It used to have names like Bing Crosby, Dwight Eisenhower and Frank Sinatra. Even as recently as a decade ago, famous politicians such as Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush flocked to La Quinta to get a taste of the true pro-am, when professionals teamed up with starlets to produce low scores and high laughs.
Now? Let's just say, not so much.
The list for the 2010 Bob Hope Classic is highlighted by Alice Cooper (for those under the age of 30, reference "Wayne's World" for help with this one) and Kurt Russell (prestigious actor of such this-decade hits such as "Grindhouse" and "Dark Blue").
The most famous NFL player that is still in the NFL (and I had to check to make sure that sentence was true) is Derek Anderson. Sterling Sharpe and Emmitt Smith highlight the retired athletes.
David Puddy from "Seinfield" is one of the star actors. Dr. Phil also is in attendance. So is Clay Walker. This list is, and I hope there are some country fans out there to get this, beginning to get to me.
The tournament needs to either go back to the roots of what Hope created, a mix of golfers and stars that makes the week unforgettable, or blow up the entire thing and move it to a time when more athletes would be interested in playing (say, when the NFL season ends, or during the lull in sports when only baseball is going on, even if it means a hot Palm Springs). Nobody is flying there to watch Ron White bank a tee shot off the rocks of PGA West while sipping a sweating whiskey from his cup.
If you think I'm the only one that doesn't care about the event, just check the amateur leaderboard on PGATour.com. It has a bunch of team numbers without the names, and no way to check who actually fired a 16-under 56 on Wednesday.
The idea of placing famous people from different walks of life was cute back in the day, when endless news and communication weren't around, but that has died now.
We know that LeBron James and Jay-Z are buddies. We see Larry Johnson hold the Hova sign up when he finds the end zone (which doesn't happen much anymore). We get that Adam Scott and Kate Hudson might be bunking up together when enjoying the beaches of Hawaii.
Forcing B-level celebrities on us these days isn't going to make the Hope a commodity. It just makes it a nuisance for the actual golfers participating and trying to claim the 90 hole marathon.
There's no wonder Tiger Woods has never played the event. It seems that as far as golf tournaments go, the Hope is an obvious clunker.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'd like to go have a pint at the Beer Hunter in hopes of spotting Don Felder or Oliver Hudson.
- Dwight Eisenhower