Desert Classic

  (Redirected from Bob Hope Chrysler Classic)

The Desert Classic (currently known as The American Express for sponsorship reasons; previously known as the CareerBuilder Challenge, Palm Springs Golf Classic, the Bob Hope Desert Classic, the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, and the Humana Challenge) is a professional golf tournament in southern California on the PGA Tour. Played in mid-winter in the Coachella Valley (greater Palm Springs), it is part of the tour's early season "West Coast Swing."

The American Express
The American Express logo.jpg
Tournament information
LocationLa Quinta, California &
Palm Desert, California
Established1960, 60 years ago
Course(s)PGA West Stadium Course
PGA West Course
La Quinta Country Club
Par72 (all courses)
Length7,113 yards (6,504 m)  (PS)
7,204 yards (6,587 m)  (PW)
7,060 yards (6,456 m)  (LQ)
Organized byDesert Classic Charities
Tour(s)PGA Tour
FormatStroke play
Prize fund$6.7 million
Month playedJanuary
Tournament record score
Aggregate260 Patrick Reed (2014)
324 Joe Durant (2001)
          (90 holes)
To par−28 Patrick Reed (2014)
−36 Joe Durant (2001)
          (90 holes)
Current champion
United States Andrew Landry
La Quinta is located in the United States
La Quinta
La Quinta
Location in the United States
La Quinta is located in California
La Quinta
La Quinta
Location in California

It previously had five rounds of competition (90 holes) rather than the standard of four rounds, and was known for its celebrity pro-am. For many years, the event was named for and hosted by entertainer Bob Hope and featured a number of celebrity participants.[1]

In 2012, the Desert Classic changed to a traditional 72-hole format over three different courses with a 54-hole cut, similar to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. It continues to have a large pro-am, but has slowly ceased featuring celebrity participants. The tournament is organized by the nonprofit Desert Classic Charities.


Founded in 1960 as the Palm Springs Golf Classic,[2] the tournament evolved from the Thunderbird Invitational that was held in Palm Springs the previous six years, from 1954 to 1959, but with a much smaller purse.[3] The event was renamed the Bob Hope Desert Classic in 1965 and the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in 1986.[4]

Until 2012, its format remained unique among PGA Tour events, being played over five days and four different courses. In its first three years, the tournament was played at Thunderbird Country Club and Tamarisk Country Club, both in Rancho Mirage; Bermuda Dunes Country Club in Bermuda Dunes; and Indian Wells Country Club in Indian Wells. Bermuda Dunes was used through 2009 and Indian Wells through 2005. In 1963 Eldorado Country Club, also in Indian Wells, replaced Thunderbird Country Club. From 1964 until 1968 La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, replaced Tamarisk Country Club, but in 1969 Tamarisk Country Club rejoined the event and alternated annually with Eldorado Country Club until 1986 (Tamarisk Country Club's last turn being in 1985).

An evolution towards courses more suited to modern professionals began in 1987. From 1987 until 1994, and again from 1998 to the present, a course at PGA West in La Quinta, (the TPC Stadium Golf Course in 1987 and the Arnold Palmer Private Course thereafter) became a permanent member of the roster; from 1995–97, Indian Ridge Country Club in Palm Desert replaced PGA West. To make room for a new permanent member, Eldorado Country Club and La Quinta Country Club alternated from 1987–89 (Eldorado being used in 87 and 89), after which Eldorado Country Club was dropped from the roster. From 1990–2003 Tamarisk Country Club and La Quinta Country Club followed a "1–2" alternating arrangement, where Tamarisk was played the first year and La Quinta CC the next two; this pattern was deviated from when Tamarisk was used in 2004 (a La Quinta CC year by the pattern), although the 2005, 2006 and 2007 events were then played at La Quinta CC.

In early 2005 a local charitable foundation gave its new course, The Classic Club in Palm Desert (an Arnold Palmer-designed track) to the tournament, making the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic the only event on the PGA Tour that owns its own facility. The Classic Club took the place of Indian Wells in 2006, but the course was dropped from the Hope course field after the 2008 event, citing players concerns over high winds.[5]

The 2009 course rotation consisted of the Arnold Palmer Private Course and the Nicklaus Private Course (both at PGA West in La Quinta), SilverRock Resort (in La Quinta), and the Bermuda Dunes Country Club.[5] In 2010, La Quinta CC replaced Bermuda Dunes CC. In 2012, SilverRock Resort dropped from the rotation due to the tournament shortening to 72 holes. In 2016, the main course was Pete Dye's PGA West Stadium Course, and also used PGA West’s Nicklaus Tournament course (originally designed for the 1991 Ryder Cup, the European Broadcasting Union objected because of the European domination of the tournament and a nine-hour time difference from Central European Time was inconvenient; the tournament moved east where only a six-hour time difference allowed the event to air in primetime hours), and La Quinta Country Club in the first three rounds.[6]

The tradition of choosing the tournament's "Classic Girls" from among the area's collegians began in those early years, with the earliest tournaments having a celebrity dubbed "Classic Queen." The earliest titleholders included Debbie Reynolds, Jane Powell, and Jill St. John. The queens of the 1970s included Barbara Eden and Lynda Carter.

The Classic's biggest draw, both then and now, has been the celebrity Pro-am competition which has attracted some of the era's biggest celebrities. According to the official website, those celebrities have included:

The first edition in 1960 was won by Arnold Palmer at 338 (–22),[2] a record that stood for twenty years. He had won the last Thunderbird event the previous year, which had a $15,000 purse with a winner's share of $1,500.[3] The purse in 1960 was over six times larger at $100,000, and the $12,000 first prize was Palmer's biggest check to date.[2]

Hope, who was possibly Hollywood's greatest golfer, added his name to the tournament in 1965,[1] and became its chairman of the board.

The 1970s saw stars like Frank Sinatra make their debuts. Less than three weeks out of office, Gerald Ford played his first pro-am in 1977,[7] making him the second former president to play in the tournament. More recently celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon, Don Cheadle, and Samuel L. Jackson have competed in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, before its subsequent renames.

History was made at the tournament in 1995 when the pro-am team of Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Bob Hope and defending champion Scott Hoch teed up for the tournament's opening round. The event marked the first time a sitting president – Clinton – had played during a PGA Tour event and perhaps the first time three presidents had ever played together.

Its long history has made the event synonymous with golf in the Coachella Valley. Additionally, the allure of Hope's name, even after his death, has convinced the Hope estate, tournament organizers and corporate sponsor Chrysler to include the legendary entertainer's name on the tournament for as long as a substantial portion of its proceeds are given to charities.

Before 2012, the tournament's five-round format was a "tough sell" for many players, such as Tiger Woods, who has never played there. It took place over five days, four of which include celebrity players. That meant rounds take far longer and the presence of so many spectators out to catch a glimpse of their favorite TV, film or music star, can turn even an early round into a far more informal endeavor, which many golfers did not enjoy.

Starting in 2012, the tournament was narrowed to a four-round event played on three courses with a 54-hole cut. The tournament is the first continental stop of the calendar year, but is still a hard sell because network television coverage of the PGA Tour starts the ensuing week.

The tournament was called the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic until the 2009 tournament, when George Lopez was let go as host and Chrysler dropped their name from the tournament's name, but continued to sponsor the tournament. Instead, the tournament was hosted by the only 5-time winner of the event, Arnold Palmer, for the tournament's 50th anniversary. In 2010, baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra served as the first "Classic Ambassador".[8] In 2020, The American Express will be hosted by Phil Mickelson.[9]

Professional fieldEdit

The professional field consists of 156 players selected using (slightly reordered) standard eligibility rankings except that the following are also eligible:[10][11]

  1. The Players Championship winners prior to 1996
  2. PGA Tour members who played on the most recent Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams of both sides.
  3. The American Express winners prior to 1999 and in the last ten seasons

There is no open qualifying for the tournament.

Tournament hostsEdit

Venue Years Times
PGA West Stadium Course 1987, 2016–present 6
PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course 2016–present 5
La Quinta Country Club 1964–1986, 1988, 1991–1992, 1994–1995, 1997–1998, 2000–2001, 2003, 2005–2008, 2010–present 48
PGA West Palmer Course 1988–1994, 1998–2015 25
PGA West Nicklaus Private Course 2009–2015 7
SilverRock Resort 2008–2011 4
Bermuda Dunes 1960–2007, 2009 49
Classic Club 2006–2008 3
Indian Wells Country Club 1960–2005 46
Tamarisk Country Club 1960–1963, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2004 19
Indian Ridge Country Club 1995–1997 3
Eldorado Country Club 1963–1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989 17
Thunderbird Country Club 1960–1962 3


Year Player Country Score To par Margin of
Runner(s)-up Winner's
share ($)
Purse ($)
The American Express
2020 Andrew Landry   United States 262 −26 2 strokes   Abraham Ancer 1,206,000 6,700,000
Desert Classic presented by Workday
2019 Adam Long   United States 262 −26 1 stroke   Adam Hadwin
  Phil Mickelson
1,062,000 5,900,000
CareerBuilder Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation
2018 Jon Rahm   Spain 266 −22 Playoff   Andrew Landry 1,062,000 5,900,000
2017 Hudson Swafford   United States 268 −20 1 stroke   Adam Hadwin 1,044,000 5,800,000
2016 Jason Dufner   United States 263 −25 Playoff   David Lingmerth 1,044,000 5,800,000
Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation
2015 Bill Haas (2)   United States 266 −22 1 stroke   Charley Hoffman
  Matt Kuchar
  Park Sung-joon
  Brendan Steele
  Steve Wheatcroft
1,026,000 5,700,000
2014 Patrick Reed   United States 260 −28 2 strokes   Ryan Palmer 1,026,000 5,700,000
2013 Brian Gay   United States 263 −25 Playoff   Charles Howell III
  David Lingmerth
1,008,000 5,600,000
2012 Mark Wilson   United States 264 −24 2 strokes   Robert Garrigus
  John Mallinger
  Johnson Wagner
1,008,000 5,600,000
Bob Hope Classic
2011 Jhonattan Vegas   Venezuela 333 −27 Playoff   Bill Haas
  Gary Woodland
900,000 5,000,000
2010 Bill Haas   United States 330 −30 1 stroke   Tim Clark
  Matt Kuchar
  Bubba Watson
900,000 5,000,000
2009 Pat Perez   United States 327 −33 3 strokes   John Merrick 918,000 5,100,000
Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
2008 D. J. Trahan   United States 334 −26 3 strokes   Justin Leonard 918,000 5,100,000
2007 Charley Hoffman   United States 343 −17 Playoff   John Rollins 900,000 5,000,000
2006 Chad Campbell   United States 335 −25 3 strokes   Jesper Parnevik
  Scott Verplank
900,000 5,000,000
2005 Justin Leonard   United States 332 −28 3 strokes   Tim Clark
  Joe Ogilvie
846,000 4,700,000
2004 Phil Mickelson (2)   United States 330 −30 Playoff   Skip Kendall 810,000 4,500,000
2003 Mike Weir   Canada 330 −30 2 strokes   Jay Haas 810,000 4,500,000
2002 Phil Mickelson   United States 330 −30 Playoff   David Berganio Jr. 720,000 4,000,000
2001 Joe Durant   United States 324 −36 4 strokes   Paul Stankowski 630,000 3,500,000
2000 Jesper Parnevik   Sweden 331 −27 1 stroke   Rory Sabbatini 540,000 3,000,000
1999 David Duval   United States 334 −26 1 stroke   Steve Pate 540,000 3,000,000
1998 Fred Couples   United States 332 −28 Playoff   Bruce Lietzke 414,000 2,300,000
1997 John Cook (2)   United States 327 −33 1 stroke   Mark Calcavecchia 270,000 1,500,000
1996 Mark Brooks   United States 337 −23 1 stroke   John Huston 234,000 1,300,000
1995 Kenny Perry   United States 335 −25 1 stroke   David Duval 216,000 1,200,000
1994 Scott Hoch   United States 334 −26 3 strokes   Lennie Clements
  Jim Gallagher Jr.
  Fuzzy Zoeller
198,000 1,100,000
1993 Tom Kite   United States 325 −35 6 strokes   Rick Fehr 198,000 1,100,000
1992 John Cook   United States 336 −24 Playoff   Rick Fehr
  Tom Kite
  Mark O'Meara
  Gene Sauers
198,000 1,100,000
1991 Corey Pavin (2)   United States 331 −29 Playoff   Mark O'Meara 198,000 1,100,000
1990 Peter Jacobsen   United States 339 −21 1 stroke   Scott Simpson
  Brian Tennyson
180,000 1,000,000
1989 Steve Jones   United States 343 −17 Playoff   Paul Azinger
  Sandy Lyle
180,000 1,000,000
1988 Jay Haas   United States 338 −22 2 strokes   David Edwards 180,000 1,000,000
1987 Corey Pavin   United States 341 −19 1 stroke   Bernhard Langer 162,000 900,000
1986 Donnie Hammond   United States 335 −25 Playoff   John Cook 108,000 650,000
Bob Hope Classic
1985 Lanny Wadkins   United States 333 −27 Playoff   Craig Stadler 90,000 555,000
1984 John Mahaffey (2)   United States 340 −20 Playoff   Jim Simons 72,000 433,000
Bob Hope Desert Classic
1983 Keith Fergus   United States 335 −25 Playoff   Rex Caldwell 67,500 408,000
1982 Ed Fiori   United States 335 −25 Playoff   Tom Kite 50,000 304,500
1981 Bruce Lietzke   United States 335 −25 2 strokes   Jerry Pate 50,000 304,500
1980 Craig Stadler   United States 343 −17 2 strokes   Tom Purtzer
  Mike Sullivan
50,000 304,500
1979 John Mahaffey   United States 343 −17 1 stroke   Lee Trevino 50,000 300,000
1978 Bill Rogers   United States 339 −21 2 strokes   Jerry McGee 45,000 225,000
1977 Rik Massengale   United States 337 −23 6 strokes   Bruce Lietzke 40,000 200,000
1976 Johnny Miller (2)   United States 344 −16 3 strokes   Rik Massengale 36,000 180,000
1975 Johnny Miller   United States 339 −21 3 strokes   Bob Murphy 32,000 160,000
1974 Hubert Green   United States 341 −19 2 strokes   Bert Yancey 32,048 160,000
1973 Arnold Palmer (5)   United States 343 −17 2 strokes   Johnny Miller
  Jack Nicklaus
32,000 160,000
1972 Bob Rosburg   United States 344 −16 1 stroke   Lanny Wadkins 29,000 145,000
1971 Arnold Palmer (4)   United States 342 −18 Playoff   Raymond Floyd 28,000 140,000
1970 Bruce Devlin   Australia 339 −21 4 strokes   Larry Ziegler 25,000 125,000
1969 Billy Casper (2)   United States 345 −15 3 strokes   Dave Hill 20,000 100,000
1968 Arnold Palmer (3)   United States 348 −12 Playoff   Deane Beman 20,000 100,000
1967 Tom Nieporte   United States 349 −11 1 stroke   Doug Sanders 17,600 88,000
1966 Doug Sanders   United States 349 −11 Playoff   Arnold Palmer 15,000 80,000
1965 Billy Casper   United States 348 −12 1 stroke   Tommy Aaron
  Arnold Palmer
15,000 80,000
Palm Springs Golf Classic
1964 Tommy Jacobs   United States 353 −7 Playoff   Jimmy Demaret 7,500 50,000
1963 Jack Nicklaus   United States 345 −13 Playoff   Gary Player 9,000 50,000
1962 Arnold Palmer (2)   United States 342 −17 3 strokes   Jay Hebert
  Gene Littler
5,300 35,000
1961 Billy Maxwell   United States 345 −14 2 strokes   Doug Sanders 5,300 52,000
Palm Springs Desert Golf Classic
1960 Arnold Palmer   United States 338 −20 3 strokes   Fred Hawkins 12,000 70,000

Note: Green highlight indicates scoring records.

Multiple winnersEdit

Eight men have won this tournament more than once through 2019.

Tournament highlightsEdit

  • 1960: Arnold Palmer wins the inaugural version of the tournament by three shots over Fred Hawkins.[2][13] Joe Campbell earned $50,000 in unofficial money for scoring a hole-in-one on the fifth hole of the Tamarisk Country Club.[14]
  • 1963: Jack Nicklaus defeats Gary Player 65 to 73 in an 18-hole playoff for the tournament title.[15]
  • 1964: 53-year-old Jimmy Demaret who rarely played competitive golf any more finishes regulation play tied for first with Tommy Jacobs but loses on the second hole of sudden death.[16]
  • 1967: Club professional Tom Nieporte birdies the 90th hole to beat Doug Sanders by one shot.[17]
  • 1972: Bob Rosburg wins for the first time since the 1961 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am. He beats Lanny Wadkins by one shot.[18]
  • 1973: Arnold Palmer wins the tournament for a fifth time by two shots over Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller.[19] It is Palmer's final PGA Tour triumph.
  • 1976: Johnny Miller shoots a final round 63 to successfully defend his Bob Hope title. He wins by 3 shots over Rik Massengale.[20]
  • 1980: Craig Stadler wins for the first-time on the PGA Tour. He beats Tom Purtzer and Mike Sullivan by 2 shots.[21]
  • 1982: Ed Fiori, expecting to become a first-time father any day, rolls in a 35-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a sudden death playoff to defeat Tom Kite.[22]
  • 1985: Lanny Wadkins plays the last five holes of regulation in five under par to tie Craig Stadler, then goes on to beat him on the fifth hole of a sudden death playoff.[23]
  • 1989: Steve Jones becomes the first golfer since Gil Morgan in 1983 to sweep the first two events of the PGA Tour Schedule. He defeats Paul Azinger and Sandy Lyle on the first hole of a sudden death playoff.[24]
  • 1990: Peter Jacobsen birdies the 90th hole to win the Hope by one shot[25] over Brian Tennyson and Scott Simpson after NBC golf announcer Johnny Miller talked about how easy it would have been for Jacobsen to choke his second shot to the par-5 finishing hole.[26]
  • 1991: Corey Pavin holes a 35-foot wedge shot on the first hole of sudden death to defeat Mark O'Meara.[27]
  • 1992: John Cook holes a chip shot from 100-feet to defeat Gene Sauers in sudden death. The playoff, originally composed of five players, also involved Tom Kite, Mark O'Meara, and Rick Fehr.[28]
  • 1993: Tom Kite, who had twice previously lost the tournament in playoffs, shoots 325, a PGA Tour record for 90 holes at the time. He beats Rick Fehr by 6 shots.[29]
  • 1999: David Duval shoots a final round 59 to beat Steve Pate by one shot.[30]
  • 2001 Joe Durant shoots a record score for a 90-hole PGA tournament with a 36-under-par score of 324 (65-61-67-66-65).[31]
  • 2003: Mike Weir birdies the final three holes to win by two shots over Jay Haas.[32]
  • 2009: Pat Perez shoots 124 to set a new PGA Tour record for the first 36 holes of a tournament.[33] He goes on to win the Hope by three shots over John Merrick.[34]
  • 2011: In just his fifth PGA Tour start and second as a Tour member, Jhonattan Vegas became the first Venezuelan to win on the PGA Tour. It was also the last year the tournament was a five-round event.
  • 2014: Patrick Reed shot 63s in his first three rounds, a PGA Tour record 27-under-par for 54 holes.
  • 2017: Adam Hadwin shot a 59 in the third round. He is the first Canadian on the PGA Tour to accomplish this and only the third player to shoot 59 on a par-72 course.


Timeline of courses usedEdit

  Used in the pre-cut rota and the final round
  Used only in the pre-cut rota
  Used only in the final round

Television broadcast and cable historyEdit

From the mid-1960s through 1998, NBC broadcast the fourth and fifth rounds of the tournament. ABC took over the coverage in 1999 through 2006, with CBS covering the tournament in 2003 due to ABC's involvement with Super Bowl XXXVII.

On the cable side, the first three rounds were covered by ESPN through 2002. From 2003–06, USA Network covered the early action.

Beginning in 2007, the tournament lost its network coverage and the Golf Channel showed all five rounds on cable television. Even with the move to four rounds and the reduction in celebrity involvement, the tournament is still exclusive to cable, as it is usually the last full-field stop restricted to cable-only coverage, as network television coverage of the PGA Tour currently does not begin until the week after the NFL's Conference Championship Games, which is the week before the Super Bowl.

Coverage styleEdit

Prior to 2007, USA and ESPN/ABC consistently covered all four courses used for the event, with the primary camera crew covering PGA West, but live coverage still emanating from the other courses. However, when Golf Channel took over coverage, the network only assigned live coverage to PGA West (both the Palmer and Nicklaus courses). All other courses used did not receive live coverage at all, with an hourly highlights package sent in and played, but none of it live. This has been the approach consistently taken by Golf Channel in regards to tournaments with multiple courses, including the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Walt Disney World Golf Classic.


  1. ^ a b "Casper wins by stroke". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. February 8, 1965. p. 3B.
  2. ^ a b c d "Palmer wins title". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. February 8, 1960. p. 3B.
  3. ^ a b "Palmer victor in Thunderbird". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 26, 1959. p. 2B.
  4. ^ "The Quiet End of Celebrity-Named Tour Events". Armchair Golf Blog. July 5, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Classic club out of Bob Hope Chrysler Classic – The Desert Sun, 1 August 2008
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Leaders playing away from Ford". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). UPI. February 10, 1977. p. 4B.
  8. ^ Berra an 'ambassador' at Hope Classic
  9. ^ Harig, Bob (November 26, 2019). "Phil Mickelson wants return to glory days for La Quinta event". ESPN.
  10. ^ "2015-2016 PGA Tour Eligibility Ranking". Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "2015–16 PGA Tour Player Handbook & Tournament Regulations" (PDF). October 5, 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 12, 2016.
  12. ^ Bob Hope Chrysler Classic – Tournament winners
  13. ^ Palmer Wins Palm Springs Golf Classic
  14. ^ Campbell Collects 50,000 For Ace In Desert Classic
  15. ^ Nicklaus Routs Player; Wins Palm Springs Open
  16. ^ Springs Golf Goes To Jacobs
  17. ^ Tom Nieporte Wins Hope Golf Classic
  18. ^ Rosburg Wins Bob Hope Classic
  19. ^ Palmer ends drought with rain-soaked win
  20. ^ No Hope for the rest- overdue Miller has 63
  21. ^ Stadler stays cool; cops Classic golf win
  22. ^ Ed Fiori wins Bob Hope title in sudden death
  23. ^ Wadkins rallies to win Hope golf
  24. ^ Jones Grabs Second Straight In Bob Hope Chrysler Win
  25. ^ Jacobsen ends slump, wins Bob Hope Classic
  26. ^ Miller to continue controversial style
  27. ^ Pavin wins Hope Classic
  28. ^ Cook's chip-in eagle wins Bob Hope Classic
  29. ^ Kite fires 35 under to win Hope Classic
  30. ^ Duval has record-tying 59 en route to Bob Hope victory
  31. ^ a b Kelley, Brent. "PGA Tour Scoring Record: Lowest 90-Hole Stroke Total". Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  32. ^ Weir bags Bob Hope win
  33. ^ Hot Perez 20 under through two rounds
  34. ^ Perez captures his first title

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 33°38′35″N 116°16′05″W / 33.643°N 116.268°W / 33.643; -116.268