Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West among Humana Challenge’s rotation,
while the Champions Tour kicks off its season today in Hawaii at Hualalai
The first two of at least 19 Tour events to be staged in 2014 on Nicklaus Design courses are being played this week. The Jack Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., will be among three courses used by the Humana Challenge on the PGA TOUR. Meanwhile, the Champions Tour marks the start of its 35th season today with the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Hualalai Golf Course in Haipulehu-Kona, HI. The Champions Tour event at Hualalai features a 41-player field, including nine members of the World Golf Hall of Fame, and is the first official event in the season-long race for the Charles Schwab Cup. The Schwab Cup culminates October 27-November 2 on the Nicklaus-designed Cochise Course at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Hualalai Golf Course in Haipulehu-Kona, HI
The Humana Challenge will air on the Golf Channel today through Sunday, from 3-7 p.m. EST. The Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai will air live on the Golf Channel today through Sunday from 7-10 p.m. EST. All times are subject to change.
The Humana Challenge boasts a full field competing for a purse of $5.7 million, with $1.026 million going to the winner. Defending champion Brian Gay, who last year closed with a 63 and sealed his fourth career victory in a playoff against David Lingermerth and Charles Howell III, returns to PGA West this week. Last year, Gay began the final round six strokes off the lead, but moved to a tie with Scott Stallings on the 11th hole. Then, all he could do was wait and see how Stallings, Lingermerth and Howell would finish. Ultimately, in an exciting finish, Gay sank a birdie putt on the second playoff hole to win the tournament, defeating Howell after Lingermerth was eliminated on the first sudden-death hole.
The Nicklaus Private is the third course at PGA West to host the Humana Challenge, and has been a part of the tournament’s history since 2009. It is a Certified Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary that plays at 6,951 yards. The Nicklaus Private has the highest rating (74.3) and slope (146) of the three Private Courses at PGA WEST.
Once ranked among the "Top 100 Courses in the World," the Nicklaus Private will take you from peaceful tranquility to stern test from the very beginning to the very end. Its elevated tees, sunken fairways, and contoured and shaped greens challenge the best of players.
Initially, Nicklaus was commissioned to design this course to host the 1991 Ryder Cup, but with international television coverage gaining prominence, the event was moved to the East Coast to Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course. The course opened for play in 1987, and in addition to hosting the Humana Challenge since 2009, the Nicklaus Private course hosted the Bob Hope Classic from 2008 to 2011; the 1995 and ’96 PGA Club Professional Championship; and the ’86, ’88, and ’89 Wilson PGA Club Professional Championship.
Celebrating its 18th year on the Big Island, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai will feature an elite field that has won a combined 586 events on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, including 81 major championships. John Cook is the defending champion.
"I’ve heard (the golf course) is great… I can’t wait," said Esteban Toledo, a two-time winner in his 2013 rookie season on the Champions Tour. "The players have told me (The Four Seasons Resort at Hualalai) is just a beautiful place and the people at Mitsubishi Electric are wonderful."
Hualalai Golf Course is a mainstay on Golfweek’s list of the top-100 Best Resort Courses. Golf Magazine named the course to its “Best Public Courses” ranking in 2012, and in 2009, the course was named to Travel + Leisure’s list of America’s Top 100 Golf Communities.