more pleased to have him back playing an event in which he has enjoyed much success," said Humana Challenge Tournament Chairman Larry Thiel. "Everyone who has the privilege of watching Phil play sees a true master at his craft and we are thrilled our fans will have that opportunity in a venue that Phil is comfortable playing in."

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 at La Quinta Country Club and the Palmer and Nicklaus Private Courses at PGA WEST. The purse and winner's check are the largest in event history.

When it comes to the history of the tournament formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic, Mickelson must be prominently mentioned. The tournament winner in 2002 and 2004 -- both in playoffs -- Mickelson is one of seven players to have won the tournament multiple times. His 2002 victory was his 20th PGA TOUR win and his $2,029,861 in event earnings makes him the only member of the Humana Challenge's $2 million club -- a total amassed in seven events as a professional.

Mickelson's 37 birdies over 90 holes in 2004 is tied for the tournament record, and his four-shot rally to win the 2002 event is tied for the second-biggest comeback in event history. His average finish in the event is 12th place.

Both titles in the desert are two of Mickelson's 39 PGA TOUR victories, the second most among active PGA TOUR golfers. Included in that total are four major championships: the 2004, 2006 and 2010 Masters and the 2005 PGA Championship. In addition, Mickelson has five runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open and was in contention until the last six holes of the 2011 British Open before finishing tied for second.

In 2011, Mickelson won the Shell Houston Open, made 20-of-21 cuts, amassed six top-10 finishes, and still banked more than $3.7 million. He capped his year in November by going 3-1 in the United States' victorious President's Cup campaign in Australia.

At 41, Mickelson's career legacy is enviable for all but a few in the game's history. He has earned more than $63.4 million to go with those 39 victories and 85 top-three finishes. The left-hander's free-wheeling, shot-making skills and short-game wizardry have enabled him to make the cut in 83.5 percent of his starts (370 of 443).

It's those same free-wheeling, go-for-broke skills that have helped make Mickelson one of the most popular golfers of his generation. Never one to turn down autograph requests, Mickelson is an active participant in charitable endeavors. The Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation, the Birdies for the Brave, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Homes for Our Troops and Start Smart bear testament to the passion Mickelson has for giving back off the course.

Mickelson joins an impressive field of early commitment that 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.

Mickelson and Vegas are two of nine past champions who have committed to the 2012 Humana Challenge. They join Haas, Perez, 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.

The tournament continues to honor and celebrate the legacy of Bob Hope by awarding the new Bob Hope Memorial Trophy to its 2012 champion. 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).

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. 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.

During the past 52 years, the event has generated more than $50 million in donations to the Eisenhower Media Center and charities within the Coachella Valley.

The Humana Challenge is proud to offer the latest tournament information, stage contests and give away tickets and other prizes through its new Facebook page -- www.facebook.com/HumanaChallenge -- and Twitter page -- www.twitter.com/HumanaChallenge (@HumanaChallenge). The Humana Challenge encourages the community, golf fans and tournament patrons to become fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter.