|Humana Challenge - January 18, 2012
The Humana Challenge, formerly known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic, has a new title sponsor and a new format. The event is four rounds instead of five.
Jhonattan Vegas of The Woodlands is the defending champion. A total of 13 former champions are in the field, including three players who also won the Shell Houston:
Phil Mickelson (2011), David Duval (1999) and Mark Brooks (1996).
E-Notes – January 18, 2012
The Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation will continue to honor and celebrate the life of long-time tournament host Bob Hope with many on-site initiatives that reflect the legacy of one of golf’s great ambassadors, and the champion of the 2012 Humana Challenge will be presented the new Bob Hope Memorial Trophy.
The field at this week’s Humana Challenge features:
• 12 players who played the 2011 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, including FedExCup champion Bill Haas;
• 19 different winners from the 2011 PGA TOUR season;
• Last week’s Sony Open in Hawaii winner Johnson Wagner, currently leading the FedExCup standings;
• Two-time winner Phil Mickelson, playing the Humana Challenge for the first time since 2007;
• World Golf Hall of Fame member Greg Norman, making first TOUR start since the 2009 British Open and first start at the Humana Challenge since 1986 (T53);
• Dustin Johnson (right knee) and Brandt Snedeker (right hip), who are making their 2012 debuts after off-season surgeries;
• Other notables making their first starts of 2012, including Matt Kuchar, Camilo Villegas and Anthony Kim, a graduate of La Quinta High School.
Fifteen of the 24 rookies who played in the Sony Open in Hawaii made the cut, led by Ted Potter, Jr. (T13).
Johnson Wagner’s win last week came in his fifth start at the Sony Open, having missed the cut in his last three starts at Waialae Country Club.
Charles Howell III, who tied for second last week at the Sony Open in Hawaii, now has 13 career runner-up finishes, including two at the Sony Open (2007, 2011).
Two players posted top-10 finishes in both Hawaii events: Johnson Wagner (T9-Hyundai, 1-Sony); and Harrison Frazar (T5-Hyundai, T2-Sony).
The 41 competitors in this year’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship field have won a total of 351 events on the PGA TOUR and 220 tournaments on the Champions Tour, including 35 major championships on the PGA TOUR and 38 Champions Tour majors.
There are nine members of the World Golf Hall of Fame in this year’s field at Hualalai (Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Larry Nelson, Nick Price, Curtis Strange, Lanny Wadkins and Tom Watson).
John Cook will try to become the first player since Al Geiberger (1992-93) to successfully defend his title in the season opener. Last year, Cook became the first player since Gil Morgan in 1997-98 to win the season-opening event after claiming the last official tournament the previous year. He’s the last player to successfully defend a title on the Champions Tour, winning the 2009-10 Charles Schwab Cup Championship at the end of each season.
Corey Pavin was bogey free in last year’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. Pavin was one of four players to have bogey-free tournaments in 2011. Three players – Loren Roberts, Hal Sutton and Peter Senior – went bogey free at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. Senior duplicated the accomplishment later in the year at the AT&T Championship.
In the 11-year history of the Charles Schwab Cup, no winner of the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai has gone on to win the Charles Schwab Cup in the same year.
16 – The number of consecutive years Hualalai GC has hosted the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the third-longest span by any Champions Tour host venue (TPC Tampa Bay/21 years and Newport Beach CC/17 years).
Loren Roberts, a 12-time winner on the Champions Tour, has never had a hole-in-one during the 431 rounds of his Champions Tour career. Roberts made six aces during the 2,122 rounds of his PGA TOUR career, where he won eight times.
In his first career start on the PGA TOUR, left-handed rookie Ted Potter, Jr. finished T13. The 27-year-old made 73 Nationwide Tour starts between 2004 and 2011 and finished second on last year’s money list to earn his PGA TOUR card for 2012.
Other 2011 Nationwide Tour members making the cut in their first TOUR start were leading money winner J.J. Killeen (T38), Jonas Blixt (T54) and Harris English (T67).
Jamie Lovemark, 2010 Nationwide Tour Player of the Year, makes his first PGA TOUR start this week since the Shell Houston Open in April 2011. The former USC All-American is competing on a Major Medical Extension, having suffered back problems in 2011. He missed the cut in two rehab starts last fall on the Nationwide Tour. He turns 24 on Monday (Jan. 23).
The first two PGA TOUR events of 2012 have been captured by Nationwide Tour alums Steve Stricker and Johnson Wagner, bringing the alumni win total on the PGA TOUR to 322.
The 2012 Nationwide Tour member roster features 236 players – 82 fully exempt and 154 conditionally exempt.