Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation Preview and Prediction

The PGA Tour returns to the mainland this week with The Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.  The Humana Challenge is the old Bob Hope tournament and in the past years has been trimmed to four rounds instead of the old 5-round tournament.  Like the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on the European Tour, many stars are making their 2013 debut at The Humana Challenge.

For the past 2 years, Humana has partnered with the Clinton Foundation to host this tournament.  The Clinton Foundation hopes to get the word out about fitness, especially for children.  The partnership has made for a great event and has drawn big name players to California.

The tournament starts Thursday, January 17th.

TV and Radio Schedule:
January 17th: 3 PM to 7 PM ET The Golf Channel
January 18th: 3 PM to 7 PM ET The Golf Channel
January 19th: 3 PM to 7 PM ET The Golf Channel
January 20th: 3 PM to 7 PM ET The Golf Channel

Also on XM Satellite Radio PGA Tour Network

In The Field:
Former PGA Winners, major champions, and FedEx Cup champions fill the field at The Humana Challenge.  Rookies and young stars also dot the field.

Players to Watch:
Phil Mickelson: Coming off a solid Ryder Cup performance where the youth of Keegan Bradley seemed to rejuvinate him, Mickelson begins his 2013 season at the Humana Challenge.  President Clinton invited Mickelson to join the event in the first season of partnership with The Clinton Foundation and the relationship has remained.

Russell Henley: The newest winner on the PGA Tour, Henley will look to continue his solid play and strong putting at The Humana Challenge.  Henley moved into the top-50 in the Official World Golf Ranking with his win at the Sony Open in Hawaii and will look to keep and improve that ranking.

Patrick Cantlay: The former UCLA player who turned pro last season, Cantlay will make his 2013 PGA Tour debut on sponsor's exemption.  Cantlay has membership on the tour, so he looks to use this event to springboard himself to a solid 2013 and membership on tour next season.

Brandt Snedeker:  Snedeker is coming off a Top-3 finish at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions a couple weeks ago.  The 2012 FedEx Cup champion is looking for another solid season and a hopeful major championship.

Holes to Watch:
Three great courses make up the lineup for the Humana Challenge.  The PGA West Palmer Course, La Quinta Country Club, and the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West are the three courses that are included in the tournament.  The Palmer Private Course hosts the final round at the tournament.

At 6950 yards and Par 72, the Palmer Private Course is designed for great shotmaking but also is playable for players of all skill levels.  La Quinta Country Club is the longest of the three courses at 7060 and also plays at par-72.  The Nicklaus Private Course plays at 6924 and also plays at a par-72.

Hole 3 Palmer Private: The long par-3 plays into a huge, but difficult green.  The tee shot requires a long iron over a water hazard, so accuracy and solid contact is key to making a par.

Hole 11 Palmer Private: A short par 5 gives the players a chance to make eagle and try to make a run on Sunday afternoon.

Hole 15 Palmer Private: The flagship hole at the Palmer Private Course, this par 3 is a beautiful hole.  A short iron approach to a narrow, deep green is made tougher by rocks and water surrounding the green.

Hole 18 Palmer Private: The PGA Tour once again finishes with a Par 5.  This hole is reachable with a solid shot, but sand and water is in play off the tee.

Strong players throughout the field will make this a fight to the finish.  Phil Mickelson will remain in contention down the stretch, and Russell Henley will have another solid event.  Ryo Ishikawa makes his debut as a PGA Tour member and will be near the top of the leaderboard down the stretch.  Camilo Villegas will get 2013 off to a solid start and will look to build off a solid finish here.  But the winner will be Brandt Snedeker.  Snedeker is one of the most solid putters on the PGA Tour and will have a great ball striking week.  He will win by a couple strokes.

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