January 10, 2014
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- Brandt Snedeker will play in the 2014 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. (Dunn/Getty Images)
• FULL FIELD: Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation
• COURSE: Palmer Private at PGA West, 6,930 yards, par 72. Opened in 1986 as the second of now six courses on the sprawling PGA West development, Palmer Private is distinguished by a strong closing stretch sculpted along the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains. The layout became part of the Bob Hope Classic’s rota in 1988, serving as host course from 2001-05 and again starting in 2009. The pro-am format also will use PGA West’s Nicklaus Private course (6,951/72) and La Quinta Country Club (7,060/72) in the first three rounds.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• CHARITY: Desert Classic Charities, which since 1960 has contributed more than $52.5 million to Eisenhower Medical Center and a broad array of other Coachella Valley nonprofit organizations.
• FIELD WATCH: Zach Johnson, winner of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions to restart the season, joins defending champion Brian Gay in the calendar’s first stop on the U.S. mainland. … Johnson and 2012 FedExCup winner Brandt Snedeker are among five players among the top 30 in the latest world rankings. … Dudley Hart, whose career has been plagued by back woes, tees it up in just his second start since May 2009.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 263, Brian Gay, David Lingmerth & Charles Howell III (2013). Note: Steve Stricker shot 255 over the first 72 holes in 2009, when the Hope was a five-round tournament.
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 59, David Duval at Palmer Private (5th round, 1999). Nicklaus Private record: 61, Robert Garrigus (3rd round, 2012), Ryan Moore (2nd round, 2012), Charlie Wi (3rd round, 2009). La Quinta CC record: 61, Lennie Clements (3rd round, 1994).
• LAST YEAR: Brian Gay followed a 9-under-par 63 with two more birdies in extra holes, emerging from a three-man playoff with his fourth PGA TOUR win. Gay, Charles Howell III and Swedish rookie David Lingmerth all completed four rounds at 25-under 263, and Lingmerth was eliminated with a bogey on the first extra hole. Moving to the par-4 10th, Gay striped his 9-iron approach to 5 ½ feet, while Howell drove into the rough and his second shot came to rest in a back bunker. Scott Stallings began the final day with a five-shot lead on his nearest pursuer – and six ahead of Gay – but a closing 70 left him one shot out of the playoff.
• STORYLINES: Johnson, Webb Simpson and Harris English are attempting to join Jimmy Walker as two-time winners during the new wraparound season. Simpson (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open) and English (OHL Classic) won during last fall’s opening stretch. Walker won the Frys.com Open and the Sony Open in Hawaii … Rickie Fowler, who grew up little more than an hour away in Murrieta, tees it up in home territory for just the second time since turning pro. Fowler missed the cut as a PGA TOUR rookie in 2010. … Justin Thomas, who helped Alabama to a pair of NCAA titles before turning pro last fall, plays on a sponsor exemption in his quest to make the TOUR via nonmember earnings.
• SHORT CHIPS: A change in the amateur format now creates foursomes of two pros and two amateurs, which should help speed up play. Previously, three amateurs were paired with each pro. The celebrity draw also has been eliminated, citing problems in finding enough VIPs to commit to playing all three days. … The two-day Health Matters Conference, co-sponsored by Humana and the Clinton Foundation, precedes the tournament for the third consecutive year. Former president Bill Clinton and Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will lead a panel on youth sports, along with U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Sunday, 3-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel).
• RADIO: Thursday-Sunday, 1-7 p.m. ET (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).