This Week in Golf -- Jan. 16-19

Philadelphia, PA ( - PGA TOUR - HUMANA CHALLENGE, PGA West (Palmer & Nicklaus Courses) and La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, California - The PGA Tour returns to the mainland this week for the first of six events on the west coast.

The six events will have four in California and two in Arizona. First up is the Humana Challenge in La Quinta.

The event is spread over three courses - the Nicklaus and Palmer Courses at PGA West and La Quinta Country Club - as professionals are paired with amateur partners for the first three rounds.

Last year, Brian Gay birdied the second playoff hole to defeat Charles Howell III and David Lingmerth to win for the fourth time on the PGA Tour. Gay posted a 9-under 63 in the final round, while Lingmerth carded a 64 and Howell fired a 62.

Howell's 62 was the third of the final round, and the fourth of the week.

Scott Stallings entered the final round last year with a 5-shot lead, but managed a 2-under 70, which left him tied for fourth, one stroke out of the playoff.

Gay will face a field that includes only five of the top 30 players in the world rankings. Tournament of Champions winner Zach Johnson and Brandt Snedeker, the 2012 FedExCup champ, headline that group.

Birdies are a must this week as the last two winners posted 24- and 25-under par through four rounds. In the 25 years before that, when the event was played over 90 holes, 22 of the 25 winners posted 20-under or lower.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of David Duval's final-round 59 on the Palmer Course at PGA West. He was just the third player to shoot 59 in PGA Tour history. Three more players have done so since.

Golf Channel has coverage of all four rounds this week.

The PGA Tour shifts to La Jolla next week for the Farmers Insurance Open, where Tiger Woods won the title for a seventh time last year. Snedeker, the 2012 winner, shared second place, four strokes behind Woods.


ABU DHABI HSBC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - The European Tour starts it's desert swing this week with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Jamie Donaldson fended off Justin Rose and Thorbjorn Olesen for a 1-stroke win last year. The victory was Donaldson's second on the European Tour.

The win moved Donaldson inside the top 30 in the world rankings, and he remains there as he is ranked 25th this week.

Donaldson will not have to face Rose this week. Rose, who had at least a piece of the lead after each of the first three rounds last year, is battling shoulder tendinitis and is out of action for about a month.

Though Rose is skipping the event, there is a strong field on hand as Henrik Stenson, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia are all teeing it up this week. They are four of the top-10 players in the world.

Stenson won the FedExCup and the Race to Dubai last year, while Mickelson won his first British Open crown. McIlroy is a two-time runner-up at this event and Garcia took third at this event in 2006, the first season of the tournament.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds this week.

The European Tour shifts to Qatar next week for the Qatar Masters, where Chris Wood held off Garcia and George Coetzee last year.


MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CHAMPIONSHIP AT HUALALAI, Hualalai Golf Club, Kaupulehu- Kona, Hawaii - The Champions Tour kicks off its season this week in Hawaii with the Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Last year, John Cook birdied the second extra hole to defeat second-round leader David Frost. Cook closed with a 67 to join Frost at minus-17. The victory was Cook's second at this event and ninth on the Champions Tour.

The season opener has half the field as a normal event does with only 41 players teeing it up this week. The field includes winners from the past two seasons, major winners from the last five years and sponsor invites.

The field has combined to win 586 events on the PGA and Champions Tours, including 81 majors, and has eight World Golf Hall of Fame members.

Golf Channel has coverage of all three rounds this week.

After a two-week break, the Champions Tour returns to action in Florida with the Allianz Championship, where Rocco Mediate cruised to a 2-stroke win thanks in part to an 11-under 61 in round two.