Author: Paul Atkin
Published: 08:35 15/01/2014
The Humana Challenge was formally known as the Bob Hope Classic, and is a Pro-Am event played over three different golf courses. The courses are the PGA West Nicklaus, PGA West Palmer and La Quinta courses in the desert in California. All the courses play to around 7000 yards, and this event is one of the easiest of the year, with the course layout setup to be a birdie fest and allows the amateur golfers not to struggle too much. The last round gratefully is left only for the professionals to battle it out. The only real attributes to win here is a hot putter and a player who is brave with his approach shots. Previous winners don't really fit any pattern, with long hitters such as Bill Haas and Jhonattan Vegas winning here, and also the shorter hitters such as Mark Wilson and defending champion Brian Gay. As would be expected, the weather forecast is fine for the tournament.
The betting market is headed by Webb Simpson and Zach Johnson. It's difficult to rule out Johnson, as he usually right on the button with his approach shorts, and is a clinical putter, but he looked as if he run out of steam last week and is looked over this time. Simpson could easily go close, but the price is a little on the short side.
The player I think might do well here is Ryan Palmer. He has had a recent 6th and 4th place finishes here, and with the major weakness in his game being an errant driver nullified by the wide fairways, there is the expectation that he could be in for a good week. He was joined 8th in last week's Sony Open, and is the type of player who can get streaky with the putter.
I also think Charles Howell III, has a good chance this week, as he generally plays well at this time of the year, and in this part of the world. He was joint eighth last week in the Sony, and if he didn't have such a pedestrian first round, would of been a lot closer. He lost in a playoff last year at this event, and I think Chucky 3 sticks will make another bold attempt to win here.
He also looks as if he may be worth backing in the Top Ten market and I think 11/4 is a fair price.
Ryan Palmer 40/1 E/W 888sport
Charles Howell III 33/1 E/W (6 places) Paddy Power
Charles Howell III 11/4 Top Ten Market Stan James