Field Level Media provides news and notes from the events on each of the major North American tours this week.
LAST TOURNAMENT: Sony Open (Matt Kuchar)
THIS WEEK: Desert Classic, Jan. 17-20
La Quinta, Calif. (Stadium Course, Par 72, 7113 yards; Nicklaus Tournament Course, Par 72, 7,159 yards; La Quinta Country Club, Par 72, 7,159 yards)
Purse: $5.9 million (Winner: $1.063M and 500 FedEx Cup points)
Defending champion: Jon Rahm
FedEx Cup leader: Xander Schauffele
Television: Thursday-Sunday, 3-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
This is the first of three 156-player fields on the “West Coast Swing.” The first three rounds are a Pro-Am format and rotate on the three courses. The 54-hole cut will trim the field to the low 70 players and ties, with the final round played on the Stadium Course. … Reigning FedExCup champion Justin Rose and two-time event champion Phil Mickelson (2002, ’04) are among those making their first PGA Tour starts of 2019. … Rose is the first No. 1-ranked player to compete in the Desert Classic since the world ranking system began in 1986. … Rahm seeks to join Johnny Miller (1975-76) as the only repeat champions of the event. He beat Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff last year. … Charlie Reiter, who missed the cut as a high school senior, is in the field again on a sponsor’s exemption. He currently plays for Southern Cal. … La Quinta yielded the lowest average score (68.831) of any Par 72 on the PGA Tour last season. The Nicklaus Tournament Course was No. 2 (69.445), while the Stadium Course yield an average of 71.181.
NEXT WEEK: Farmers Insurance Open, Torrey Pines GC (South), San Diego.
THIS WEEK: Tournament of Champions, Jan. 17-20
Tranquilo Golf Course, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Par 71, 6,645)
Purse: $1.2 million (Winner: $180,000 and 500 CME Globe points); Celebrities & amateurs, $500,000 (Winner: $100,000)
Defending champion: Inaugural event
CME Globe leader: First event
Television: Thursday-Friday, 12-3 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 2-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-5 p.m. (NBC)
The inaugural event features 26 winnings on the LPGA Tour from the past two seasons competing in stroke play and 49 celebrities and amateurs competing in a Modified Stableford scoring format with no cut. The Modified Stableford scoring format awards six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, zero for bogey, minus-two for double-bogey and higher. … Stacy Lewis, 33, makes her return to competition following the birth of her daughter Chesnee. … Top-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 5 Lexi Thompson are the only top-five players in the field. … The Tour does not return to the United States until March 21-24 in Arizona.
NEXT TOURNAMENT: ISPS Handa Vic Open, Victoria, Australia (Feb. 7-10)
THIS WEEK: Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
Hualalai GC., Kona, Hawaii (Par 72, 7,107)
Purse: $1.8 million (Winner: $$300,000)
Defending champion: Jerry Kelly
Charles Schwab Cup leader: First event
Television: Friday-Sunday, 7-10 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
The season-opening event features a 42-player field. … Kenny Perry, Steve Stricker and Vijay Singh are in the field after competing in the Sony Open on the PGA Tour last week. Stricker earned $1,196,235 in seven Champions events last year and $582,566 in 12 events on the PGA Tour last season. … Bernhard Langer has won the Charles Schwab Cup four of the past five years. … Steve Flesch is entered in his first tournament since Sept. 6 back surgery. He returned to the range the first week of December. … Hale Irwin, 73, is in the field. He is the all-time leader on tour with 45 victories. Langer is second with 38. … Fred Couples has three runner-up finishes in the event but has yet to win. He made only seven starts last year due to back issues. … The winner each of the past five years has posted at least one round of 65 or better.
NEXT TOURNAMENT: Oasis Championship, Boca Raton, Fla. (Feb. 8-10)
–Field Level Media