Proof the Humana Challenge is a birdie-fest

Here’s news that will come as a surprise to absolutely no one in the desert: the courses in the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation are easy.

The PGA Tour has released statistics on the 49 courses used in its tournaments this year. The toughest was the Olympic Club, host of the U.S. Open, which played to a stroke average of 3.844 shots over par.

The green on the eighth hole of the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West, the easiest course on the PGA Tour in 2012 (Richard Lui/The Desert Sun)

The easiest course on tour was (wait for it) the Jack Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West. The Nicklaus Course played to an average of 2.8.07 under par, allowing it to edge out the Plantation Course at Kapaula of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions for the easiest course on tour.

The Palmer Course at PGA West, host course of the Humana, came in at 46th on the list with a scoring average of -2.124 against par. And La Quinta Country Club was 41st on the list at 1.322 stroke under par.

Don’t look for much wailing of gnashing of teeth over the the Humana office, though. This is pretty much exactly what the tournament wants and the players want. It’s an easy season event, the greens are generally magnificent and true, the weather is generally perfect and the someone nearly every day (or at least the first three days) goes on the hunt for a 59. The Humana wouldn’t be the Humana (or the Hope wouldn’t be the Hope) without lots of birdies and maybe an eagle or two in a round.

The West Coast seems to have a lock on easy courses. The North Course at Torrey Pines, in San Diego, part of the Farmers Insurance Open, is 47th, actually more than a third of a shot per round easier than the Palmer Private Course at PGA West. So the four easiest courses at tour were played before the Super Bowl was played.

Olympic Club’s toughest was followed by Kiawah Island, host of the PGA Championships this year. Kiawah produced a score of 2.566 over par, which makes Rory McIlroy’s eight-shot win in that championship all the more remarkable.

The course that came closes to averaging its actual par was Trump International in the Puerto Rico Open, which was 22nd overall at just .027 strokes over par.