This Week in Golf -- January 19th through January 22nd

PGA TOUR - HUMANA CHALLENGE, La Quinta The PGA Tour bids aloha to Hawaii and heads to the mainland for the Humana Challenge.

This event was formerly known as The Bob Hope Classic, but the PGA Tour, Humana and the William J. Clinton Foundation entered into an eight-year agreement.

Hope's legacy remains with the tournament as the winner will be awarded the Bob Hope Memorial Trophy.

The name wasn't the only change for the 2012 championship. This event used to be five rounds, but it's been trimmed to four. La Quinta Country Club, PGA West Nicklaus Private Course and PGA West Palmer Private remained part of the rotation, but SilverRock Resort was dropped.

The format is the same, with professionals playing with amateurs. They team for three rounds, rotating among the three courses, then the 54-hole cut is made and the guys making money play on Sunday.

Since this is the first mainland America event, bigger names were bound to enter the field. Why travel all the way to Hawaii? But this year, with the Clinton Foundation and the helm and Pres. Clinton making some calls, the star power is pretty impressive.

First, Pres. Clinton called upon his buddy Greg Norman. The Hall of Famer hasn't played a PGA Tour event since the 2009 British Open Championship and only teed it up once when this was the Bob Hope Classic. That came way back in 1986.

Phil Mickelson also committed to the field. He's a two-time champion (2002, 2004) and is making his 2012 PGA Tour debut.

Also beginning his season is Dustin Johnson, who sat out the Hawaii swing after knee surgery.

Last year, an intriguing rookie stepped up for career victory No. 1.

Jhonattan Vegas parred the second playoff hole to defeat 2011 FedExCup champion and 2010 Hope winner Bill Haas and Gary Woodland. Vegas was a fourth- round co-leader with Woodland and both had three-under 69s on Sunday.

Haas was knocked out on the first playoff hole, then Vegas' par on the second extra hole was enough to get the win.

Golf Channel has the telecast.

Next week is the Farmers Insurance Open, which was won by Bubba Watson in a thrilling finish. He bested fellow left-hander Mickelson by a single stroke.


VOLVO GOLF CHAMPIONS, The Links at Fancourt, George, South Africa - This event features an exclusive field of proven winners, although the defending champion is not in South Africa.

Paul Casey won the inaugural tournament one year ago, but he is out of action thanks to a shoulder injury. He dislocated his right shoulder in a snowboarding accident in Colorado. Casey will be on the sidelines for at least two months.

Despite the absence of Casey, several stars lined up for this championship, which is reserved for European Tour players who won an event on last year's European Tour schedule.

The winners of the first two events this year are also invited but Louis Oosthuizen, the Africa Open champion, was already in the field. Branden Grace, who captured the Joburg Open, gained admittance on Sunday.

Current tour Members, under the age of 50, with more than 10 European Tour victories are also invited.

Casey won by a stroke last year over Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jimenez. At the The Royal Golf Club's Montgomerie Course in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Casey parred the last hole after Hanson made bogey. The win was the Englishman's 11th European Tour victory.

Golf Channel will carry the action.

Next week is the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the top-ranked players in the world will be there, including Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, world No. 1 Luke Donald and defending champion Martin Kaymer.


MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CHAMPIONSHIP AT HUALALAI, Hualalai Golf Course ��� Kaupulehu-Kona, Hawaii - The Champions Tour begins its 2012 campaign in the 50th state.

John Cook captured last year's season-opener thanks to an amazing back nine. He fired a six-under 30 on the second side and overcame a three-shot deficit to win by two over 2011 Player of the Year, Tom Lehman.

Cook, who recorded just one bogey over the 54-hole tournament, collected his sixth Champions Tour title and his second in a row. He became the first player on the elder circuit to win the last event of one season, then the first event of the next in almost 15 years.

The field is loaded with Champions Tour stars, including Cook and Lehman.

Golf Channel will broadcast the tournament live all three rounds.

The Champions Tour is back Feb. 10 with the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Florida. Lehman won the first of three Champions Tour titles last year and will be back to defend.