LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA |
The first thing
to understand is that despite the word
play, the tournament is not “Hopeless.”
A better description would be troubled.
Or, perhaps, inconsequential. In modern
lingo, the Bob Hope Classic no longer
moves the needle.
So the possibility that former presi-
dent Bill Clinton may get involved with the
Hope is enticing. Clinton has charisma, an
essential for golf. Consider Arnie, Jack,
Greg, Tiger and Phil. A game of individu-
als demands individuals who have game
and name. Bill Clinton would light up the
southern California desert.
Sure, he’s a Democrat and this area of
the wealthy and aged is notoriously
Republican. But Clinton crosses party
lines. And for a start, as a sitting presi-
dent, he played in the 2005 Hope with
former presidents George H. W. Bush and
Scott Hoch was the pro – the format
the first four days of the Hope is rotating
teams of three ama-
teurs with a dif-
ferent pro – and
while all those
men and all
those fans may
not have helped
there hasn’t been
as exciting a day at
the Hope since.
Clinton and the elder Bush have
worked together on relief for Haiti.
Washington types long have been involved
with the Hope. Dwight Eisenhower was
a pal of Bob Hope’s, and proceeds from
Hope Classics funded the Eisenhower
Medical Center in Palm Desert.
Spiro Agnew played in the Hope – and
conked Doug Sanders with a tee shot.
Dan Quayle, Tip O’Neill, Dan Rosten-
kowski also took part.
For them, playing golf takes precedent
ahead of playing politics, and Bill Clinton
could be the man who gives the tourna-
ment, now in its 52nd year, the energy to
make it young once more.
Joe Ogilvie, the Tour player from Duke,
interestingly suggested to
idea of the Hope bringing in Bill Clinton
a few hours before the PGA Tour put
out a release saying the idea “had
been in discussions over the past
several months” with the Clinton
Foundation and the Clinton Global
“I think it might need an A-list
host that says, ‘You know, this
is an important event,’ “ Ogilvie
said of the Hope tournament. “The
Eisenhower Medical Center has
touched a lot of lives.
“I think the
guy I’d have
He obviously holds a huge cachet with the
Democratic party. A Bill Clinton would add
instant cachet. He also would bring in an
A-list clientele, and he could walk a
Ogilvie pointed out as an enticement
the Hope, which has contributed more
than $33 million to the Eisenhower Medi-
cal Center, should expand its contribu-
tions to include the ex-president’s Clinton
“We have access to more than 250
television stations. There are dozens of
athletes, teams and celebrities,” he said.
“Our approach has been altered from
“Gee, look at that,” to “Been there, done
There’s nothing wrong with Jhonattan
Vegas except he’s not Tiger Woods, and
Tiger Woods never competes in the Hope.
The tournament needs a jolt, a revitaliza-
tion. If Clinton’s here, Mickelson’s here.
Maybe Tiger’s here.
The Tour statement mentioned a po-
tential broad partnership “that would in-
volve the Clinton Foundation’s longstand-
ing commitment to improving lives with
the Tour’s Together Anything’s Possible
charitable initiative. This includes leverag-
ing the Bob Hope Classic as a focal point
in this partnership.”
In plain talk, Bill Clinton steps in, and
while he’s no Bob Hope – who is? – he
raises the Hope Classic to its rightful
position in the golfing ranks. And in ap-
preciation, the rest of us sing an off-key
version of “Thanks for the Memories.” l
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