Mickelson grouped with Horschel at Humana


Phil Mickelson is making his first start of the year at the Humana Challenge, and he'll play the first three rounds alongside the reigning FedEx Cup champ. With three courses in rotation this week and each pro paired with an amateur, groups will remain the same for the first 54 holes before professionals are re-paired for the final round on the Palmer Private course at PGA West.

Here are a few notable first-round groups to keep an eye on this week in southern California (all times ET):

11:40 a.m. (La Quinta C.C.): Phil Mickelson, Billy Horschel

Mickelson will look to end a winless drought that stretches back to the 2013 Open Championship, and he'll do so at an event that he has won twice, most recently in 2004. Horschel is coming off a torrid postseason run that netted him the FedEx Cup trophy, and he tied for 22nd at Kapalua in his first start of 2015.

11:40 a.m. (Nicklaus Private): Zach Johnson, Luke Donald

Two of the best wedge players will comprise this group, as Johnson is coming off a seventh-place finish at Kapalua and a T-64 at the Sony Open. Donald is making his first appearance in this event after teeing it up last week in Honolulu for the first time since 2005.

12:40 p.m. (Palmer Private): Webb Simpson, Chris Kirk

Simpson was a surprise contender last week in Hawaii with his regulation-length putter, and now he heads to an event where he has three top-25 finishes in five appearances. He'll be joined by Kirk, who finished second in the FedEx Cup standings last season and tied a course record in the final round in Maui two weeks ago.

1:10 p.m. (Palmer Private): Bill Haas, Brandt Snedeker

Haas recorded his first career win in the desert in 2010, then followed up with a playoff loss in 2011 and also finished T-6 a year ago. He'll be paired with Snedeker, who will hope to rely on a hot putter to help bounce back from a 2013-14 season in which he faded down the stretch.

1:10 p.m. (La Quinta C.C.): Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley

Buddies Dufner and Bradley will have plenty of conversation during their time together - and perhaps a practical joke or two. Bradley is still getting used to his new counterbalanced putter, while Dufner - who lost 20 pounds in the offseason - will look to rebound from an injury-plagued 2014 season.