The PGA Tour heads to the desert for the CareerBuilder Challenge and what formerly was called The Bob Hope Classic. Hope was the driving force behind his tournament for over fifty years.
Hope was instrumental in building the tournament into a ‘must-play’ on tour as he brought his fellow celebrities, from the Rat Pack to sitting U.S. Presidents to play the game he so loved. He raised millions for charities and after his passing the torch was passed to former president Bill Clinton to headline.
Clinton did his best to re-brand the event and to align it with his health initiative and it was renamed the Humana Challenge. I am sure Bill pocketed a slew of cash for his Clinton Foundation during his tenure but he’s out and now, Phil Mickelson is in.
Phil is the new Tournament Ambassador and charged with building up the new version of what we seniors call ‘The Hope.’
But Phil is coming off not one, but two hernia surgeries and since he just started hitting balls in mid-January, his game is sure to be a bit rusty.
He has favored this tournament for years and counts two of his 42 PGA Tour wins here. 2017 has plenty of questions for Phil and as one of the most popular golfers in the world the spotlight is always on him.
He still has to be working his game into shape after his surgical rehab and dealing with his psoriatic arthritis. We all remember that great 2013 win at the Open Championship but that was his last win on tour. And he’ll turn 47 as he tries to finally win his first U.S. Open in June.
That old Ford ad…”What will Phil do next” has never been so apropos.
He did finish tied for third here last year so he has something recent to pull from. But it may be too much to ask for someone who’s not quite 100% and wearing two hats to challenge for a win at “The Challenge.”
Ah, that doesn’t work for me. It’s still “The Hope.”
And I’m hoping Phil can rise to the challenge. Nope, that doesn’t work either.