Golf News for Wednesday, October 31, 2012 | People

Bob Marra appointed executive director, CEO of Humana Challenge

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Humana Challenge President and Chairman of the Board John Foster announced that long-time Coachella Valley business executive Bob Marra has been appointed executive director and CEO of the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. Marra replaces Larry Thiel, who served as the PGA TOUR event's tournament chairman since 2010. Thiel will continue with the tournament in an of-counsel capacity, Foster said.

Marra was elected to the tournament's board of directors last May and has been working with Thiel on the transition. One of the nation's foremost golf tournament executives with more than three decades in the industry, Thiel will be retiring and spending more time at his family home in Colorado.

"It's been a joy and a privilege to work with the outstanding team of sponsors, players, tournament staff and volunteers at the Humana Challenge," Thiel said. "I'm excited about the giant strides the tournament has taken in the last two years and I know the future is extremely bright and in good hands with Bob."

Marra was CEO of Marra Enterprises, which owns and operates Wheeler's Market Intelligence (a research and market intelligence company that analyzes economic trends for developers, cities and other businesses). He also publishes The Public Record newspaper, which chronicles the desert's business and public affairs news. He has been directly involved in the golf industry as a partner in the publishing and marketing of World Golf Hall of Famer Billy Casper's autobiography, The Big Three and Me, which has sold nearly 20,000 copies and was recently nominated for the USGA's Herbert Warren Wind Award for its outstanding contribution to golf literature.

His diverse volunteer background includes activity for a wide range of local organizations. He is currently a board member of the Health Assessment Resource Center (HARC) and the La Quinta Arts Foundation. He has served as a founding board member and past Chairman of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and as a board member of Leadership Coachella Valley, the American Advertising Federation-Desert Cities Chapter, the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, the Mizell Senior Center and the Inland Empire Lenders Community Development Corporation. He was also the founder and past president of the Coachella Valley Entrepreners' Forum.

"I look forward to working with the Desert Classic Charities Board, Humana, the Clinton Foundation, the PGA TOUR and our staff to continue building substantially upon the success of the Humana Challenge," Marra said. "The positive economic and social impacts of the tournament have been enormous for our desert communities and these benefits will grow even stronger in the years ahead because of the unique partnership we have established."

"Larry's expertise in sponsorship procurement and in working with PGA TOUR players was very instrumental in the tournament's growth the last two years," Foster said. "We are confident Bob is uniquely equipped to carry on that work and help us maximize our potential going forward to benefit our customers and the community."

The 2013 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation is a four-round, 72-hole tournament to be played at PGA WEST's Palmer and Nicklaus Private Courses and La Quinta Country Club from Jan. 14-20. The golf event features an expanded field of 156 PGA TOUR professionals and 156 amateurs, including celebrities.

The Humana Challenge, which continues to honor and celebrate the legacy of Bob Hope, was named 2012 Sports Event of the Year by Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily.

Tickets for the 2013 Humana Challenge, beginning as low as $30, will be available beginning Nov. 1 in a convenient, user-friendly manner through the PGA TOUR golf tournament's newly redesigned website,

Tickets can also be ordered by calling 1-888-672-4673. Leading up to the tournament, the Humana Challenge will host online contests for ticket giveaways and other Humana Challenge prizes for those who become Humana Challenge fans on Facebook at and follow the Humana Challenge on Twitter at

Mark Wilson is defending champion of the Humana Challenge. The first three rounds of the four-day tournament will be played in a pro-am format, with the pro-am teams consisting of one professional and one amateur playing in groups of four. Round four will feature professionals only.

Event and volunteer information and registration information for the Jan. 14 Couples Challenge Pro-Am and Jan. 16 Bob Hope Legacy Pro-Am can be found at The website also enables fans to subscribe to the Humana Challenge's monthly eNewsletter and connect to its Facebook and Twitter pages.

During the past 53 years, the Humana Challenge has generated more than $52 million in donations to charities in the Coachella Valley, primarily the Eisenhower Medical Center.

About Humana Inc.
Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nation's largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies, with approximately 10.2 million medical members, 7.1 million specialty members, and operates more than 300 medical centers and 240 worksite medical facilities. Humana is a full-service benefits and well-being solutions company, offering a wide array of health, pharmacy and supplemental benefit plans for employer groups, government programs and individuals, as well as primary and workplace care through its medical centers and worksite medical facilities. Over its 50-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader in consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience

throughout its diversified customer portfolio. More information regarding Humana is available at

About the William J. Clinton Foundation
Building on a lifetime of public service, President Bill Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission to alleviate poverty, improve global health, strengthen economies, and protect the environment, by fostering partnerships among governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and private citizens — leveraging their expertise, resources, and passions — to turn good intentions into measurable results.

To accomplish its goals, the Clinton Foundation has established separate initiatives, each with a distinct mission but all reflecting President Clinton's founding vision: to implement sustainable programs that improve access worldwide to investment, opportunity, and lifesaving services now and for future generations. Working in diverse geographic regions and responding to local needs, the initiatives address targeted challenges in the Foundation's key areas of focus: economic empowerment, education, environment and energy, health systems, and nutrition.

The Clinton Global Initiative brings together a community of leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing issues. Through strategic organization and investment, the Clinton Foundation strives to change global systems, entire communities, and the way business is done in both developed and developing countries - while emphasizing solutions that make meaningful and positive changes in individual lives. For more information, visit

Since its inception, Desert Classic Charities, the charitable entity that organizes the Humana Challenge, has contributed more than $52 million to the Eisenhower Medical Center and surrounding Coachella Valley nonprofit organizations. Its scope of giving is broad and includes structured and mentoring programs for children, social services, and food and safe shelter for the less fortunate. Desert Classic Charities is dedicated to continuing its mission to serve human needs in the Coachella Valley and beyond by generating funds and opportunities through the Humana Challenge.

The PGA TOUR is the world's premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 100 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour. The PGA TOUR's mission is to entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, generate significant charitable and economic impact in communities in which it plays, and provide financial opportunities for TOUR players.