"The Hope has a '100 percent' chance of surviving but that a move to the Champions Tour is a possibility, which may or may not meet your definition of survival."
John Hawkins considers the future of the Bob Hope Classic and reports a couple of intriguing items:
Word on the street is that singer/actor Justin Timberlake, whose hands-on involvement with the Las Vegas tour stop transformed it into a Fall Series success, wants a bigger piece of the action and would love moving to the third week of the regular season if the spot became available.
Interestingly enough, Timberlake ditched the 72-hole pro-am format as soon as he slapped his name on the Vegas event, the first of several moves that indicate he means business. After swearing he'd never do another hit-and-giggle at Pebble, JT will return to the AT&T next month, trudge through a few six-hour rounds and sign lots of autographs for the ladies. It never hurts to help the tour if you want the tour to help you.
That said, the same source told me yesterday that the Hope has a "100 percent" chance of surviving but that a move to the Champions Tour is a possibility, which may or may not meet your definition of survival. The right thing to do is to fix it and leave it on the big tour, which prospered immensely from the Hope's popularity before becoming the big business it is today.
He's right about that. Of course the people who need to do the fixing are the ones who put the event in this position, despite what Hawkins writes:
By bringing the Classic Club into the rota in 2006, the competitive dynamic was altered, the product compromised by what was, more or less, an honest mistake.
No, it was a mistake. Let's refresh memories!
Thomas Bonk, writing about the impending demise of Indian Wells and the concerns about low scoring, January, 2004:
Indian Wells Country Club has ranked as the easiest course on the PGA Tour for the last three years and nine times since they began keeping that statistic in 1983. And at 6,478 yards, it’s also the shortest course on the PGA Tour. Tournament officials might be looking for a replacement course.
“Obviously, there is an issue out here,” said John Foster, a member of the tournament’s five-person board of directors as well as a past president. “But we don’t have a better option.
“As technology evolves, we have to look at the issue. We will have to make some tough decisions.”
A year later it was gone, and Bonk reported on the new NorthStar development, which became The Classic Club.
NorthStar, which occupies 220 acres at Cook Road and Interstate 10, will measure about 7,600 yards and can accommodate a crowd of 10,000 at its amphitheater setting at the 18th green.
“After 45 years, we had to review and we’re making changes that are substantial,” Foster said. “I think they’re going to be well received. We want to step up in the world of golf, and what we’re doing will take us to another level.”
Yes, another level alright.
Someone panicked because of low scores and the impact of technology on an event that was never meant to be an early season U.S. Open. The PGA Tour signed off on The Classic Club, SilverRock and the overall desire to change the rotation for reasons only they can explain.