Golf News for Friday, December 13, 2013 | Tournaments

Hall of Famer Greg Norman makes early commitment to Humana Challenge

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- World Golf Hall of Famer, long-time World No. 1 and two-time British Open champion Greg Norman has committed to play in the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, tournament organizers announced today.

A 20-time winner on the PGA Tour who has won 70 tournaments across the world, Norman will play in the Humana Challenge, scheduled for Jan. 13-19, for just the third time in his distinguished career.

"I played the Humana Challenge back in 2012 and I was really impressed with the new direction for the event," Norman said. "It became very obvious that President Clinton's leadership and vision was going to re-energize this tournament back to its once iconic state. I am looking forward to coming back in 2014, and I consider it an honor to play and support President Clinton, his Foundation and the Humana Challenge."

Added Bob Marra, the executive director and CEO of the Humana Challenge: "We're extremely excited to have Greg Norman back in our field. His resume as one of the greatest golfers of all time speaks for itself, and we're thrilled that we can give our fans here in the Coachella Valley a rare opportunity to see him play in person."

In addition to Norman, other major championship winners who have made early commitments to the field for the 2014 Humana Challenge include Keegan Bradley, Mark Brooks, Stewart Cink, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson, Justin Leonard, and Mike Weir.

Also among top-ranked players making early commitments to the 2014 Humana Challenge are 2010 champion Bill Haas, who captured the FedExCup title in 2011; Brandt Snedeker, who won two times on the PGA TOUR in 2013 and captured the FedExCup title in 2012, and Johnson who won the Northwestern Mutual Challenge in scintillating style last week, defeating host Tiger Woods in a playoff.

Also returning to the event for the first time in four years is one of the most popular golfers on the planet - Murrieta native Rickie Fowler. The dynamic Fowler, known for his flashy clothes and floppy mane that peeks out under his hats, is a fan favorite at every venue he visits, especially in La Quinta.

Jimmy Walker, who has sprinted out to a sizzling start in the TOUR's newly configured 2013-14 season with a victory, two top-10 finishes and a T-12 in four tournaments, will also be in the field. He currently leads the FedExCup points standings.

Between 1995 and '97, Norman spent a then-record 96 consecutive weeks atop the Official World Golf Rankings, and his 331 weeks all-time as World No. 1 are second only to Tiger Woods.

Norman secured his most memorable career wins at the British Open in 1986 and 1993 and at THE PLAYERS Championship in 1994. In 2008, at the age of 53, he made a surprise run at hoisting a third Claret Jug, taking a two-stroke lead into the final round at Royal Birkdale before tying for third. He has twice served as captain of the International Team at the Presidents' Cup.

Off the course, Norman has built a business empire that includes everything from golf course design and real estate development to clothing, wine and a host of philanthropic activities. "The Shark" continues to be immensely popular among golf fans and general sports fans alike, and is closely involved with three PGA TOUR events, including the Franklin Templeton Shootout, which he hosts each year in Naples, Fla.

In 2014, the Humana Challenge will invite a number of individuals to play in the amateur portion of the event as special guests of the tournament and its sponsors, replacing the celebrity field as it has existed in the past.

"We're pleased to be in the position to make this directional change this year based on the extreme level of success we have experienced in the sales of pro-am spots, corporate sponsorships and a huge boost in early ticket sales," Marra said. "In the near future, we will announce the names of some other special guests participating in our amateur field."

The first of those special guests to be announced is Holly Sonders, the popular personality from Golf Channel and a former college golfer at Michigan State.

"Adding Holly to our amateur field will be a great thing for the tournament, because we know how popular she is with golf fans and we know she'll connect well with our gallery as well as with the television audience watching on Golf Channel," Marra said.

The Humana Challenge is a 72-hole event and features 156 professionals playing at the Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA WEST (host course), the Jack Nicklaus Private Course at PGA WEST and La Quinta Country Club. Four-time PGA TOUR winner Brian Gay is the Humana Challenge's defending champion.

Since 1960, Desert Classic Charities, the non-profit entity that organizes the Humana Challenge, has donated more than $52 million to Eisenhower Medical Center and numerous other non-profit organizations in the Coachella Valley.

About Humana Inc.
Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is a leading health care company that offers a wide range of insurance products and health and wellness services that incorporate an integrated approach to lifelong well-being.

By leveraging the strengths of its core businesses, Humana believes it can better explore opportunities for existing and emerging adjacencies in health care that can further enhance wellness opportunities for the millions of people across the nation with whom the company has relationships.

More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company's website at www.humana.com.

About the Clinton Foundation
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change. Because of our work, 20,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity; 21,000 African farmers have improved their crops to feed 30,000 people; 248 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced in cities worldwide; more than 5,000 people have been trained in marketable job skills in Colombia; more than 6.8 million people have benefited from lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications; $100 million in strategic investments have been made, impacting the health of 25 million people in the U.S.; and members of the Clinton Global Initiative have made nearly 2,500 Commitments to Action to improve more than 430 million lives around the world.

Learn more at http://www.clintonfoundation.org, on Facebook at Facebook.com/ClintonFounation and on Twitter @ClintonFdn

About Desert Classic Charities
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.

About PGA TOUR
The PGA TOUR is the world's premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 130 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, Web.com Tour, NEC Series, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR China.

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 the communities in which it plays, and provide financial opportunities for TOUR players.

Worldwide, PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to nearly 945 million households in 225 countries and territories in 32 languages. Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations in order to maximize charitable giving. In 2012, tournaments across all Tours generated more than $130 million for local charitable organizations, bringing the TOUR's all-time total of charitable contributions to $1.86 billion.

The PGA TOUR's website is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

CONTACT:
Greg Ball
BZA Public Relations
gregb@bzapr.com
818-462-5611 office
760-271-9183 cell