Wednesday, January 16, 2019

What To Look For: 2019 Desert Classic

This week the Tour heads out to Palm Springs for the Desert Classic.

As many of you know, The Desert Classic was originally the Bob Hope Classic starting back in 1960. It used to be a 5-round event at one point, but it is now a 4-round event with two rounds at the PGA West Stadium course, and 1 round at the PGA West Tournament Course and another round at La Quinta Country club.

With plenty of courses in the area, the tournament has been held at numerous different courses over the years.


***Click to Enlarge table below***

The tournament is still a pro-am event. With Bob Hope it did not quite attract the celebrities that the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am did, but it did a good job and from what I was told a few years ago, it was far more preferable of a Pro-Am for the amateur to play in because the weather was better, the courses were easier and they were only a couple of hours from Hollywood.

Now the tournament appears to be on its last legs as it does not have a major sponsor. I think this is the event that Steph Curry should consider sponsoring. While he is located in Northern California playing for the Golden State Warriors, it is too big of a historical event to let go of on Tour. The only issue would be the timing of the tournament during basketball season.

Anyway…this is the lowest scoring event on Tour. The reason being is that the driving is fairly easy out there and it has the easiest approach shots on Tour. No tournament has players hitting it closer to the hole from 150+ yards than they do in Palm Springs. And that is what will mostly decide this event, approach shots and who gets hot with the putter.

The 18th hole is the last Critical Hole at the Stadium Course.

Statistically the 18th is the most difficult driving hole on the Stadium Course because of the water left and the bunkers right. However, it is one of the easier approach shots on the stadium course and the green is right at the average in terms of putting difficulty. Thus, a mediocre drive can lead to bogey. A poor drive can lead to double bogey. And a good drive can lead to birdie. I think it’s a very well designed hole by Pete Dye, allowing form to follow function.

Projected Winning Score: -27


John Rahm +650
Justin Rose +900
Patrick Cantlay +1,600
Aaron Wise +2,800
Abraham Ancer +3,300


Chez Reavie +4,000
Beau Hossler +5,500
Peter Uihlein +5,500
Corey Conners +5,500
George Cunningham +20,000


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