LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA | My father used to take me to the Bob Hope Desert Classic. We knew it was a big deal because everybody called it the Hope. Just like the Nabisco Dinah Shore was the Dinah and the Bing Crosby Pro-Am was the Crosby. They all had one-word names.
At the Hope, celebrities were everywhere. One year I decided to write down the names, so I kept the list — there was Hope with his big nose, along with Dwight Eisenhower, Jackie Gleason, Bing Crosby, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Desi Arnaz, Phil Harris, Ray Bolger and Hoagy Carmichael.
That’s as far as I got. There were too many of them. Hey, I was just a kid.
Even the streets were linked to celebrities. It was impossible to drive 10 minutes without seeing a road named after Frank Sinatra, Fred Waring, Ginger Rogers or somebody else famous.
The Hope and Crosby tournaments were famous for their celebrities. This was better than Hollywood because the actors and musicians actually talked to spectators. They were real people. Wow.
After nearly 60 years as part of the PGA Tour, the Hope is in danger. The 2019 event is called the Desert Classic and does not have a title sponsor. Chrysler is long gone. So are Humana and CareerBuilder. The only reason the 2019 event has a purse of $5.9 million is that CareerBuilder, the most recent title sponsor, was contractually obligated to contribute its share.
So what’s going on here? No PGA Tour event in the Southern California desert? No Hope? Prepost...
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