PGA Career Builder Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation Preview and Picks
The 2016 Career Builder Challenge formerly the Humana Challenge, formerly the Bob Hope Classic is on tap for this week from La Quinta, California. Three courses will be utilized. PGA WEST’s TPC Stadium Course and Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course will join holdover La Quinta Country Club for the 72-hole competition.
PGA Career Builder Challenge Golf Prediction
When: January 21 – 24, 2016
Where: PGA WEST TPC Stadium course, La Quinta, California
Total Purse: US $ 5,600,000
Defending Champion: Bill Haas
Obviously there are few stats to draw upon because of the three tracks being used – a good all-around game and current form will be on my radar. In the past the winner here has had to go low – birdies are there for the taking and essential for the eventual winner. The longest of the three tracks is the Nicklaus Tournament Course at just 7,159 yards – length off the tee won’t likely be a factor.
So with that in mind who should we be keeping our eyes on this week?
Let’s take a look.
PGA Career Builder Challenge Favorites:
Patrick Reed +850
Won this event in 2014 and arrives this year in pretty darn fine form – six straight top 10 finishes on TOUR including a solo second at Kapalua – the third time in his last four starts he’s finished third or better. Reed is on fire and is an obvious favorite this week.
Matt Kuchar +1600
Kuch is a bit tough to figure out right now isn’t he? He almost missed the cut last week but also shot a 62 on Saturday! He is certainly better than he’s playing and finished second twice on this track including last year.
Consistency is Matt’s game – he certainly isn’t on point right now. Translation – I’m staying away.
Zach Johnson +1800
Johnson has been getting used to some new equipment but looked good last week finishing T9 at Waialae. He has two top 10s in five starts in this event and as arguably the biggest name in the tournament should be a factor.
PGA Career Builder Challenge Contenders:
Bill Haas +2500
Haas has the best track history of anyone in the field –two wins including last year and a playoff loss among his results. He hasn’t exactly been at the top of his game lately but something about the La Quinta air brings the best out in him. I’m not lovin’ Haas’s current form but he has to be on the radar based on his success here.
Ryan Palmer +2800
I had Palmer as a sleeper last week but he’s sneaking up on nobody this week.
He has finished inside the top 10 in four of his last five trips to this event and enters off a respectable T13 at the Sony and a T16 to close out his 2015 season at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Palmer is an intriguing +2800 for sure this week – a breakthrough could come.
Jason Bohn +4000
Finished T2 here last year and won this event in 2007. His current form is terrific although he tees it up for the first time since November. He has a T2 at the OHL Classic in November, a T2 at the Shriners and a T3 at the Frys.com Open. If Bohn can maintain his late/2015 form, he should be in the mix.
Jason Dufner +4000
Dufner is going to break through at some point – why no this week. He has T9s in his last three starts with a win with partner Brandt Snedeker at the Franklin Templeton Shootout. My guess is that Duf is heard from this week.
PGA Career Builder Challenge Sleepers (+5000 or higher):
Matt Jones +5000
This is a guy that beat Jordan Spieth! He won the Australian Open in November against a darn good field and now arrives in career best for to a tournament he’s made the cut in all six appearances. Jones has a pair of top 15s over that span.
Graham DeLaet +5000
Is a guy that is overdue for his first win on TOUR ad played well last week in Hawaii – finishing T7 at the Sony.
Zac Blair +5500
Current form has him on my radar this week – he was terrific last week en route to a solo third at Waialae. If his putter is anywhere close to where it was last week Blair could surprise once again.
PGA Career Builder Challenge Picks:
Sometimes the best pick is the most obvious one. Patrick Reed +850 has some motivation this week – he has been so close recently and he has won this event before. Reed fancies himself among the elite – it’s put-up or shut-up time.
My sleeper is Matt Jones +5000. His win in November was no fluke – anyone who can beat Mr. Spieth is good in my books!
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