Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Major champs Jason Dufner, Steve Stricker Join Strong Field in 2016 CareerBuilder Challenge

Past champion Brian Gay gives Jan. 18-24 tournament 11 past winners; Donald, Casey, Leishman, Lahiri give it global exposure

(LA QUINTA, Calif.) – Popular major champion Jason Dufner along with Steve Stricker, join international standouts Luke Donald, Paul Casey, Marc Leishman and Anirban Lahiri as the latest commitments to the CareerBuilder Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, which welcomes many of the best players in the world to the Coachella Valley Jan 18-24.

Also committing to the event is 2013 champion Brian Gay, giving the event 11 past champions, spanning three decades to 1998 winner Mark Brooks. The past-champions total includes defending champion Bill Haas, who is one of eight multiple winners of the event.

The 2013 PGA Champion, Dufner becomes the fifth major champion to join the field, where he’ll find fellow major winners Brooks, Justin Leonard, Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink awaiting. They’ll face two new courses: the TPC Stadium and Jack Nicklaus Tournament Courses at PGA WEST, which join longtime tournament mainstay La Quinta Country Club as courses for the event, which features a $5.8 million purse. Official rounds are scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 21 through Sunday, Jan. 24.

“Jason Dufner and Steve Stricker are two players who are certain to attract a strong gallery as they are such fan favorites,” said Tournament Director Bill Tait. “Both have international experience in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups and both are capable of putting on an amazing show.

“When you look at our international players, you find a former world No. 1-ranked player in Luke Donald, a Ryder Cup standout in Paul Casey and two top-50 players in Marc Leishman and Anirban Lahiri, who both played on the last Presidents Cup team. That’s a lot of firepower and a lot of experience in pressure situations. Our fans will relish watching them take on the Stadium Course,” Tait, continued.

Dufner captured the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club outside Rochester, N.Y., the crown jewel of his three career victories. In early December, Dufner and partner Brandt Snedeker won the Franklin Templeton Shark Shootout in the unofficial money event.

The last time Stricker played this event was 2009.  It was the Bob Hope Classic and he nearly won it after going 61-62 on Friday and Saturday, before finishing T3. He has 12 career victories, spanning from 1996 to 2012, and has represented the U.S. internationally nine times, including five Presidents Cup teams and three Ryder Cup teams.

A former No. 1 player in the world, Donald played the event for the first time last year. He has five PGA TOUR victories, eight wins internationally and played on four European Ryder Cup teams. Donald’s fellow Englishman, Casey, is currently ranked 22nd in the world and has 14 international victories on three continents: North America, Europe and Asia, along with three European Ryder Cup berths. He played the event for the second time last year, his first appearance since 2002.

“It’s a lot of fun. The beauty of starting there is everybody’s in a great mood,” Casey said. “There is a buzz about it, and that’s what I really like. It’s almost like the first day of school. Everybody’s excited. Everybody’s keen. We get great crowds out there because it’s a golfing community. People know it, understand it and love it.”

The Australian Leishman is currently ranked 26th in the world. After going 1-2-1 for the International Team at the Presidents Cup in South Korea in September – his second appearance for the Internationals -- Leishman won his first European Tour event this month at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. He has one PGA TOUR victory, the 2012 Travelers Championship.

Lahiri has become the face of golf in India. He is ranked 41st in the world and his 18 worldwide victories include two recent wins on the European Tour and in September, he became the first player from India to play in the Presidents Cup. Lahiri’s T5 at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits was the best showing in a major championship by a native of India.

For those fans seeking an extra experience tournament week, there’s Club 17 Presented by Hyundai, which can be purchased on the tournament’s website. Overlooking the TPC Stadium Course’s famous par-3 17th hole – nicknamed “Alcatraz” for its island green – Club 17 features a sports-bar atmosphere inside and views of some of the most exciting golf in the tournament outside. To learn more go to or call (760) 346-8184.

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