Pro golfers tee off in first round of Humana Challenge this morning

The event starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Palmer and Nicklaus private courses at PGA West and the La Quinta Country Club

LA QUINTA, Calif. - The Humana Challenge golf tournament will tee off in La Quinta today.

The event, known for decades as the Bob Hope Classic until 2012, starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Palmer and Nicklaus private courses at PGA West and the La Quinta Country Club. It will be televised live on the Golf Channel from noon to 4 p.m. today through Sunday.

This year for the first time, people were invited to play in the amateur part of the 72-hole tournament, replacing the celebrity field. Additionally, top amateur players will be able to play in the tournament's final round on Sunday.

The tournament is also implementing the PGA Tour's new safety policy, which is posted on the Humana Challenge's website.

Pros who have committed to compete in the $5.7 million Humana Challenge include major championship winners Keegan Bradley, Mark Brooks, Stewart Cink, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson, Justin Leonard, and Mike Weir; defending Humana Challenge champion Brian Gay; two-time 2013 PGA Tour winner Brandt Snedeker; FedExCup points standings leader Jimmy Walker; and Murrieta native Rickie Fowler. Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman pulled out because of a knee injury.

``Just waking up to that clear blue sky and sunshine every day just kind of energizes you around here,'' said Gay, who overcame a six-shot deficit and won a sudden-death playoff to capture the 2013 tournament title.

Each day of the tournament will have a theme -- today is Seniors' Day, Friday is Women's Day, Saturday is Military Appreciation Day and Sunday is Kids' Day. Bob Hope Square at PGA West will host demonstrations and activities.

Active duty and reserve service members, military retirees and their dependents can sit in a special pavilion at the Palmer course, and can get into the tournament grounds for free throughout the week. The tournament is carrying on the legacy of Hope, who was famous for entertaining troops and who regularly played in the tournament. Hope, who lived in Palm Springs, died in 2003.

Humana, a health insurance provider based in Kentucky, sponsors the tournament with the Clinton Foundation. The tournament raises money for Coachella Valley charities, primarily the Eisenhower Medical Center.   

Tickets and information are available at http://www.humanachallenge.com or by calling (760) 346-8184.


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