PGA Tour plays Humana Challenge
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 Humana Challenge partnered with Clinton Foundation | Preview | 15 Jan 2014
The PGA Tour moves from Hawaii to the West Coast this week where it will essentially stay until heading to Florida for the Honda Classic in late February.
The first stop is La Quinta for this week’s Humana Challenge at the PGA West Palmer Course there, that venue sharing the honours with La Quinta C.C. and PGA West Nicklaus course.
Only one player from the world top ten is in the field, namely Zach Johnson whose form in recent starts has been outstanding with wins in Tiger’s event late in the year, a win at Kapalua and a solid enough 8th place at Waialae last week.
Johnson has played this event or its equivalent on only three previous occasions two of those in the last two years. Johnson has played well enough at the venue to be a chance to fully justify his favouritism including when 8th in 2012.
Defending champion Brian Gay has seldom contended of late but his overall form is solid. He has not missed a cut in this event in his last eight visits culminating in his victory last year.
Brian Stuard led for a long time last week at the Sony before finishing 6th and did finish runner-up in his previous start at the Mayakoba Classic and finished 10th at his only start in this event in 2013. He could be one for longer odds.
Webb Simpson is playing beautifully at present having finished inside the top ten in each of his last five starts. Surprisingly Simpson missed the cut in this event last year but prior to that he has done well including when 5th in 2009.
Harris English is such standout amongst the more recent arrivals on the PGA Tour that he could do well again. He has played the event twice and while he has done nothing special to date he is in such good form he is likely to continue his good recent form.
Charles Howell 111 is on the verge of another PGA Tour victory having produced several very good finishes of late. Howell has been a very solid performer here including when runner-up last year. His chances appear good.
The Australians in the field are led in terms of world ranking by Matt Jones who plays his first event of the year and his first since the Australian Open seven weeks ago. Jones had his best year on the PGA Tour last year and has not finished outside the top 30 in four starts in this event. He stands a great chance to head the Australians.
Geoff Ogilvy, John Senden, Stuart Appleby, an improving Robert Allenby,Greg Chalmers, Aaron Baddeley, Steve Bowditch, Scott Gardiner and Bronson La Cassie are other Australians in the field as are New Zealanders Tim Wilkinson and Danny Lee.