Former La Quinta High golfer, Air Force veteran Tom Whitney joins CareerBuilder Challenge as sponsor exemption
La Quinta, CA – Tom Whitney, a 2006 graduate of La Quinta High School and a four-year veteran of the Air Force, has received a sponsor exemption to compete in the PGA TOUR’s CareerBuilder Challenge this week.
The CareerBuilder Challenge is scheduled for January 18-21 at the Stadium and Nicklaus Tournament Courses at PGA WEST and La Quinta Country Club. Whitney joins fellow sponsor exemption Charlie Reiter, a Palm Desert High School senior, as Coachella Valley products in the professional field.
Whitney, 28, finished eighth in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) state tournament as a senior at La Quinta in 2006, and then spent four years at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. During his collegiate career he won four tournaments and was named a finalist for the 2010 Byron Nelson award. Whitney then honored his commitment with a four-year stint in the Air Force as a first lieutenant, working in an underground bunker and tasked with launching nuclear missiles if instructed to do so.
Whitney played three events on the Web.com Tour in 2015 and 2016, then played 15 events last season, with one top-10 finish. He made his PGA TOUR debut in October, playing his way into the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open through the Monday qualifier before missing the cut.
“We’re excited to be able to offer Tom a sponsor exemption into the tournament,” said Jeff Sanders, CareerBuilder Challenge Executive Director. “We all owe a debt of gratitude to our service members, and we’re happy to be able to help a local guy like Tom launch his golf career.”
Whitney will join a strong field that also includes World Golf Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson; two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson; World No. 3 Jon Rahm; two-time major champion John Daly; 2014 CareerBuilder Challenge champion and U.S. Ryder Cup/Presidents Cup star Patrick Reed; and two-time CareerBuilder Challenge winner and 2011 PGA TOUR FedExCup champion Bill Haas.
Fellow hometown favorite Reiter made headlines recently when, at age 17, he was one of just four Americans to make the cut at the Australian Open in November. As a junior last spring, Reiter led Palm Desert to its first ever CIF State tournament, where the team finished sixth.
Daily tickets to the CareerBuilder Challenge are only $30 and include admission to the golf tournament, Concert Series presented by H. N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, and three on-course, greenside hospitality venues including the all-new 8,000 square foot Vons Fan Pavilion located on the 18th green.
The CareerBuilder Challenge Concert Series presented by the H. N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation features two nights of rock and roll music with the popular Huey Lewis and the News on Friday January 19, followed by Goo Goo Dolls on Saturday after golf. The concerts will be held on the driving range at the PGA WEST Stadium Course and are expected to start at 4:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
For more information on the CareerBuilder Challenge and CareerBuilder Challenge Concert Series presented by H. N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and to purchase tickets, please visit www.CBChallenge.com.