by Jeff Skinner
Thanks for the memories. That was Bob Hope’s theme song and it couldn’t be more apropos now. The Bob Hope Classic which started in 1960 is no more. Tournament organizers announced that it will be renamed the Humana Challenge after its new sponsor.
“The Hope” had fallen on difficult times in past years and it was struggling to stay afloat. With the new Humana deal there will be golf in the desert for the next eight years but it won’t be called The Bob Hope Classic. The format will be changed a bit from five days to four and the amateurs will play with different professionals each day.
It is true that The Hope needed some changes but I can’t help but wax nostalgic about the passing of another tradition in golf. Corporations have replaced the famous celebrity names that made tournaments so recognizable. It started with Bing Crosby and his clambake and plenty of others followed. Danny Thomas, Jackie Gleason, Glen Campbell, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Dinah Shore and even Ed McMahon headlined their own tournaments.
It is the way things are now: it takes a lot of money to put on a tournament and hand out those big checks to the players and all the charities. Corporations and The PGA Tour partner together to give us the biggest tour in golf and that’s all good. Everybody wins, but losing the last link to such a special figure in golf makes you take pause. Bob Hope did as much for the game as anyone in history, so much so that he was voted into The World Golf Hall of Fame. In a fitting gesture the winner’s trophy will now be called the Bob Hope Trophy. Thanks for the memories.