I would like to welcome everyone to the 2014 edition of the Humana Challenge. This week the Tour makes a stop in California at an event that always sees plenty of birdies made. The event has previously been associated with Bob Hope, but has now moved partnerships to be with the Clinton Foundation. The tournament has also gone from a 90-hole marathon to the regular 72-hole style the PGA Tour players are accustomed to playing. Though the name, charity and format may have changed, I can assure everyone the scoring will continue to be on the verge of ridiculous. Let’s take a closer look at the courses the players will be piling up the birdies on.
The Humana Challenge Courses
PGA WEST (Nicklaus)
This Nicklaus designed golf course features elegant beauty and plenty of birdie and eagle holes. Measuring only 6951 yards in length and a Par 72, PGA West offers plenty of excitement for the fans and players. This course features plenty of reachable Par 5s, a Par 3 that you will probably see a hole in one on (number 7), and 4 water hazards that will come into play. Jack Nicklaus is one of the world’s best course designers, and although this is not one of his most challenging, it is extremely entertaining.
PGA WEST (Palmer)
Arnold Palmer designed this course and it will be played by all players for 2 rounds this week (with everyone playing it on Sunday). The PGA WEST Palmer course is 6930 yards and plays as a Par 72. The course record on this short but interesting track is a sizzling 59, shot by David Duval in 1999. This course ranks as one of the easiest played in each year, along with its partner in crime PGA WEST (Nicklaus),
If you would like to watch plenty of eagles, set up at number 2 on the PGA WEST (Palmer) course. This hole ranked as the easiest hole on the course last year as the Par 5 measures only 514 yards. Even the Tours shorter hitters will be on this green putting for eagles.
La Quinta CC
If you would like to walk one of these 3 courses and just enjoy the beauty, this is the one to choose. La Quinta CC is lined with vegetation that ranges from rose bushes to tropical banana trees. The course plays as a Par 72 like the others on this circuit, but is the longest measuring 7060 yards. Though this is not long at all by PGA standards, La Quinta gives the players very long Par 3s, to go along with shorter Par 4s and 5s.
The courses shortest Par 3 is the 7th hole, measuring only 168 yards. What the hole lacks in distance, it makes up for in scenery. In 1999 an amazing waterfall was added to this gem of a hole, funneling into a pond in front of the green. Look for some players to choose the wrong club here, possibly going into the water, especially if any wind picks up. Overall a very fun hole to watch and play.
Things to watch for this week
Ideal Scoring Conditions – Players will have the opportunity to go very low once again this week. The courses played this week are not very difficult, with past winners being around -25 through four rounds. The players will also be blessed once again with perfect weather conditions, with sun and very little wind throughout the tournament. I can assure you that a player or two will come close to or achieve a 59 this week. ((Course records – (PGA WEST – Nicklaus – 59)(PGA WEST – Palmer – 61)(La Quinta CC – 61)
The start of the big names – over the next three weeks we will have all the big name players competing. This week we have the likes of Bill Haas, Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, and Keegan Bradley. A red hot Zach Johnson will also be teeing it up this week as he looks to get off to a nice lead in the Fed Ex Cup standings. It is essential to look for players who enter this time of year playing well, as many of the big name golfers are just scraping the competitive rust off their games.
Steve’s Humana Challenge Six Pack System Picks
I have compiled a six pack this week that I am thrilled with. It combines great current form with past results at this tournament. I have also made it a key to select players who can go very low and make plenty of birdies. The full six pack is sent to members only, but below I’ve included one for you. If you want access to all picks please sign up at www.GolfBanker.com.
Billy Horschel 27 to 1 – Billy is going to continue to move up the World golf rankings this season. He also will ride his hot play from the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Horschel was on fire for the last two rounds in Hawaii as he was making birdies at will. He should have great memories this week of making birdies on all the courses played as he finished T10 here and absolutely dominated the Par 4 and 5’s (played the -21 combined). Billy won his first PGA Tour event last season at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Not only did he pick up his first win last season but he finished Top 10 in eight events. Horschel will have his eyes set this season to make the US Ryder Cup team and his first statement could come in a big way with a win at the Humana this week.
Enjoy the golf everyone