Cape Town - The recently announced 'The American Express' event on the PGA Tour has been given a boost with the news that Phil Mickelson will serve as official host starting in 2020.
The event, which was formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic, was given a new lease on life earlier this year when American Express signed a multi-season sponsorship deal.
Now the tournament has been further bolstered with the news that Mickelson will serve as the official host from next year onwards.
Mickelson previously served as an ambassador for the event, but this new role will see the 49-year-old take centre stage at the Madison Club in La Quinta.
'Lefty' has won the tournament twice and owns a house nearby.
"It's always been an important part of my life. I would come out here and play junior tournaments here," Mickelson told the Desert Sun website.
"I've always been passionate about here, and I love the tournament itself. But more than that, this tournament has meant historically a lot to this area, and I want to bring back the vision of Bob Hope."
The event has struggled to attract top players in recent years, and that's something Mickelson hopes to address in 2020.
"My role has been get the message out on why and how this tournament is the best place to start the year because we have perfect weather, which is why the courses are by the mountain," Mickelson said.
"So we don’t have wind, so that we give the players a chance to build a foundation for the upcoming year.
“The second key element is making the tournament and the amateurs here (be) the CEOs that are decision-makers in the game of golf, that support the game of golf. If you don’t have relationships with Corporate America, (the pro-am) it gives you a chance to formulate relationships. If you do, it gives you a chance to strengthen them. Because we will allow players to play with their partners.”
The American Express takes place from January 16-19, 2020.