PGA Tour plays Bob Hope Classic
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2011 Bob Hope Classic | Preview | 19 Jan 2010
The PGA Tour is back on mainland soil this week for the Bob Hope Classic in La Quinta in California about 100 kilometres east of Los Angeles.
The tournament is now the only 90 hole stroke-play event on the PGA Tour and is played over four different courses before a cut is made and the event returns to the host course, the Arnold Palmer Private layout at PGA West for Sunday’s final round.
The three other courses being used this year are the Jack Nicklaus Private course, the SilverRock Country Resort, and the La Quinta Country Club, the first occasion that this particular combination of courses has been used for and event which dates back to 1960.
The defending champion is Pat Perez who last year caught and passed Steve Stricker to win by three over John Merrick while Stricker folded with a final round 77 to finish 3rd with Mike Weir.
Weir is likely to be the favourite this year given that not only did he finish 3rd last year but he is a previous winner of the event. He has not played in the first two events of the year but he had not last year either and was still able to produce a good week.
Tim Clark is still looking for that elusive first PGA Tour victory but this event provides an opportunity for just that. He opened his season with a solid week last week in Hawaii when 25th and in two of his last three starts in this event he has finished runner up and 5th.
Ryan Moore has finished inside the top ten in each of his last four PGA Tour starts including at his only start this year at Kapalua. He has played this event on only three occasions, missing the cut twice but did finish 5th in 2008.
Justin Rose has not played this event in the past two years but earlier produced one or two good tournaments. He finished 12th last week and while, like Clark, he is still looking for that first PGA Tour win, this week gives him a good chance.
Justin Leonard is a previous winner and runner up at the Bob Hope and although he missed the cut last week in Honolulu he is likely to improve quickly.
Charles Howell showed by his 5th position last week that he is close to his best. He has not played this event often but was 6th when he did last play.
There are 11 Australians in the field for this week and John Senden might be one to do very well. Senden has a good record in the tournament and along with that did finish runner up to Robert Allenby at his last start in a tournament at the Australian PGA Championship three weeks ago.