Expert Picks: Humana Challenge
The PGA TOUR begins its West Coast swing this week, for the Humana Challenge in the majestic La Quinta, California. The tournament formally known as the Bob Hope Classic is slightly different to a normal tour event. Each player plays the 3 course rotation of PGA West Palmer (Host Course), PGA West Nicklaus Private, and La Quinta Country Club. A Pro-Am is also played for first three rounds. Each of the 156 pros will play with a different amateur partner each day on different courses for three days. On Sunday, the low 70 professionals and ties will play the final round of the 72-hole PGA TOUR tournament at the Palmer Private at PGA WEST.
In the 55 year history of the event, this could be one of the strongest fields ever seen. The 156 man field, contains 14 major championships, and 78 PGA tour wins. Players such as Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar to name a few are all set for the event, as we look at this week’s best tips.
Bill Haas comes into his 2015 PGA TOUR debut, on the back of making 17 consecutive cuts. The streak goes back to last year’s RBC Heritage, where he was forced to withdraw due to injury. Haas has a fantastic record at the Humana, having won his first PGA TOUR event back in 2010, and in recent years he’s had 10 top-25 finishes at the Humana. Currently ranked No.44 in the world, Haas finished 16th in the FedEx Cup, including 5 top-10’s and 17 top-25’s. in 2014. He goes into this week at 33/1, which are great odds for a player with a proven track record at this event.
Brand Snedeker had a poor 2014 season by his standards, finishing 86th in the FedEx Cup standing, with just 3 top-10’s. He also slipped out of the top 50 ranked golfers in the world, meaning he currently doesn’t have an invitation to the Masters in April. Luckily he finally looks fully healthy this year, and will be looking to get back to his form of 2013. At the Humana he has 2 top-10 finishes, and we expect good things form him this week and beyond in 2015. At 33/1 he offers great value for a 6-time PGA TOUR champion.
Luke Donald is playing the Humana Challenge for the first time. The English man has previously spent time on the European Tours Middle Eastern swing. Donald had a winless 2014, but is working again with full-time instructor Pat Goss, the coach which helped propel him to World No.1 for 56 weeks in 2011-2012. Donald is renowned as one of the best putters in the game, and with this week being one of the easiest cycle of courses on tour, putting can separate him from the other players. At 45/1 he’s fantastic value for a player getting back to the top of his game.
Matt Kuchar is the highest ranked golfer in the field this week, currently sat at 11th on the OFWGRs. In 2014, Kuchar finished 4th in the FedEx Cup standings, recording one win at the RBC Heritage. In the last 5 years, Kuchar’s posted two top-10 finishes, including a T-2 in 2010 at the Humana. Kuchar is also coming off a T-3 at the Sony Open last week, behind run away champion Jimmy Walker. At 18/1 he’s decent value for a proven champion on the top of his game.