Morgan Freeman, Don Cheadle Take a Swing at the PGA Tour

Morgan Freeman Don Cheadle Split - H 2012
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Morgan Freeman Don Cheadle Split - H 2012

They join Lucas Black, Smokey Robinson and Alice Cooper as celebrities in the Humana Challenge pro-am event, formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic.

Morgan Freeman, Don Cheadle and Smokey Robinson are among the celebrities scheduled to tee it up during next week’s $5.6 million Humana Challenge pro-am PGA Tour tournament in La Quinta, Calif.

Also playing in the event previously known as the Bob Hope Classic are actors Craig T. Nelson, Billy Crudup and Lucas Black, musicians Michael Bolton and Alice Cooper and former NBA star Julius Erving.

The Humana Challenge features 144 professionals and 144 amateurs. The first three rounds (Jan. 19-21) of the four-day tournament are played in a pro-am format, with each pro-am team consisting of one pro and one amateur.

In a twist from years past, the field of celebrity golfers will be divided among the three courses (the Palmer and Nicklaus Private courses at PGA West and the La Quinta Country Club layout) each day. The Jan. 22 final round will feature the pros only.  

Freeman (in Southern California to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes this weekend), Robinson, Crudup and Black are making their first appearances in the tournament. Cooper has played in each of the past 14 years except for 2005, and Bolton first appeared in 1999 and then each year from 2001-09.

The event also announced Wednesday that Anthony Kim, a crowd-pleasing tour pro and a product of nearby La Quinta High School, has entered the field. Also set for the third event of the 2012 PGA season are Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, defending champion Jhonattan Vegas, 2011 FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas, David Toms, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III and Trevor Immelman.

“Adding Anthony to our field is a terrific boost with less than a week to go before we open the gates, as we know there is a tremendous amount of interest in him due to his ties to the Coachella Valley,” said Humana Challenge tournament chairman Larry Thiel. “Add in some of the world’s most famous and talented entertainers, and these are tremendous additions to what is becoming a great field of players and personalities that I’m sure will excite our fans.”

During its 52-year history, the tournament has generated more than $50 million in donations to the nearby Eisenhower Media Center and charities within the Coachella Valley. It’s the first year that Humana, one of the nation’s leading health care companies, is the title sponsor; this year’s event also is held in partnership with the William J. Clinton Foundation.

NBCUniversal’s Golf Channel will televise the tournament all four days.