Humana Challenge Names New CEO, Tix On Sale Soon

New CEO Bob Marra says he is looking forward to building upon the success of the world-renowned golf tournament.

Longtime Coachella Valley business executive Bob Marra was appointed  executive director and CEO of the Humana Challenge, the organization announced Monday.

Marra replaces Larry Thiel, who had served as the golf tournament's chairman since 2010. Thiel is retiring, but will continue to serve in an of- counsel capacity.

Marra, who was elected to Humana's board of directors last May, was previously CEO of Marra Enterprises, which owns and operates the economic analysis company Wheeler's Market Intelligence.

He publishes the Public Record newspaper and was a partner in the publishing and marketing of World Golf Hall of Famer Billy Casper's autobiography, "The Big Three and Me."

The tournament, formerly the Bob Hope Classic, became known this year as the Humana Challenge and moved to a traditional four-round schedule from a five-day run with an increased pro field.

The new name reflects the tournament's eight-year partnership with Humana, a health insurance provider based in Kentucky. Humana sponsors the tournament with the Clinton Foundation, and the golf event raises money for Coachella Valley charities, primarily Eisenhower Medical Center.

Marra, who has served on the boards of several local charities, said he looks "forward to working with the Desert Classic Charities Board, Humana, the Clinton Foundation, the PGA Tour and our staff to continue building substantially upon the success of the Humana Challenge."

"The positive economic and social impacts of the tournament have been enormous for our desert communities and these benefits will grow even stronger in the years ahead because of the unique partnership we have established," he said.

The 2013 Humana Challenge is scheduled for Jan. 14-20 at PGA West's Palmer and Nicklaus private courses and La Quinta Country Club. The field will include 156 PGA Tour professionals and 156 amateurs, according to Humana.

Tickets will be available starting Thursday at www.humanachallenge.com or by calling (888) 672-4673.


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