Bob Marra to succeed Larry Thiel as executive director of Humana Challenge

Humana Challenge President and Chairman of the Board John Foster has announced that long-time Coachella Valley business executive Bob Marra has been appointed executive director and CEO of the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. Marra replaces Larry Thiel, who served as the PGA Tour event’s tournament chairman since 2010. Thiel will continue with the tournament in an of-counsel capacity, Foster said.

Marra was elected to the tournament’s board of directors last May and has been working with Thiel on the transition. One of the nation’s foremost golf tournament executives with more than three decades in the industry, Thiel will be retiring and spending more time at his family home in Colorado.

“It’s been a joy and a privilege to work with the outstanding team of sponsors, players, tournament staff and volunteers at the Humana Challenge,” Thiel said. “I’m excited about the giant strides the tournament has taken in the last two years and I know the future is extremely bright and in good hands with Bob.”

Marra was CEO of Marra Enterprises, which owns and operates Wheeler’s Market Intelligence (a research and market intelligence company that analyzes economic trends for developers, cities and other businesses). He also publishes The Public Record newspaper, which chronicles the desert’s business and public affairs news. He has been directly involved in the golf industry as a partner in the publishing and marketing of World Golf Hall of Famer Billy Casper’s autobiography, “The Big Three and Me,” which has sold nearly 20,000 copies and was recently nominated for the USGA’s Herbert Warren Wind Award for its outstanding contribution to golf literature.

His diverse volunteer background includes activity for a wide range of local organizations. He is currently a board member of the Health Assessment Resource Center (HARC) and the La Quinta Arts Foundation. He has served as a founding board member and past Chairman of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and as a board member of Leadership Coachella Valley, the American Advertising Federation-Desert Cities Chapter, the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, the Mizell Senior Center and the Inland Empire Lenders Community Development Corporation. He was also the founder and past president of the Coachella Valley Entrepreners’ Forum.

“I look 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,” Marra said. “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.”

The 2013 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation is a 72-hole tournament to be played at PGA West’s Palmer and Nicklaus Private Courses and La Quinta Country Club from Jan. 14-20. The golf event features an expanded field of 156 PGA Tour professionals and 156 amateurs, including celebrities.

Tickets for the 2013 Humana Challenge, beginning as low as $30, will be available beginning Nov. 1 in a convenient, user-friendly manner through the PGA Tour golf tournament’s newly redesigned website,

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