Palmer's association with the event goes back to 1960, when he won the Palm Springs Desert Golf Classic. (He also won the Thunderbird Classic in 1959, which-predated the Palm Springs tournament but was played in the same area.) It became the Bob Hope Desert Classic in 1965 and Palmer won it five times, the last of which happened to be his 62nd and final PGA Tour title in 1973.
In 2001 Palmer shot a 1-under 71, becoming the first player in the events history to shoot his age. Palmer served as host of the 50th anniversary of the tournament in 2009.
This year Palmer plans on watching his grandson Sam Saunders play in the event. The 22-year-old Saunders turned pro last year after a solid amateur career at Clemson and has received a sponsor's exemption to play in the event.
"I always enjoy it when my grandfather comes out to watch me play." said Saunders. "I feel really good about my game and I'm excited to play in the tournament."