2013 Brian Gay
2012 Mark Wilson
2011 Jhonattan Vegas
2010 Bill Haas
2009 Pat Perez
2008 D.J. Trahan
2007 Charlie Hoffman
2006 Chad Cambell
2005 Justin Leonard
2004 Phil Mickelson
2003 Mike Weir
2002 Phil Mickelson
2001 Joe Durant
2000 Jesper Parnevik
Two-time champions: Billy Casper, John Mahaffey, Johnny Miller, Corey Pavin, John Cook, Phil Mickelson (Johnny Miller is the only back-to-back winner.)
BRIAN GAY COMES FROM WAY BACK TO WIN THE 2013 HUMANA CHALLENGE TITLE
One might say the 2013 Humana Challenge returned to the status quo: absolutely perfect weather for the four days of the event, a jam-packed leaderboard, a three-man playoff, and a veteran player coming from six strokes back to eventually claim the title.
And the magic that President Bill Clinton brought to the event also was highly in evidence. Tournament week started with the Clinton Foundation’s second annual Health Matters Conference. The event was attended by scores of international health professionals and a few buddies of the president, including legendary singer Barbra Streisand.
President Clinton’s star power and the excellent tournament field brought out one of the largest crowds in the Humana Challenge’s history. Humana also instituted a new program at the 2013 tournament – Humana Walkit Pro. Under the program, the number of steps taken and calories burned by every player on the course helps to show people the immediate impact that golf – and walking – can have on their health.
Under crystal clear skies, the Humana Challenge’s first round saw three young players forge to the front. Shooting nine-under-par 63s were Roberto Castro and James Hahn, at the PGA West Nicklaus Course, and Jason Kokrak at La Quinta Country Club. They were ahead of a quartet of players who were a shot back – and the man who would eventually win languished in a tie for 29th.
The perfect weather continued on Friday, with two of the first-round leaders continuing their pace. At 14 under par were Roberto Castro and James Hahn, with Darren Stiles, Scott Stallings and Richard H. Lee a shot back. The eventual leader was still nowhere to be seen on the leader board.
A new leader appeared at the end of the third round: Scott Stallings. The two-time winner on TOUR shot a third-round 63 for a 194 total, 22 under par. Stallings looked like a pretty good bet for winning the Humana Challenge, considering that only one other player in 54 years had been leading by five strokes or more – and had been caught only by David Duval’s legendary 59 in 1999. But it was not to be Stallings’ tournament. Although he shot a credible 70 in the final round, several players charged from the back of the pack to catch, then surpass, the third round leader.
Charging from the furthest back going into the final round was rookie David Lingmerth who began the day seven strokes behind. He fired a 62 for a 25-under total of 263 to be the early leader in the clubhouse. Next came three-time TOUR champion Brian Gay, who played steadily from six strokes behind at the start of the day to record a fine 63 and tie Lingmerth for the clubhouse lead. They were eventually joined by Charles Howell II, who had been in the group which began the day five strokes behind. Howell’s 64 put him into a tie with Gay and Lingmerth.
Stallings still had a chance to join the playoff but failed to make a birdie on the par-five 18th at the Palmer Course, ending up in a tie for fourth with James Hahn, who also had a final-round 62.The sudden death playoff began on the 18th hole and quickly claimed its first “victim”. Lingmerth went for the green in two but his second shot finished short and left in the lake. Howell and Gay continued on to the second playoff hole, the 10th. Howell’s second shot found the bunker right of the green; when he failed to get up and down, Gay was crowned the 2013 Humana Challenge champion.
The six shots he trailed by was the second largest margin anyone had ever overcome to win the tournament title. Gay later credited much of his success to a new fitness program he undertook when he finished last in driving distance on the TOUR in 2012. He estimated he had gained up to 15 yards per drive, the edge he needed to become competitive – and win again.
MARK WILSON OVERCOMES MOTHER NATURE TO BECOME 2012 HUMANA CHALLENGE CHAMPION
Mark Wilson, a two-time winner in 2011, started the new season well as he captured the Humana Challenge title. The key day for Wilson may have been Saturday, when heavy winds raked across the entire Coachella Valley, causing play to be suspended for the day. Wilson was five under par at La Quinta Country Club when other scores were shooting skyward – and that may have proved the ultimate difference.
The biggest buzz at the 2012 tournament was the participation of President Bill Clinton. The week began with the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters Conference, which attracted some of the nation’s top health and fitness experts. Also in attendance were famed Clinton friends, such as Barbra Streisand and Goldie Hawn.
The emphasis on health at the tournament was further conveyed by Humana, which passed out pedometers to spectators and pledged to donate $1 for every step taken recorded during the tournament, up to a maximum of $500,000, to local charities. Humana also sponsored a certified farmer’s market and the construction of a multi-generational playground, KaBOOM! to further launch tournament week.
Against the background of a new and exciting tournament with President Clinton highly in evidence, the buzz around the event was huge. Crowds were the best in years. The professional field also was much improved and even included President Clinton’s good friend and Hall of Fame member Greg Norman. Also on hand were some new celebrities, such as famed actor Morgan Freeman and return celebrities like Craig T. Nelson, Michael Bolton and Alice Cooper.
The Thursday and Friday rounds were played under idyllic conditions: temperatures in the low 70s and little if any wind. And the professionals took advantage. In the first round, Camilo Villegas and David Tomas led the pack of 144 professionals with nine-under-par 63s, with four players only a stroke behind. A trio of players emerged at the top of the leaderboard on Friday – Ben Crane, David Toms and Mark Wilson, whose scores of 16-under were three ahead of the closest challengers.
Saturday began under equally nice conditions, although rain and wind were predicted for later in the day. The rain never made an appearance, but the wind more than made up for it. Shortly after noon, with all the players on the course, winds up to 50 miles per hour drove down from the surrounding mountains. With tree limbs and palm fronds flying through the air, play was suspended at 1:13 p.m. and later called for the day. Wilson, at the time, was five under par for the day with three holes to play.
All the players arrived early on Sunday to finish the third round. Wilson finished his round early and waited for play to be completed. When the dust had settled, he had a three shot lead over Robert Garrigus, Zach Johnson, Ben Crane and Brandt Snedeker. The only one of that group who could make a serious challenge down the stretch was Garrigus, who nearly holed a long putt for eagle on the last hole. He eventually finished tied for second with Johnson Wagner and John Mallinger, who had posted excellent scores but were too far back at the start to affect the outcome.
For Wilson, it was his fifth PGA TOUR win and third in 13 months. For the Humana Challenge it was only the beginning of an 8 year sponsor-tournament relationship, with Humana in Partnership with the Clinton Foundation that will continue to transform golf in the Coachella Valley as we know it.
2011 – 52nd Jhonattan Vegas
BOB HOPE CLASSIC
SilverRock Resort, La Quinta Country Club, Nicklaus Private at PGA WEST and Palmer Private at PGA WEST
When this year’s tournament began little was known about Vegas, except he was a 26-year old rookie from Venezuela, the first-ever TOUR member from that country. When the tournament was over, Vegas was a national hero and “Jhonny Vegas” was born to golf fans around the world.
Played under near perfect weather all week, the 2011 Bob Hope Classic began with Derek Lamely forging to the front with a 63, which featured a 29 on his second nine at the Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST. Lurking a single stroke behind was Vegas, who had made the cut in three of his four TOUR starts, and J.J. Henry.
When the dust had settle from the second round, Vegas had taken over a share of the lead – and he would never relinquish the lead the rest of the tournament. Boo Weekley shared the 36-hole lead with Vegas, while Chris Couch and Charles Howell III were a stroke back.
Vegas continued to lead with his third round 67 at SilverRock, joined by Gary Woodland who had crafted a fine 64 at the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA WEST. Australian lefty Greg Chalmers moved up to a stroke with a 65 at La Quinta Country Club.
On Saturday, it looked like Woodland would be the man to beat. Playing Palmer Private, he posted a 66 to vault him into the lead. Vegas, playing the tougher La Quinta Country Club, had struggled, playing his first 12 holes in one under par (which included only two pars). However, he made five strait birdies coming home to tie Woodland for the top spot. One person lurking only three strokes back created a lot of excitement – defending champion Bill Haas had a 62 at the home course to vault back into contention.
An eagle and two birdies on Sunday’s front nine made Vegas the one to catch. Instead of putting the tournament out of reach, his swing betrayed him as he was forced to make putt after putt to remain in the lead. Haas had fired a 66 to complete play at 27 under. Woodland came to the last tee at 26 under, with Vegas still at 28 under. Woodland’s second flew over the pin just over the green, while Vegas laid up and hit a poor iron shot to the front of the green. Woodland chipped up and made a routine birdie, while Vegas’ birdie putt slipped almost nine feet past. When he missed, it was the first three-man playoff at the Humana Challenge in more than 20 years.
An errant drive on the playoff hole (the 18th hole) proved costly for Haas. He laid up in an awkward spot, and a poor pitch resulted in a par. Woodland had hit two good shots, resulting in a birdie. Vegas, meanwhile, hit his second right of the green – and hit a superb shot from a bad lie which struck the flag and settled four feet away. When he knocked that putt in, Haas was eliminated and Vegas and Woodland headed to the second playoff hole, the 10th.
It looked like advantage Woodland after the drives. He was in the fairway and Vegas’ tee shot landed in the left rough and kicked into the lake. Woodland then hit his second into a greenside bunker, while Vegas hit his third to about nine feet. After Woodland’s indifferent bunker shot, he missed a 15-foot putt for par, meaning Vegas would win if he rolled in his nine-footer. With darkness settling in over PGA WEST, he rolled the putt home – and Jhonny Vegas was born!
The weather was mostly sunny a high temperature of 76 degrees.
Winner – Jhonattan Vegas – 333 – $900,000
SilverRock Resort, La Quinta Country Club, Nicklaus Private at PGA WEST and Palmer Private at PGA WEST
The 51st annual Bob Hope Classic opened under the threat of heavy rain – and it did indeed rain! When the tournament came to a Monday finish, it became a heart-warming family affair for the record books.
Play began normally under threatening skies on Wednesday, and Shane Bertsch grabbed the first round lead with a 62 at the Nicklaus Private Course. Shortly after the completion of play, the rains came … and came and came. Four inches would fall in the area by the weekend, canceling play on Thursday. TOUR officials decided to have pros only play the second round on Friday, and Bubba Watson streaked to the front with a course-record 62 at SilverRock Resort.
Watson and rookie Alex Prugh would challenge each other for the lead through the next two rounds, with a quartet of popular players – Matt Kuchar, Mike Weir, Tim Clark and Bill Haas lurking just behind.
The Monday finish (the first in 30 years at the Classic) was a dramatic horse race, with half a dozen players jockeying for the lead. When the dust had cleared Haas birdied the last to win the event by a stroke over Kuchar and Watson. There to greet him as he walked off the green were his father, 1988 Classic Champion Jay Haas and his great uncle, Masters winner Bob Goalby. The elder Haas had taken the red-eye from the Champions Tour event in Hawaii and was secretly at the Classic to watch his son win his first TOUR event.
The 51st Classic was wet, wild – and, above all, a heart-warming family affair.
Winner – Bill Haas – 330 – $900,000
SilverRock Resort, Bermuda Dunes Country Club, Nicklaus Private at PGA WEST and
Palmer Private at PGA WEST
For the first four days of the 50th Bob Hope Classic, it seemed like the “golf gods” were smiling down on the professional and amateur competitors in the tournament. The weather and course conditions were perfect, records were being shattered, an incredible seven holes-in-one were being made, and a pair of players – Steve Striker and Pat Perez – was atop the leaderboard.
All that changed on Sunday, however, when winds unexpectedly swirled out of the local mountains and gusts up to 40 mph played havoc with golf balls. The winds swept away the chances of 90-hole leader Stricker, but Perez was able to contain his emotions and his game to post a three-stroke victory, his first on the PGA TOUR.
Perez, no stranger to “going low at the Hope”, was the first round leader with a 61 at the Palmer Private Course. Amazingly, that was only a single stroke better than two players and two ahead of six others.
When Perez followed the 61 with a 63 on the Nicklaus Private, he set a new tournament record for 36 holes at 20 under par, yet he still had a host of pursuers on his heels. A third round 65 at SilverRock Resort kept Perez in the lead but a new challenger emerged when Ryder Cup team member Steve Stricker scored a 61 of his own at the Palmer to pull within a pair of strokes of Perez.
Perez fired a 67 at Bermuda Dunes on Saturday to set a new 72-hole record, but late in the day Stricker zipped past him, posting a 62 on the Nicklaus course. Stricker not only obliterated the Classic’s 72-hole record but set a new PGA TOUR record as well.
The beginning playing conditions evaporated a little before noon on Sunday. While Perez hung tough, Stricker’s game suffered. He triple-bogeyed the 7th hole, then disaster struck at the 10th: his first tee shot, played in a strong crosswind, went out of bounds, his second went into the lake and he wound up with a quadruple bogey eight, which effectively ended his chances.
The only challenger to Perez down the stretch was John Merrick, a young pro from Long Beach. He finished bogey-par but still only a stroke behind Perez, who finished off the win with a superb eagle on the 18th. His 33-under-par score gave him his first TOUR win in his 198th start.
The great scoring also extended to the amateur team play. The winning team was 71 under par for 72 holes, the lowest score in nearly 50 years. Plus a total of eight holes in one were made during the week, all of them at either the Palmer or Nicklaus courses at PGA West. Amateurs scoring aces were Andrew Goldfarb, Gary Levine, Miklos Kohary and Dick Ziegler plus celebrity Michael Pena. Pros scoring aces were Briny Baird, John Senden and John Mallinger, the latter during the final round.
No matter the windy weather on Sunday, the golf gods still smiled at the Bob Hope Classic, making this year’s event one of the most exciting tournaments of the 50 Classics.
Winner – Pat Perez – 327 – $918,000
The Classic Club, La Quinta Country Club, SilverRock Resort, Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA West
When the 49th annual Bob Hope Classic began, it was a wide open field looking to succeed Charley Hoffman as champion. However, the celebrity field for the annual “fun in the sun” tournament was especially deep.
Among the celebrities playing for the first time were actor Jimmy Fallon (soon to take over Conan O’Brien’s late-night slot), “Burn Notice” star Jeffrey Donovan, sports casting legend Keith Jackson, singing great Meat Loaf, comedian Kevin Nealon, actor Chad Michael Murray, celebrity chef Ming Tsai and pro surfer Kelly Slater.
Also competing were Derek Anderson, Chris O’Donnell, Huey Lewis, Alice Cooper, Taylor Hicks, Thomas Gibson, Don Cheadle, Kenny G, Carson Daly, Anthony Anderson, Michael Bolton, Sterling Sharpe, Cheech Marin, Thomas Gibson and the beloved Yogi Berra. But when the dust cleared, the winning team was the 2008 tournament host George Lopez and actors Samuel L. Jackson and Luke Wilson. It was the first time the tournament host had ever been on the winning team.
When the professional teed off, few would have given D.J. Trahan much of a chance of winning the 2008 Bob Hope Classic entering Sunday’s final round. After all, he was four shots behind former champion and proven winner Justin Leonard. Perhaps most important, Trahan was known as a mediocre putter, finishing 171st in Putts Per Round on TOUR in 2007.
Not only did Trahan win convincingly but he finished the tournament first in the field in the all-important Putting statistic, taking a mere 1.585 putts per Green in Regulation and 26 putts per round over the five days. Crediting a lesson from an amateur back home in Georgia, Trahan won the tournament by coming from behind over the last 10 holes, finishing with a seven-under-par 65 for the day.
The 2008 tournament began with a very crowded leader board, with Omar Uresti, Tim Petrovic, Mathew Goggin, Shigeki Maruyama and former champ Joe Durant leading seven players by a stroke after opening-round 65s.
Trahan made his first appearance at the top of the leader board after the second round, when he was the co-leader with Robert Gamez at 13 under par, both leading Leonard by a shot. Gamez took sole possession of the lead on Friday, finishing at 18 under par and one ahead of Leonard and Trahan and three shots ahead of Boo Weekley.
Leonard seemingly put the tournament out of reach with his 6-under-par 66 on Saturday. His total of 23 under par was four better than Trahan and Gamez, who were joined by Anthony Kim and former winner Kenny Perry in the runner-up spot.
After playing the front nine in a sparkling 33 strokes, Leonard’s chances began to fall apart with bogeys at both 10 and 11. Still trailing by only a shot coming into the 18th tee, his drive found the water, effectively ending his chances. Trahan, playing just ahead, had taken the lead with a birdie at 14, and then birdied the last to cruise to his three-shot victory.
For his win, Trahan scored his biggest payday: $918,000; the keys to a 300C; and an invitation to play in his second Master’s tournament.
For Trahan, it was his second TOUR victory and a title to be savored not only for its rewards but also for the redemption for his putting game.
Winner – D. J. Trahan – 334 – $918,000
Classic Club, Bermuda Dunes Country Club, La Quinta Country Club and
Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST
The most significant development of the 48th annual Bob Hope Classic was the debut of famed TV star George Lopez as the tournament host. The event had an energized feeling as Lopez brought new star quality, new celebrities and new ideas to the Bob Hope Classic for the first of what may be many years of hosting.
The 2007 tournament featured one of the best celebrity fields in the event’s history. Appearing at this year’s Bob Hope Classic for the first time were actors Ray Romano, of Everybody Loves Raymond and film star Andy Garcia. Musicians making their tournament debut were Huey Lewis, saxophonist Kenny G, and Taylor Hicks, the popular winner of the 2006 American Idol competition.
Jerome Bettis, former running back of the Pittsburgh Steelers, appeared for the first time, along with NASCAR driver Boris Said and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli. The irreverent late night host Jimmy Kimmell played on Saturday and brought along several of the most recent American Idol rejects to report his “play”.
Among the great roster of celebrities playing in the 2007 event were boxing great Oscar de la Hoya, baseball icons Yogi Berra, and Roger Clemens, football stars Marcus Allen and Sterling Sharpe; hockey great Mike Eruzione; and Olympic skier Toby Dawson, whose team won the amateur competition in the event.
Legendary actor and director Clint Eastwood made a weekend appearance at the tournament. Playing for all four rounds were singers Michael Bolton and Alice Cooper; TV stars Carson Daly, Maury Povich and Joe Kernen; actors Samuel L. Jackson, Craig T. Nelson, Cheech Marin and Anthony Anderson; comedian Tom Dreesen and spacecraft designer Burt Rutan.
When tournament play began on Wednesday, the tone for the week was set by the day’s weather: cold and windy. All of Southern California was battered by one of the coldest and windiest weeks in recent memory. Three mornings, play was delayed on all or some of the courses by frost with moderate winds in evidence all days until the blustery conditions that affected the final round.
The star of opening day was Australian Robert Allenby, who fired a nine-under-par 63 at La Quinta Country Club, only two shots off the course record. Allenby led after 18 holes by a pair of shots over Craig Kanada and Mark Calcavecchia.
Tuesday saw the emergence of British star Justin Rose who shot a 65 at La Quinta Country Club to share the 36-hole lead with Scott Verplank. Rose extended his lead in the third round with a 66 at the PGA West Arnold Palmer Private Course. He was two ahead of Verplank, followed by a gap of five shots to Lucas Glover and John Rollins.
Playing the host Classic Club on Saturday, Rose had his chance to put the tournament out of reach, but a two-under-par 70 brought a half dozen players back into contention. Lucas Glover shared the 72-hole lead with Rose, with Rollins another two strokes behind. Four off the lead were Jeff Quinney and San Diegan Charley Hoffman, playing in his first ever Bob Hope Classic.
The big story of Sunday was wind, which was 15 to 25 miles per hour with gusts of 40 mph. The wind turned the Classic Club into a monster. The final round scoring average of 74.763 was the highest in tournament history. Two-time champion Phil Mickelson shot 78; co-leader Glover had an 80, which dropped him into a tie for 13th; 2006 PGA TOUR tournament winner Dean Wilson suffered through an 84. Not a single player had a bogey-free round.
With three holes to play, Rose looked like the tournament was his. Steady play by Rollins on the back nine kept him even, tied with Rose going to the last tee. Meanwhile, Hoffman, who looked to be totally out of a chance to win, birdied the 17th and had fired an incredible iron to about 12 feet on the last hole. When he sunk the putt for eagle, Hoffman had vaulted into the lead, meaning Rose and Rollins had to birdie the last to tie. Rollins was up to the challenge while Rose had difficulty from the tee, would eventually par the hole and settle for third place.
In the sudden death playoff, Hoffman again hit a phenomenal drive, was on the green in two and two-putted for an easy birdie. Rollins found sand off the tee, and when he failed to record a birdie, the previously unheralded Hoffman was the 2007 Bob Hope Classic champion. Hoffman became the first person to win the Bob Hope Classic on his initial try since Arnold Palmer in the very first Classic in 1960! Not bad company to keep.
Winner – Charley Hoffman – 343 – $900,000
(Won playoff against John Rollins)
Classic Club, Bermuda Dunes Country Club, La Quinta Country Club and Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST
Chad Campbell was the winner on the golf course at the 2006 Bob Hope Classic. Perhaps the biggest news at this year’s tournament, however, was the unveiling of the Classic Club, the only golf course which is owned by a PGA TOUR-sponsored event.
The course was initiated when Englishman Brian Davis struck the first competitive tee shot at the first hole. The course, which this year played to 7,305 yards, was designed to offer a sterner test for the world’s best golfers and offers fans greatly improved viewing areas and more amenities than in previous tournaments. The results were almost universal praise for the Classic Club as a great test of golf and as a superior PGA TOUR venue.
From the very first day, the Classic Club registered a higher stroke average than the other three courses in play. The first round leader was Pat Perez, who shot the lowest first round in the history of the Bob Hope Classic with a 60 at the Arnold Palmer Course at PGA West.
Campbell, winner of the 2003 TOUR Championship, played in the celebrity field and fired the day’s second lowest round, a 63 at Bermuda Dunes Country Club.
The tournament’s second day had higher winds – and scores soaring to match. The Classic Club’s scoring average was nearly two strokes over par that day. First round leader Pat Perez played the host course and struggled to a 73. Campbell, a Texan familiar with wind, was at La Quinta Country, where he shot a sparkling 66. From that point, he nearly dominated the tournament.
Campbell’s third-round 68 at PGA West gave him a four-stroke edge over John Senden and Scott Verplank. Campbell played the tougher Classic Club on Saturday, where he shot one of the best rounds of the tournament, a fine 67. Verplank, however, scorched Bermuda Dunes Country with a 64, putting him only a single shot back from Campbell going into the final round. Saturday also saw former champion Jesper Parnevik set the course record at the Classic Club with a 62, which was the best round shot all week at the course by three shots.
The Classic Club played tough on Sunday and none of the golfers could make much of a move. Campbell looked to have the title locked up until he pulled his drive at the par-four 13th hole into the lake, but he made a miraculous bogey to keep his edge.
Down the stretch, no one could mount a serious charge. Parnevik had another superlative round – a 67 – but he had started too far back of the leader. He and Verplank shared second place, three strokes behind Campbell, who pocketed the $900,000 first place check and a 2006 300 SRT8.
Campbell’s performance represented a great victory – but the unveiling of the Classic Club initiated the Bob Hope Classic into a new era of tournament competition with a goal of maximizing charitable contributions to the local community.
Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST Bermuda Dunes, Tamarisk and La Quinta Country Clubs
Justin Leonard rose to the top of the field for a convincing come-from-behind victory.
On paper Justin Leonard didn’t look like a good pick to win this year’s Bob Hope Classic. He had switched to new clubs and had missed the cut in his one previous start of the year the week before the Hope. Leonard didn’t take the lead until the final round, but he had a very solid tournament shooting five rounds in the 60s (and 64, 67 on the weekend).
For the first 72 holes, the 2005 Bob Hope Classic seemingly belonged to a non-winner on TOUR named Joe Ogilvie. Playing under near-perfect conditions, Ogilvie shared the first round lead at 64, and then fired rounds of 63 and 64 to tie the tournament’s 54-hole record at 23 under par. Even after “cooling down” with a 69 in the fourth round, Ogilvie still lead Peter Lonard of Australia by two shots and Leonard by three shots as they set off from the first tee at the Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA West.
Two quick birdies by Leonard and two quick bogies by Ogilvie and the Texan had the lead. He made 6 birdies in the first 11 holes on a course that was made somewhat difficult by gusty wind, perfect for a golfer born in the windy plains of Dallas. Up by as many as five shots, Leonard parred the last seven holes, was never threatened and coasted to a three-shot victory.
South African Tim Clark tied Ogilvie for second while Loren Roberts and Lonard tied for fourth, another shot back.
For the victory, Leonard was presented the keys to a 2005 Chrysler Crossfire STR6 Roadster and the winner’s check of $846,000. And for the next two and half months, visions of azaleas, pines and green jackets can swim through his dreams as he hopes to make the improbable of winning both the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and the Masters for the third year in a row an amazing reality.
Winner – Justin Leonard – 332 – $846,000
Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST Bermuda Dunes, Indian Wells and La Quinta Country Clubs
On Sunday Phil Mickelson was greeted by his wife and children after winning the 45th annual Bob Hope Classic for the second time in three years. Coupled with Mike Weir’s victory in 2003, it marked the first time a PGA TOUR event had been won by a lefthander three years in a row.
Mickelson’s victory was assuredly a hard fought one. A second round 63 at Indian Wells put him only a shot back of leader Kenny Perry, then a 64 at PGA West made Phil the third round leader by two shots. When he shot a 67 at Bermuda Dunes on Saturday, it left him tied for the lead with Kirk Triplett, with former Classic Champion’s Perry and Jay Haas one and two strokes back respectively.
Skip Kendall, looking for his first win on TOUR, was the only golfer who challenged Michelson on Sunday. Playing in the group ahead, Kendall grabbed a one-shot lead at the 16th hole, only to bogey the 17th to fall back into a tie at 29 under par. Kendall’s birdie at the closing hole, the dramatic par five, meant Mickelson would have to birdie one of the last two holes to force a playoff.
Phil missed a five-foot birdie putt at 17. His second shot on 18 fell just to the right of the green about 35 feet away. His pitch shot nearly found the cup and his tap-in sent him and Kendall back to the 18th tee for sudden death.
Both players found the fairway in the playoff, with Mickelson about 30 yards ahead of Kendall. Using a wood, Kendall pulled his second shot, barely clearing the lake in front and left of the green, his ball resting about 65 feet short. Mickelson landed his second shot to almost the identical spot where he’d just been in regulation play.
Kendall’s pitch was short, stopping 15 feet away, while Mickelson nearly hit the stick again. After Kendall missed his putt, Mickelson stroked in the three-footer for birdie to the applause of the fans and family.
For the win he earned a check for $810,000 and received the new 2005 300C Hemi. Perhaps most importantly was his return to the top ranks of the golf game with his family there to watch.
Winner – Phil Mickelson – 330 – $810,000
(Won playoff against Skip Kendall)
Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST (host course) Bermuda Dunes Country Club, Indian Wells Country Club, La Quinta Country Club
The champion’s crown of the 2003 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic was captured by a leftanded golfer in exciting fashion for the second straight year. In this year’s Classic, Canadian Mike Weir edged past Jay Haas on the final hole to win the $810,000 first prize check and a 2003 300M.
In many ways, the winning performances in both 2003 and the previous year were remarkably similar. The last two Classics were won by lefties (Phil Mickelson in 2002). Both players never were tied for the lead until the tournament’s 89th hole. The deciding hole for each year’s tournament was the 18th at the Arnold Palmer Course at PGA West. Both years, the winner laid up at the par five hole, while his right-handed rival went for the green in two – and found the lake short and left of the pin.
The first round of the 2003 Bob Hope Classic and the following three days of play were played in near-perfect conditions: warm temperatures and not a breath of wind. Players in the first round took advantage of the benign conditions, with Stephen Ames and Bob Tway firing nine under par 63s at PGA West to lead Chris DiMarco and John Cook by a shot. Jay Haas, the Classic champion in 1988, proved he could play with the “youngsters” on TOUR with a brilliant 61 at the Palmer Course in the second round. His score of 16 under par led Harrison Frazar by one stroke with Ames, 2001 champion Joe Durant and Pat Perez two back, the latter after firing a course record 61 at Bermuda Dunes. Tim Herron shot another 61, this one at PGA West, to join Ames as the third round co-leader at 22 under par, one shot ahead of Haas. Herron appeared to take command of the Classic with a fourth round 65 to open up a four-stroke lead over Haas and Weir.
Herron gave every appearance of a winner, especially since he made two eagles on the back nine of Sunday’s final round. Unfortunately, he also made a quadruple bogey eight at the short 16th hole, leaving the door wide open for Haas and Weir, who had played the steadiest in the final round’s gusty winds and tough pin positions.
Weir always trailed Haas until he rolled in a quick, downhill 20-footer on the par three 17th hole. Both players launched good drives down the last fairway. However, Weir’s ball ended up on a downhill slope, so he elected to lay the ball about 80 yards short of the green. Haas had a perfect lie and less than 200 yards to the pin. Unfortunately, his four-iron was struck slightly thin and the ball failed to carry the rocks fronting the green by inches. Weir wedged to three feet, sank the putt and claimed the Classic trophy by two strokes over the disappointed Haas, who at 49 was looking to become the oldest ever Classic champion.
Another performance of note was turned in by 48-year-old Peter Jacobsen, the 1990 Classic champion. In his 25th appearance at the Classic, Jacobsen made the cut for the 22nd time, surpassing the legendary Ray Floyd’s 21 cuts.
Winner – Mike Weir – 330 – $810,000
(Won playoff against Jay Haas)
Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST (host course) Bermuda Dunes Country Club, Indian Wells Country Club, Tamarisk Country Club
When the 43rd edition of the Bob Hope Classic began play, the big question was how would the tournament’s biggest star play?
Phil Mickelson, the number two ranked player in the world, was making the Classic his first tournament in five months. Although eligible for several exclusive events, the superstar had chosen to spend time with his wife Amy during the birth of their second child and also supervised their relocation back to his roots in San Diego.
The press wondered whether Mickelson’s layoff would negatively impact his game. They didn’t have long to wait for that answer.
The Classic’s first round, remarkable for the number of players who “went low”, ended with Jay Haas and Brandel Chamblee leading at 9 under par. Seven players were only one shot back, including Mickelson., who had been working out and practicing hard during his competitive break.
Australian rookie John Senden grabbed the second round lead at 15 under par followed by Chamblee at 14 under. Mickelson’s 67 at Bermuda Dunes put him in a tie for third. However, his chances of winning seemed to fade on Friday when he shot a lackluster 70 at the PGA West Arnold Palmer Private Course. Mickelson trailed the three co-leaders Kirk Triplett, Deane Pappas and Duffy Waldorf by four shots heading into the weekend.
Jay Haas, 1988 Classic champion and first round co-leader, soared back atop the leaderboard on Saturday with his second 63 of the tournament. His 72-hole total of 26 under par led Cameron Beckman and Kenny Perry by a shot. Mickelson, playing at Indian Wells, shot a 65 to remain four shots behind going into Sunday’s final round.
The exciting final 18 holes saw a dozen players vying for the lead at various points in the round. Among the fans was former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a special guest of the Classic.
Late on the back nine two players pulled away from the field. First was Mickelson, who birdied the 17th hole then made a clutch pitch shot and three-foot putt for a birdie at 18 to finish at 30 under par. The other player was David Berganio, Jr., who two-putted from 60 feet for birdie at the par five 18th hole to also finish at 30 under.
Mickelson put the finishing touch on his starring role at the Classic when tapped in a short putt for a birdie on the first hole of the sudden death playoff. It was his 20th victory on the PGA TOUR, qualifying him as a Life Member on the TOUR. He also received a $720,000 paycheck, a 2002 PT Cruiser – and the knowledge that his star shines as bright as ever.
Winner – Phil Mickelson – 330 – $720,000
Bermuda Dunes Country Club, Indian Wells, La Quinta Country Club and Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST
Durant capped off a near flawless 65 on Sunday with birdies on two of the last three holes to win the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and set a record for the lowest score ever in a 90-hole TOUR event. The tournament had long since been decided when Durant made the birdies to get to 36 under, breaking the mark of 35 under set here in 1993 by Tom Kite.
Durant faltered only on the final hole, leaving an 8-foot birdie putt short, but it was good enough for a four-shot win over Paul Stankowski, whose 63 was only good enough to make up two shots on the leader. “It was really a magical week,” Durant said. “It seemed like every time I needed to make a crucial putt I did.”
It was the second scoring record in two days for Durant — who set a mark for most under par through four rounds at 29 under — and the third PGA TOUR scoring record to be broken already this year. It also was the second win as a pro for Durant, who didn’t flinch after holding the lead going into the final round for the first time as a pro. Durant’s lead was never in danger as he made seven birdies and no bogeys on the perfectly manicured PGA West Palmer course that yielded a final-round 59 to David Duval two years ago.
“To win again means a lot. In fact, it almost means more to me than my first time,” Durant said. “I feel like I’ve gone full circle and my game is where it should be.”
Stankowski, playing a group in front of Durant, closed within three shots at one point on the back nine, but Durant wasn’t going to give him a chance to make it interesting. Durant promptly birdied 16 and 17 before missing his final putt on 18. “I’m a little disappointed because I wanted it and I wanted it bad,” Stankowski said. “I wanted to go out and make a bunch of birdies early.”
Durant’s first win since the 1998 Advil Western Open was never much in doubt after he seized control of the event with a second-round 61 and never looked back. In five rounds, he made 36 birdies and an eagle while making only two bogeys. Calcavecchia, who finished in third six shots back, had predicted that Durant would win easily unless he began hitting shots into the water. He didn’t, and birdies on the second and sixth holes showed he wasn’t going to come back to the field.
It was a round remarkably similar to that of Calcavecchia only last month when he won the Phoenix Open and set a PGA TOUR scoring record of 256 for a 72-hole event.
Durant made the turn in 34, then promptly birdied the 10th hole with a 12-footer and then got up-and-down out of the bunker on the 11th for another birdie. The closest he came to making a bogey was on No. 12, where he hit his tee shot into a greenside bunker and had to get up-and-down for a par-3.
It was a commanding performance for the 36-year-old player who at one time was so frustrated over his lack of progress in the game that he quit to sell insurance. About the only excitement left for the quiet crowd came when Robert Gamez nearly made a double eagle on No. 6, his 15th hole, and had a chance to shoot 59 with birdies on his last two holes. He left an 8-footer short on his 17th hole, though, and then barely missed a long birdie putt on his final hole for a 61.
“I never thought of 59,” said Gamez, who won twice when he came out on TOUR but is not exempt this year. “I just wanted to visualize one shot at a time.”
Winner – Joe Durant – 324 – $540,000.000
Bermuda Dunes Country Club, Indian Wells, La Quinta Country Club and Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST
The first Bob Hope Classic of the new millennium brought out one of the brightest fields in the tournament’s history – and it also produced another exciting finish.
Leading the field was defending champion David Duval, who had fired what some regard as the finest 18 holes of golf ever when he shot a 59 in the final round to capture the 1999 Classic. Also making the field extremely competitive were stars such as Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson, Hal Sutton, Justin Leonard, Fred Couples, Scott Hoch, Bob Estes, Chris Perry, David Toms, John Huston and Steve Pate. Of course, the crowd’s favorite was the venerable Arnold Palmer, making his 40th appearance at the Classic.
But the starring role in the 2000 Classic was played by Sweden’s best player, Jesper Parnevik, who became only the second foreign-born golfer to win the tournament. Winning was not an easy accomplishment, however. The only time he ever led the event was when he rolled in a four-foot birdie putt on the 90th and final hole to edge another foreign player, fourth-round leader Rory Sabbatini of South Africa by a shot.
David Toms, a two-time winner on TOUR in 1999, set the first round pace with a splendid 63. Another first round highlight was Casey Martin’s first round as a member of the PGA TOUR. Martin received a sponsor’s exemption to play in the 2000 Classic from the Classic Board of Directors.
Greg Kraft (back-to-back 65s) took the lead after 36 holes before Rich Beem, surprise winner in Chicago in 1999, grabbed a two-shot lead after 54 holes. Sabbatini fired a fourth round 64 to carry a two-shot margin into the final 18 holes – and seemed to have the Classic victory in his sights until he developed problems with his tee shots over the final nine holes. He needed a birdie on 18 to tie, but hit his drive into the left rough, chipped across the fairway into the trees on the right, then struck a splendid wedge to 25 feed. The putt to tie, however, missed just left, leaving Jesper (who won the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic in 1999) $540,000 richer.
Among other highlights of the 2000 Classic were: The unveiling of the newly redesigned La Quinta Country Club layout, which played particularly tough; the new par of 61 at Bermuda Dunes, when the first hole was shortened to a challenging par 4; the superb title defense of David Duval – he contended until late on Sunday before finishing 5th, the best finish by a defender in25 years; the 61 fired by Brent Geiberger, to tie the course record at Indian Wells; and the cut of 11 under par, which broke both the tournament and TOUR records for lowest cut ever.
Winner – Jesper Parnevik – 331 – $540,000.000
It was only coincidental the Palm Springs Golf Classic was founded in 1960 – what many believe was one of the most important years in the history of the game of golf. It was also a coincidence that the tournament’s first winner was Arnold Palmer who, a few months later, would put golf on the front page of America’s sports pages, earning forever the title “King”.
Arnie didn’t just win the first Classic – he dominated the field. His total of 338 (22 under par) set a tournament record that would not be broken for nearly 20 years. It was also the first of his eight victories in the 1960 season – Arnie’s best-ever year as a professional.
But what made the year so important came in June of 1960 when Arnie shot a final round 65 (including driving the first green at Cherry Hills) for one of the most dramatic comebacks in the history of the U.S. Open. That single 18-hole round catapulted golf into the top ranks of sports, created the famous “Arnie’s Army” and made Arnold Palmer a legend. Arnie won his first Classic five months before he was crowned “King” with his dramatic Open triumph.
Palmer continued to reign supreme at the Bob Hope Desert Classic during the decade. He added victories in 1962 and 1968 with runner-up finishes in 1965 and 1966.
Arnie’s performance was impressive – but Billy Casper, who some have dubbed the “quiet great”, nearly matched Palmer’s accomplishments.
The Classic’s early years determined the format and traditions which remain to this day. Bob Rosburg is credited with creating the tournament’s unique five-day format played over four different courses. The founding courses played were Thunderbird, Tamarisk, Bermuda Dunes and Indian Wells Country Clubs. The tradition of the Classic Girls began in the event’s early years, with the earliest tournaments having a Classic Queen (Debbie Reynolds, Jane Powell and Jill St. John were early title holders.)
From the start, the Classic attracted an unbelievable array of celebrities to compete in the tournament’s pro-am competition. Some of the early stars are now legends: Bing Crosby, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Phil Harris, Desi Arnaz, Ray Bolger and Hoagy Carmichael. Dwight Eisenhower was the first former President to play in the tournament and of course, the biggest celebrity of all, Bob Hope, played in the early years, added his name to the tournament in 1965 and became the Classic’s Chairman of the Board.
But the Classic’s most extraordinary challenge was the fabulous $50,000 prize offered for a hole-in-one. Consider how tremendous that prize was: Arnold Palmer won eight times in 1960 (including the U.S. Open) and his total earnings for the year were $75,000.
For the first three years of the tournament, the Classic purchased an insurance policy from Lloyd’s of London for a hole-in-one payoff – and the $50,000 was won in each of these years. Cigar-chomping Joe Campbell accomplished the feat in 1960 on hole 5 at Tamarisk, followed by Don January in 1961 on the 15th at Indian Wells and Dick Mayer in 1962 on the 2nd at Tamarisk.
The combination of Arnie’s victories and the hole-in-one bonanza was a winning one. The Classic was televised for the first time in 1961, becoming a pioneer in bringing the tournament’s excitement into the living rooms of golf fans around the country.
The 1960′s was an exciting decade for golf – and the Bob Hope Desert Classic was one of the prime factors for making the sport popular among the general public.
Arnold Palmer’s reign continued in the early 70s with two more Bob Hope Classic victories, pushing his lifetime total to five. By the middle of the decade, the Classic torch had been passed to Johnny Miller, who put his indelible stamp on all desert tournaments.
Miller won back-to-back Classic titles in 1975 and 1976 and had six consecutive top-four finishes beginning in 1972. His desert mastery also included events at Phoenix and Tucson, and in the memorable year of 1975, he made a clean sweep of the desert with victories in all three events. In a space of only three years, Johnny Miller won seven desert tournaments, including three consecutive Tucson titles.
Miller’s dominance during the decade had its preview in 1973 when he was locked in a three-way battle for the Classic title with Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Palmer won the title by a single stroke over Miller and Nicklaus. Later that year, Miller shot his record-breaking 63 in the final round to win the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club.
Frank Sinatra made his Hope debut in 1972. Other stars of the era who played often were Jack Benny, Andy Williams, Lawrence Welk, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jackie Gleason and Dean Martin. Gerald Ford joined the field in 1977, making him the second former president to play in the tournament. Willie Mays, Joe Louis, Johnny Bench, Merlin Olsen, John McKay, Maury Wills and Bear Bryant were among the sports world stars who teed it up in the Classic during the 70s.
Barbara Eden was the first Classic Queen of the 70s, reigning over a court that wore outfits with “Bob”, “Hope” and “Classic” emblazoned across the front. Other Classic Queens during the decade were Gloria Loring, Brucence Smith, Linda Carter, Lexie Brockway and Terry Ann Browning. The last four were also Miss World USA. Beginning in 1975 the Bob Hope Classic Girls became the ambassadors of the Classic, as there was no longer a queen. By this time, Bermuda Dunes, Indian Wells and La Quinta served as the host courses on a rotating basis. Eldorado and Tamarisk rotated as the fourth course in the lineup each year.
It didn’t matter which courses were in the rotation. Johnny Miller played all of them with extreme brilliance. Although there were many remarkable Classic performances in the 1970′s the era still belonged to Miller, who crossed the barrier from a good player to a future Hall of Famer. It was another golden era for golf – and it was led by golf’s new golden boy.
The third decade of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic was a period of significant change both for the tournament and the PGA TOUR. These steps forward in the 1970′s were largely responsible for the tremendous success of the Classic and the TOUR in the 1980′s.
For the Classic, the biggest step was the addition of Chrysler to the tournament’s name in 1985 as our title sponsor. The auto manufacturer had been a major sponsor of the telecast for several years, but saw the opportunity to further showcase their products through this association.
These two changes had an immediate impact in the size of the Classic’s purse. In only nine years, the Classic’s total purse had increased 228 per cent.
Yet another significant change was the addition of a new course. PGA WEST was added to the Classic’s course rotation in 1987. The first year, the Stadium Course was the host course, with the Palmer Course being utilized in later years.
Beginning in the 1980′s the depth of the tournament field was much stronger than in previous years. Reflecting this new era of competitiveness, the Classic had ten different winners in the ’80′s, the only decade in which the tournament had no repeat winner.
There were significant accomplishments in the 1980′s. Bruce Lietzke became only the second man to lead from start to finish and a score of 25 under par. The tournament mark would be tied the next two years before Lanny Wadkins and Craig Stadler established the new mark at 333 (27 under par) in 1985.
The Classic did set a new standard, of sorts in the 1980′s by becoming the leader among all TOUR events for playoffs. In the eight tournaments from 1982 to 1989, six were decided in sudden death.
In the first playoff, Ed Fiori eliminated Tom Kite to take the title, while the next year, Keith Fergus survived a playoff against Rex Caldwell. In 1984, the Classic’s Silver Anniversary, John Mahaffey outlasted Jim Simons on the second hole of sudden death.
The next year, the new tradition continued in one of the Classic’s greatest confrontations. Lanny Wadkins and Craig Stadler were deadlocked at the end of reg