The PGA Tour makes its annual return to Greater Palm Springs this January and is swinging in classic fashion as the event marks its 60th anniversary.
Formerly known as the CareerBuilder Challenge, the tournament will be now played as the Desert Classic presented by Workday, a moniker serving as homage to the event's debut in 1960 when it was played as the "Palm Springs Desert Golf Classic," won by Arnold Palmer.
San Francisco-based Workday provides software for financial and human resource planning and has made deep forays into golfer sponsorship in recent years.
Set for January 16-20, 2019, the tournament will again be played across host site PGA WEST's Stadium and Jack Nicklaus Tournament Resort Courses, along with historic La Quinta Country Club.
Featuring its popular pro-am, post-round concerts and some of the game's most visible stars are all part of the tournament allure.
This year's anniversary event also marks a giving milestone for the tournament's charitable arm of Desert Classic Charities, as the decades of giving have now reached the $60 million mark of philanthropy for desert causes. To further honor the anniversary, the 2019 event will unveil a Desert Classic Charities Hall of Fame, with Bob Hope, Arnold Palmer (who'd ultimately record five career wins in the event) and Palm Springs Golf Classic founder and luminary desert developer Ernie Dunleavy as the inaugural inductees.
Tee it Up
Across the rota of courses, the world's best players enjoy a host of scoring opportunities across a diverse array of play.
At the event's host site, what the playing public can enjoy outside of event week, the PGA Tour takes aim as a birdie fest.
Renowned as one of the west coast's most challenging courses for amateurs, the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course statistically plays as the toughest task for Desert Classic participants. With its continual mounding, host of water features and famed stretch of closing holes, the Stadium aptly serves as the site for the tournament's final day of play.
The neighboring "Nick Tournament" generally proves a highly-getable track for PGA Tour players, through a series of elevated greens and taut greenside bunkering can keep the wayward honest.
At La Quinta Country Club, the classic course with premier greens will serve as part of the event's rotation for the 54th time. While counted among the shortest courses the PGA Tour visits across its calendar, players need be precise to continually keep the ball in play, and spectators should take note on how event leaders manage club selection from tee boxes.
Song and Swing
The 2018 Desert Classic introduced management firm Lagardere Sports to the event, and the well-regarded company scored an instant eagle with spectators.
Known for its experiential approach to running events, Lagardere enhanced the tournament's entertainment scope with more food and beverage options, prime perch seating for all attendees and post-round concerts which saw Huey Lewis draw 10,000 fans across the PGA WEST driving range following the tournament's second day of play.
For its sophomore salvo with the event, Lagardere announced that Sammy Hagar & The Circle will perform a concert after tournament play on Friday, January 18, 2019, and Paul Rodgers with Bad Company will follow with a concert on Saturday, January 19.
Concert start times are approximated for 5:00 p.m. and attendance comes at no extra charge with a purchase of a $30 general admission daily ticket. Kids 15-and-under are admitted free to the tourney and concert grounds with a paying adult.
The 2018 tournament enjoyed a starring turn when Jon Rahm of Spain outlasted Andrew Landry in a four-hole playoff to capture the Desert Classic, in what was Rahm's second career PGA our win.
The victory vaulted the now 24-year-old Rahm to the No. 2 ranking in the world and set the stage for a season which ultimately saw the rising star author five top-10 finishes and proves a key cog in Europe's Ryder Cup win.
Now the world's sixth-ranked player, Rahm returns to the Desert Classic to defend his title and will be joined the field by two-time tournament winner and event ambassador, Phil Mickleson.
Other early player commits include Former Masters' champion Charl Schwartzel, former U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell and SoCal amateur legend/PGA Tour winner Patrick Cantlay (now the 18th ranked player in the world).
Based on an '18 tournament turnout which enjoyed a fourfold rise in attendance from the year previous, the event's prime viewing spots on the Stadium Course are seeing a subsequent enhancement in spectator space for '19.
Also included in the price of a daily ticket is access to the Michelob Ultra Beers fore Birdies tent, located between the Stadium's 16th green and 17th tee, the Casamigos Tequila Club on the famed, par-3 17th island green known as "Alcatraz," and viewing on the course's home hole at the Albertsons VONS Fan Pavilion, situated on the 18th green.
Also located on the final hole will be the Military Outpost, which provides complimentary food and beverage for all retired veterans, reserve, first responders and active duty military personnel.
For more event information, player field updates, parking and tickets, tee it up at Desert Classic Golf Tournament Presented by Workday.