There are plenty of elements of the golf world that are still around because they're still around. Know what I mean? It's done this way because it's always been done this way. The Bob Hope Classic, a mutated five-day pro-am tournament, is Exhibit A. Five days, four golf courses, amateurs in your pairing every day ... yeah, you can see why most of the big-name pros steer way clear of the event, regardless of its namesake's golf pedigree.
Now, though, the tournament is getting a makeover, a new sponsor (Humana) and a new leading figure (President Bill Clinton), and it might just be a little more appealing. The course will now run for the standard four days, and will cover three courses. The amateurs will still be present, 144 of them to complement the 144 pros.
The idea, tournament officials say, is to help strengthen the field. Nothing against the Hope -- well, that's not totally true, but still -- the last three years have seen three tour pros, Jhonattan Vegas, Bill Haas and Pat Perez, notch their first tour win at the tournament.
In addition, the pros will now get a fellow pro in their foursome each day; two pros and two amateurs will play each round. The amateurs will be out the door in the final round.
Now, there's certainly an important rationale to letting in amateurs: Hollywood celebs aside, if you bring in the president of a corporation with sponsor dollars to spend, said president may be more likely to open the wallet. Still, that doesn't make for much interesting viewing for the rest of us, especially with most of the marquee names taking the week off.
Still to be decided: the tournament's exact name and the courses that will be used, as well as the broadcast network. But that can be worked out. The first step to bringing this beast under control has already been taken.