Top amateur players in the Humana Challenge will be able to play in the golf tournament's final round for the first time next year, it was announced today.
Under the new format, three amateurs with the lowest net score and three amateurs with the lowest gross score after the first three rounds will advance to Sunday's final round, where they will each play with two professionals, starting off the 10th tee.
They will not benefit from the pro's score, but will engage in individual stroke play from the amateur tees, according to tournament officials.
"The opportunity to `make the cut' for those players who have performed the best in the amateur competition will significantly enhance the experience," said Humana Challenge Executive Director and CEO Bob Marra.
Until 2012, amateurs played the first four rounds of the then-five-round tournament. Last year and this year, amateurs played the first three rounds of what is now a four-round tournament.
"The new format will not only reward the top six amateur players over 54 holes, but also bring an atmosphere of pressure mixed with excitement that is only felt on a final-round Sunday," a tournament statement says.
Additionally, the 2014 Humana Challenge will introduce the Club Team Challenge Pro-Am, which features three amateur members of the same club, a PGA Tour professional and a PGA Club pro. It is scheduled for Jan. 13 on the Jack Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West in La Quinta.
The Humana Challenge, scheduled for Jan. 13-19, will celebrate its 55th anniversary next year.
Humana, a health insurance provider based in Kentucky, sponsors the tournament -- which was called the Bob Hope Classic from 1965 to 2011 -- with the Clinton Foundation.
The tournament raises money for Coachella Valley charities, primarily the Eisenhower Medical Center, and is held at PGA West's Palmer and Nicklaus private courses and La Quinta Country Club. The field includes PGA Tour professionals and amateurs.
Tickets, Pro-Am positions and hospitality packages are on sale at www.humanachallenge.com or by calling (760) 346-8184.