It's 1200 miles from Palm Springs to Texas

The Tour heads to Palm Springs for the start of the 2018 season on the mainland. This week's CareerBuilder Challenge (formerly Bob Hope) features a 54-hole cut to accommodate the pro-am. Headlining the field is 23-year-old superstar Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson who makes his first start of 2018. Full field

Last year

Despite firing a third round 59, Adam Hadwin got chased down by Hudson Swafford in the final round. Swafford shot a final round 67 to clip Hadwin by one shot and win for the first time on the PGA Tour. Down the difficult closing stretch at PGA West's Stadium Course, Swafford birdied three of his final four holes.

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The Courses

This week's first three rounds are spread across three different courses. The PGA West Stadium Course hosts early round action and the final round. The bold Pete Dye design opened in 1986 after the Tour gave the architect the directive to build the world's hardest golf course. Dye delivered so much so that players petitioned to ban the course from the Tour after the first playing of the Bob Hope at the Dye design in 1987. The petition was successful, and the course remained "shunned" until the 2016 CareerBuilder. Today, the Stadium course is fairly benign, despite wind and cold in last year's event the scoring average was below par. But hey technology and the ball haven't impacted the game much at all.

For more on the Stadium course's progression from "unfair" to benign, check out Sean Martin's piece on PGATour.com - The Stadium Course also served as the awakening of architect Brian Silva - listen to his retelling of how the Stadium Course changed his career.

The other two hosts are La Quinta C.C. and PGA West's Nicklaus Tournament course. Each is your average desert courses that play slow and soft.

Storylines

A crossroads
Oft-outspoken PGA Tour professional John Peterson played last week's Sony Open on a major medical extension and sans any sponsors. The 2011 NCAA Champion has seven events to earn $359k and satisfy his exemption. If he doesn't, he says that he will quit golf and turn to a career in real estate.

After a 3-time All-American career at LSU, Peterson appeared to be a future star, registering a t4th at the 2012 U.S. Open, his first major championship. His career trajectory has been cut by a series of injuries, limiting to a meager $2.7 million in career earnings (by PGA Tour standards).

A local phenom
Future USC golfer and Palm Desert High School senior Charlie Reiter will tee it up in the CareerBuilder on a sponsor's Invite. Reiter is a glimpse of the future of golf. He is crazy long off the tee, touting ball speeds in the 190s (Dustin Johnson numbers) and has perfected his swing with the aid of Trackman. The CareerBuilder will be his second start in a pro tournament. His first came a few weeks ago at the Australian Open where he made the cut finishing t65th.

Paulie's Picks

A weak field heads to Palm Desert for the CareerBuilder, here's who Paulie likes for one and done and DraftKings.

A preview pod

Paulie and Kyle Nathan join to breakdown the Sony, preview the CareerBuilder. Paulie talks in great depth about stats and why he likes certain players this week. Listen to the podcast on the websiteiTunes or Stitcher.

The stars are out

Many of golf's biggest stars will congregate in Abu Dhabi for the HSBC Championship. Rory McIlroy will make his first start of 2018; it's the first time the superstar has ranked outside the top 10 in the world rankings since 2010. Joining McIlroy is world number one Dustin Johnson, red-hot Justin Rose, 2017 Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson. The HSBC attracts a high-profile field despite a meager $3 million purse, how? Appearance fees.

In the Bahamas

19-year-old Sungjae Kim won the Web.com Tour's Great Exuma Classic after firing a scintillating final round 65. The stellar final round gave South Korea native a four-shot win over Carlos Ortiz. Full scores

The Tour will stay in the Bahamas for the Great Abaco Classic which kicks off on Saturday.

Golf is for the flies

The Verge published an article that dove into the battle in Scotland over the proposed Coul Links and an insect. The proposed development led by Mike Keiser has Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designing a seaside links course near Dornoch. Environmentalists (I was once one) are standing in their way due to a rare species of fly. This species, Fonseca’s seed fly can only be identified from other flies by viewing its genitals under a microscope. It also only inhabits a square mile in the Dornoch area, where some of the course planned to be. Will a fly stand in Keiser's way?

Quick hooks

I wrote an article for LINKS Magazine which broke down good and bad golf course architecture.

Eamon Lynch wrote an interesting piece for Golfweek about the professional game and golf course architecture.

Nick Saban and Ken Whisenhunt go in together on a golf course.