Preview: PGA Tour’s CareerBuilder Challenge in So Cal

Preview – PGA Tour – CareerBuilder Challenge – PGA West TPC Stadium Course (host) – La Quinta, CA

With a new corporate sponsor for the PGA Tour’s annual trip to Southern California’s Palm Springs Valley, the CareerBuilder Challenge serves as the first mainland event of the calendar year.

La Quinta hosts the event presented with the Clinton Foundation. PGA West TPC Stadium Course, designed by Pete Dye, is the host course for the Sunday finale sharing time with La Quinta Country Club and PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course during the first three days.

Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson and defending champion Bill Haas are the headliners PGA TOURalong with Phil Mickelson – a champion at this event in 2002 and 2004. Lefty makes his 2016 debut this week. He is searching for his first PGA Tour victory in more than two seasons.

A number of America’s youngest up-and-coming stars are competing including Zac Blair, Tony Finau and Kevin Chappell.

Several international-born players are in the field including England’s Luke Donald, India’s Anibarn Lahiri and Italy’s Francisco Molinari. Lahiri contended at the PGA

Phil Mickelson current official PGA TOUR headshot (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR) *** Local Caption *** Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson  PGA TOUR headshot
(Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR) *** Local Caption *** Phil Mickelson

Championship last year and competed in the Presidents Cup last fall. For Molinari, this is his second season as a full member of the PGA Tour.

Golf Channel has the television coverage all week.

Results from 2015:

  • Haas recorded his 6th career PGA Tour title finishing 22-under as an 28-to-1 betting pick. Coming into the event ranked 41st in the world, Haas edged Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffamn, Sung Joon Park, Brendan Steele and Steve Wheatcroft by a shot. Kuchar was the 36-hole leader but slipped up late Saturday. Webb Simpson posted a final-round 64 and threatened to win for a stretch.

Fantasy Update: Take Kuchar in this spot. His game has been up-and-down, but he generally fares well here. He was T-2 last year and a runner-up here in 2010. Play defending champion Haas again with his history in the desert. He won here in 2010 and was runner-up in 2011. Reed has three worldwide runner-ups in his last eight starts. Plus, he was won this event in 2014.

Betting Update: Patrick Reed (7-to-1 at Station Casinos in Las Vegas) is the betting favorite as the top-ranked player in the field at No. 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Consider Haas, who is always worth a pick here. His odds (20-1) have dropped compared to last year’s 28-1. Take a flier on Webb Simpson at 30-1. For an international pick, wager on Molinari (40-1). Zach Johnson (16-1) is in great form after a solid Aloha Swing in Hawaii. Zach was T-3 here to Reed in 2013.

Other Golf news:

  • europeantourlogo15The European Tour hosts the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship this week in the United Arab Emirates. Rory McIlroy is slated to start his 2016 calendar year as the favorite. He has four runner-ups at the event. Martin Kaymer, a three time winner at Abu Dhabi, is also competing.
  • The Champions Tour debuts its 2016 season this week in Hawaii at the Champions TourMitsubishi Electric Championship.
  • Vijay Singh opened with a 63 last week in Hawaii at the Sony Open. The 52-year-old faded as the tournament rolled through the weekend. The World Golf Hall of Fame member is third on the career PGA Tour money list at more than $69 million. He sits behind Tiger Woods ($110 million) and Mickelson ($77 million).
  • The best players in women’s golf tee off the 2016 season next week in the LPGAtour logoNEWBahamas at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic on Paradise Island. Sei Young Kim is the defending champion.