Expected to become an annual Tuesday event as a kick off for the Humana Challenge, the Clinton Foundation hosted a conference on all things health and wellness. And yes, I saw the catcalls on Twitter complaining about the sheer hideousness (and it's sooo Canadian!) gathering of adults wanting to improve the lifestyles of children so that not every kid in America looks like Manny Delgado from Modern Family.
A few peanuts from the gallery:
- Bill Clinton's Bob Hope stories are superb, and hopefully we'll hear a few during the telecast in the Rich Lerner interview taped today. But Clinton touched on Hope's obsession with walking, something covered in the latest Golf Digest featuring a must-read interview by Tom Friedman.
- Clinton stated, and the speakers essentially backed up the notion, that health, wellness and the costs associated are the primary issue for America moving forward.
- Richard Gephardt should not take shots at modern day Washington politicians from his position as a lobbyist and as a man who still inspires little excitement.
- Notah Begay and Annika Sorenstam both spoke about their interests in the area of health and both not only held their own on a stage with talented speakers and an audience full of health care professionals, but represented the world of golf in high quality fashion. Both are eloquent and knowledgeable when discussing their causes. They are certainly not just lending their name to a foundation for tax purposes. These are genuine, involved and impressive individuals. Golf is lucky to have them.
- This has the potential to be a transformative event from both the sponsor perspective and the tour's point of view. Granted, Clinton is a unique presence with his Rolodex, passion and well-oiled machine of a Foundation. But I suspect that he will connect with key players this week, raise awareness for his cause and give Humana attention on a level they've never seen before. Fans interested in health will have the option to be educated and fans just wanting to see good golf will get a better experience thanks to the new format and slightly improved field.
However, any player with the luxury to make his schedule and who learns about what went on today and beyond, would not leave this event off their schedule as long as Clinton is associated. It has the feeling of something that could expand, become a hybrid golf tournament highlighting transformative causes with our struggling sport, and become recognized as an important gathering of difference-makers. But will the players follow Phil Mickelson's example and pay attention? Do they care about being part of something bigger than themselves? Stay tuned...