By Michael Bower
Charley Hoffman will be playing in his first PGA Tour event of the year starting Thursday at the Humana Challenge in La Quinta
The 1995 Poway High graduate will then head back to his old stomping grounds in San Diego, where he hopes to help his charity — Charley Hoffman Foundation — eclipse the $1 million mark over its four years of existence.
“Going over the million dollar mark is pretty exciting,” said Hoffman, who has been nursing a back injury for the past three months. “It is something that as a kid when I first started playing golf I never thought I would do. Now seeing it happen is a great feeling.”
The Hoffmans will be hosting a two-day event to help raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, The Pro Kids and the San Diego Junior Golf Association. The fun begins Sunday at 6 p.m. at Belly Up in Solana Beach, where there will be a live comedian and music for entertainment along with a silent auction.
Then on Monday is the Charley Hoffman Foundation San Diego Pro-Am at the Torrey Pines North Golf Course in La Jolla. Registration starts at 10 a.m. followed by a clinic by Hoffman at 11:30 a.m. and then a shotgun start at noon. For more information on how to signup for the two events, visit www.charleyhoffman.com.
“The foundation has really grown,” said Hoffman, who has a small place in Mission Beach where he spends time during Thanksgiving and Christmas. “It started helping kids in junior golf and has turned into something bigger and better.”
After the fun is over, it’s down to business for Hoffman. The 1994 and 1995 high school state champion will compete in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines (South Course) starting Jan. 24 and concluding with the final round Jan. 27.
It will be Hoffman’s eighth time competing in the event. Last year, he finished in 52nd place, firing a four-round total of 285 (3-under). It was the first time he made the cut in three years. But he has much loftier goals this time around.
“I don’t go into tournaments just trying to make the cut,” Hoffman said. “My goal for the first couple of rounds is to put myself in contention to win it. It doesn’t matter if I am in New York, Los Angeles or my hometown of San Diego. I want to win.”
Hoffman added that he is especially looking forward to just getting back on the golf course and playing again after being out the past three months.
“This is probably the longest break I have taken in competitive golf,” he said. “I am looking forward to getting the juices flowing again.”
It is still up in the air if Hoffman’s good friend Bill Lunde will once again be playing in the tournament. Lunde, also a Poway High graduate, as of press time is not on the committed players list. He finished tied for 13th with a 279 (9-under) last year.