The PGA Tour returns to the mainland this week for the Humana Challenge, which begins Thursday at PGA West. Each group will consist of two pros and two rotating amateurs. Here are a few groups to watch:
Zach Johnson and Keegan Bradley: 11:40 a.m. ET Thursday at La Quinta
Johnson stayed hot at the Sony, shooting four rounds in the 60s to post a T-8 finish. He heads now to the Humana, where he has never finished worse than 23rd in three appearances. Bradley, meanwhile, begins his year in the California desert, looking to erase a disappointing 2013 campaign. This is his first official PGA Tour start since a T-11 at the WGC-HSBC Champions; he also was 10th in Malaysia. In his only other appearance at PGA West, in 2011, he tied for seventh.
Brandt Snedeker and Rickie Fowler: 12:10 p.m. ET Thursday at La Quinta
Snedeker returned from a knee injury to post a T-11 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, his first start in two months. One of the Tour’s best putters, he has fared well at the Humana in the past, finishing in the top 25 in three of the past four years, including a T-8 in 2012. Fowler is making his first start of 2014, and it’ll be the first chance for fans to see his new action since he began working with swing coach Butch Harmon. He has just one top-10 since July, and he missed the cut in his only other appearance at the Humana (2010).
Webb Simpson and Davis Love III: 12:40 p.m. ET Thursday at PGA West’s Palmer Course
Simpson, a winner last fall in Vegas, is one of the hottest players on Tour, posting five consecutive top-seven finishes. What’s more, he is ranked in the top five in scoring average, strokes gained-putting, greens hit and scrambling. He was fifth here in 2009, though that remains his only top-10 in four tries. Love has made three cuts in four appearances in 2013-14, but he hasn’t finished better than 36th. In 2013, he battled injuries and had only one top 10 in 15 starts.
Harris English and Bill Haas: 1:10 p.m. ET Thursday at La Quinta
English’s putter went cold on the back nine at the Sony Open, costing him a shot at his third Tour title. Nonetheless, he has finished 11th or better in four of his last five starts, including a victory at Mayakoba. As for Haas, a former winner here (2010), he has four top-25s in the new wraparound season.
Gary Woodland and Billy Horschel: 1:10 p.m.. ET Thursday at PGA West’s Palmer Course
Woodland lost in a playoff at the 2011 Humana, and he’s been strong in limited action in 2013-14, losing a playoff in Malaysia and finishing T-13 at the Hyundai. Horschel tied for sixth in his only start in 2014, at the Hyundai. The Zurich Classic winner tied for 10th at last year’s Humana.