Hudson Swafford defends CareerBuilder Challenge

The PGA Tour heads for La Quinta, California where Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson are on the start list

Hudson Swafford defends CareerBuilder Challenge
Hudson Swafford defends CareerBuilder Challenge
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The PGA Tour hits mainland USA this week after a fortnight in Hawaii. Hudson Swafford is defending champion in the CareerBuilder Challenge at La Quinta, California.

A strong field has assembled to contest the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge over the Stadium Course at La Quinta. Defending champion Hudson Swafford will start, together with Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson.

From 1965 until 2010 this tournament carried the name of Bob Hope as the “Bob Hope Classic.” The event has been won by some notable players, including: Arnold Palmer, Johnny Miller, Tom Kite, Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples. Mickelson is in the field again this week looking to win again for the first time since The Open Championship of 2013.

Last year Hudson Swafford fired a closing round of 67 to emerge from the pack and claim his first PGA Tour title. He finished one clear of Canadian Adam Hadwin who had posted a 59 in round three.

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Swafford returns to defend his title but will face strong competition from a field including World Number 3 Jon Rahm. The Spaniard was second in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and will start this event as favourite.

Guide to perfect posture:

The Pete Dye designed Stadium Course at PGA West is now established as host course for this event. It’s an extremely testing layout that was once dubbed as “too difficult for the PGA Tour.” There’s plenty of water to contend with together with some punishing bunkers and rolling terrain.

The weather looks favourable, if a little cool. Wind could play a part on the Friday.

Venue: Stadium Course, La Quinta, California Date: Jan 18-21 Course stats: par 72, 7,113 yards Purse: $5,900,000 Defending champion: Hudson Swafford (-20)

TV Coverage: Thursday 18 – Sky Sports Golf from 8pm Friday 19 – Sky Sports Golf from 8pm Saturday 20 – Sky Sports Golf from 8pm Sunday 21 – Sky Sports Golf from 8pm

Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the CareerBuilder Challenge?

Why not buy a Now TV pass? For £6.99 you can get a day pass, if you just wish to watch one of the rounds, or for just £10.99 you can get a week pass to see the whole tournament.

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Player Watch: Brian Harman – He’s been one of the most consistent players so far this PGA Tour season. In five starts he has four top-five finishes plus an eighth. He was tied third in this event last year.

James Hahn – He’ll be looking to bounce back from the disappointment of a playoff loss in the Sony Open. He closed with a 62 at Waialae so is clearly on his game.

Phil Mickelson – “Lefty” is seeking his first PGA Tour win since the 2013 Open and this could be the perfect place to secure it – he’s won the event twice before. He’s been off since October and will be looking to return with a bang.

Key hole: 17th – “Alcatraz.” A par-3 with an island green, yardage can vary up to 168 yards but there’s one key to success and that is: Find the green!

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?