The CareerBuilder Challenge is back, and the desert's yearly PGA Tour stop returns this high-season with some serious swing thoughts.
Working with an outside management firm for the first time in its storied history, the tournament hired Lagardere Sports and Entertainment to run the event.
Owning an impressive, global track record of athlete representation and event management, Lagardere comes to the valley with an updated blueprint aimed at making the tournament's 59th annual playing its most buoyant in years.
Ready to see the world's best tee it up? Here's what you need to know for the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge.
Where: La Quinta, Calif.
When: Monday, January 17 – Sunday, January 21, 2018
The Purse: $5.9 million (Winner's share: $1,062,000)
Charitable Arm: Desert Classic Charities has contributed nearly $60 million for area causes since tournament's inception in 1960; this year's aim is to raise dollars for children's charities across the Coachella Valley.
Working with a highly-successful model of making a golf tournament about more than just birdies and bogeys, Lagardere recognizes that a great, modern day event is about bringing a party to the course.
Those seeking a fine time at the Stadium Course home hole should find a perch at the new Vons Family Pavilion, located behind the 18th green. Open to all fans, the 8,000 square-foot indoor/outdoor (climate-controlled) space will be rocking all week with food from local purveyors and a featured list of beer, wine and cocktails. Worried about missing the weekend's NFL playoff action? Don’t sweat it – the pavilion will sport a host of televisions for pigskin fans as well.
On the hole previous, attendees should check out the Casamigos Club on the Stadium's par-3 17th hole, aptly-named Alcatraz for the locked-in island green. Grab a prime spot to watch tour pros take on the most famed (and feared) public access hole in the entire Coachella Valley.
Did we mention this golf tournament is a party?
Well, when the golf stops, the music starts. On both Friday, January 19 and Saturday, January 20 during tournament week, the driving range at PGA WEST's Stadium Course will become a concert venue.
Open to all ticketholders at no additional cost, the Friday show features Huey Lewis and The News and the Saturday concert brings in the Goo Goo Dolls.
Both shows will start at the conclusion of each day's play at approximately 4:30 p.m.
For Hudson Swafford to become the tournament's first back-to-back champion since Johnny Miller (1975-76), the defending champ will have his hands full.
Bringing in a meaty field of talent for '18, Lagardere has fast evidenced its influence isn't limited to just concert booking. In fact, most experts believe this to be the tournament's strongest field in years.
World Hall of Famer and two-time event champion Phil Mickelson returns to the desert as Tournament Ambassador for the second consecutive year while, on-course, Lefty will aim to best his T-21 finish from last year.
In addition (or perhaps, moreover), the playing field will see a major burst in mojo with the CareerBuilder debut of Spain's Jon Rahm. Ranked No. 5 in the world, Rahm is in just his second full season on tour, and coming off a '17 season which saw the 23-year-old rising star capture victory at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego before ultimately authoring 11 top-10 finishes in 23 starts.
Also on the watch list for the 2018 CareerBuilder field: John Daly, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Dufner, Bill Haas, Adam Hadwin, Beau Hossler, Maverick McNealy, Sam Saunders, Brandt Snedeker, Jhonattan Vegas and Aaron Wise.
For volunteering opportunities, tickets, event info and updates on the player field, visit www.careerbuilderchallenge.com.