The 2014 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation gets underway today in the California desert. The event which for years, was called the Bob Hope Desert Classic is a Pro Am tournament that is played on three different golf courses and has been shortened from 90 holes over five days, to the standard 72 holes and four days.
Most of the Professional golfers like to play at The Humana Challenge. The three golf courses are not typically very difficult to play, but there is still $5.7 Million Dollars up for grabs, and 500 FedEx Cup points available to the winner, along with a Masters Invitation.
This tournament is difficult to watch on television with action coming from the three different courses, and all of the amateurs in the field. In order to speed up play, the format has been changed from three amateurs and one pro in every group, to two amateurs and two pros in each group.
With scoring averages well below 70, the Humana Challenge provides an easy place where the pros can work on their games in the dessert while still being able to earn some money, and FedEx Cup points before they get back to reality next week at Torrey Pines, and a date with Tiger Woods.
La Quinta Country Club plays 7,060 yards, while both the Nicklaus Private (6,924) and Palmer Private (6,950) are both shorter than 7,000 yards. There is a 54-hole cut this week, as each player plays one round at each course. The final round is held at the Palmer Private course, where David Duval shot his final-round 59 to win in 1999. Last year’s cut fell at 10-under 206.
Brian Gay won here last year for his only victory in 2013 in a three-way playoff . Gay comes into Southern California this week after having problems with his neck in Hawaii. He woke up with a “crick” in his neck prior to the Hyundai TOC, and has struggled early in the year.
“The golf courses, they fit me good,” Gay said of the three sites in use this week. “They’re not overly long, there’s some of them you have to be pretty precise on. They’re narrow off the tee, so you have to be accurate. You have to make putts because you have to make a lot of birdies.
The hottest player on the tour coming into the West Coast Swing has to be Harris English. The youngster from Georgia has three top 10′s on the new season, and picked up a solo fourth place finish last week in Hawaii.
Other top players in the field this week are some players who have already seen some action in Hawaii, include Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, and TOC Champ, Zach Johnson.
We will get a first look on the new year at Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler and Brendon de Jonge from Zimbabwe.
All four rounds of the Humana Challenge will be televised on The Golf Channel from 3PM to 7PM Eastern Time.
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