With its October start date, the 2014 PGA Tour season is already well underway, but there arguably has been no more entertaining event thus far than this week's Humana Challenge.
Originally called the Bob Hope Classic, the event is typically littered with elite players looking to get into an early-season groove. The Tiger Woodses, Rory McIlroys and Phil Mickelsons of the world typically decline their opportunity to appear—Woods never has—but those who make the trip to the California courses usually come away glad they did.
This is the third year of the new format of the Humana Challenge, which changed its name starting in 2012 to represent a format switch. The event used to be held over five days and include celebrities, whacking the ball in between takes on films and time in the recording booth. Hope, an avid golfer, was the face of the loose atmosphere and low scores.
Well, suffice it to say plenty has changed. The Humana Challenge Pro-Am is still there and draws some fanfare, but the structural change has led to a more traditional golf tournament. The event is now held over four days instead of five, and the decision to space everything out over three courses has created an interesting dynamic.
One thing that hasn't changed is the low scores. Each of the last six tournaments has been won by a player shooting 20 under or better, and only once since 1960 has someone been in the single digits. In fact, Charley Hoffman's 17-under victory in 2007 is the only time since 1990 someone has won the event without hitting the red 20s.
If you want to feel good about your swing, the Humana Challenge is the place to be. Of course, carding an over-par score while leaders are dipping into the low-60s can kill a man's momentum just as fast. You know, either way.
Brian Gay is the event's defending champion and will be in the field this week. In fact, every winner dating back to 2005 will be in the field. The man who broke the streak? Mickelson, who is one of only seven multi-time victors in the event. Arnold Palmer holds the record with five, and no one else has more than two.
With that in mind, let's check in on the action and see how everything shook out.