There are a few unique challenges faced by the players at the Bob Hope Classic. Firstly the tournament is played over 90 rather than 72 holes, secondly, they have to contend with the different questions asked by the four layouts in play and, thirdly, they have to deal with the large crowds attracted by the celebrities playing in the amateur portion of the event.
The pros rotate to play one round on each of the courses over the first four days then, on day five, the top-70 return to the Palmer Course at PGA West. It’s a tournament that’s been won by some great names over the years – Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Lanny Wadkins and Phil Mickelson have all taken the title.
Last year D.J Trahan came out on top, beating the experienced Justin Leonard by three shots.
Venue: Bermuda Dunes, SiverRock, Nicklaus Private at PGA West, Palmer Private at PGA West, Palm Springs, California
Date: January 22-25
Course stats: Bermuda Dunes – par 72, 7,017 yards; SilverRock – par 72, 7,578yards; Nicklaus at PGA West – par 72, 6,951 yards; Palmer at PGA West – par 72, 6,930 yards
Purse: $5,100,000 Winner: $918,000
Defending champion: D.J Trahan (-26)
Thursday 22 – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Friday 23 – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Saturday 24 – Live on Setanta Golf from 9pm
Sunday 25 – Live on Setanta Golf from 9pm
David Toms – A strong finish in Hawaii last week showed Toms may be returning to the form that saw him win 12 PGA Tour titles between 1997 and 2006.
Justin Leonard – Runner-up here last season, the 1997 Open Champion will be looking to go one better in 2009. He won this event back in 2005.
Betting guide: Bob Hope Classic
Key hole: 18th – Palmer West: This will be the final hole of the week. A 543 yard par 5 where there is the option of biting off part of the hole to try and reach the green in two. Whether you gamble or play safe there is sand and water in play.
Skills required: Versatility. The winner will be the man who copes best with the challenges associated with playing four different courses over five days.