The life vest the tournament desperately needs could come in the form of former President Bill Clinton. While no deal has been officially announced, there are some strong indications that the former President could be the next host of the Bob Hope Classic.
PGA Tour brass even went as far as to release a statement earlier today surrounding the Clinton-Hope rumors: "The Commissioner and the PGA Tour have been in discussions over the past several months with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative regarding a broad partnership," the statement said. "... This includes the potential for leveraging the Bob Hope Classic as a focal point for this partnership."
The idea of Clinton hosting the event is one that's already gaining steam with some players on tour. As GolfDigest.com's John Strege noted, Joe Ogilvie, who is part of the tour's player advisory council, thinks Clinton could give the tournament the spark its been lacking in recent years.
"I think it might need an A-list host that says, 'you know, this is an important event. The Eisenhower Medical Center has touched a lot of people's lives,'" Ogilvie told GolfDigest.com. "I think the guy I'd have host this tournament is Bill Clinton. I think he was a Republican's best friend, even though he was a Democratic president. He obviously holds huge cachet with the Democratic party. And this tournament has always had a political element. I remember watching it when [former Speaker of the House] Tip O'Neill played it, and it had the three presidents play [in 1995, when Clinton, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush played]. A Bill Clinton would add instant cachet. He also would bring in an A list-clientele and he could walk a sponsor in."
It sounds like a great idea. With tournaments like the one currently going on in Abu Dhabi throwing one-million-plus appearance fees at players like PGA Tour member Phil Mickelson, the event obviously needs an edge.
Could one man really bring Phil and Tiger back to the event? Probably not. But the one thing he could do is make the tournament relevant again. At this point, that's all you can really ask for.
- Bill Clinton
- Bob Hope Classic