Before visiting The Classic Club for today's third round of Bob Hope Classic play, I caught some of Thursday's telecast featuring a quintessential Hope moment.
Host George Lopez was playing at La Quinta Country Club and after a tee shot, entered someone's home where a large, festive gathering had assembled to watch the groups go through. Lopez sampled some dips, hugged a few of the guests, then uttered "thanks for not calling the police" and was on his way.
I note this because it was just the kind of simple fun that the Hope should be all about.
Fast forward to today where I visited the Classic Club to talk to players after their six hour round. Well, only five stuck around to hit balls, a couple of others hit putts, and the rest were out of there as soon as possible. Thankfully Jeff Sluman and his insights made the trip worthwhile. But I digress.
The Classic Club holes I walked were not horrific, but the overshaping combines with the excessive scale to eliminate any of the intimacy that you find on the old desert courses. You won't see George Lopez going in someone's backyard or even into the gallery without having to work hard due to the climbs.
Since fans and volunteers have to work hard to get around the course and most are well outside of the coveted demo, the atmosphere is anything but festive. It's a shame because the tournament is well run and so many volunteers are devoted to the cause. But they can only give so much before the host course situation dampens their enthusiasm.