Palmer's "Sweetest Win Ever" Came At The Hope

Really fun deep dive read here from Jim McCabe, in a special to, writing about Arnold Palmer's final PGA Tour win.

It came at a special Bob Hope Classic that brought Jack Nicklaus to the desert and one that Palmer would call "the sweetest ever."

A teaser:

Palmer and Nicklaus were together on the tournament’s eve to break ground on a golf course project they were co-designing (now Ironwood Country Club), but they were miles apart in Round 1 at Indian Wells.

In the Los Angeles Times, the great Jim Murray called Palmer and Nicklaus “the prime minister and emperor of golf,” but it didn’t appear as if they were competitors any more, at least not until Palmer outscored Nicklaus, 66-70, in the second round at Tamarisk Country Club.   
That left Nicklaus at 134, three ahead of Palmer and a Monday qualifier named Allen Miller. Joked Miller: “What are all those unknowns doing up there with me?”   
“The Hope” was competing for space in the L.A. Times with the legendary Steve Prefontaine, who beat Marty Liquori in the mile at the Times Indoor Games.

It’s Back! PGA West Stadium Hosting TFKA The Hope

Last time we saw it on the PGA Tour, poor Tip O'Neill was stuck in a bunker and Corey Pavin won there barely making it to some of the fairways. But since then players started doing yoga, ditched the persimmons and even played a bunch of Q-School rounds at PGA West's Stadium course.

The iconic Pete Dye design returns to the Bob Hope Classic CareerBuilder Challenge In Partnership With The Clinton Foundation.

Larry Bohannan reports the addition of PGA West Stadium and the Nicklaus Tournament Course to replace the Nicklaus and Palmer private courses. It was, gulp, 29 years ago that the Stadium got its one shot at hosting the Hope.

The Stadium Course is famous in the desert for hosting the Skins Game from 1986 through 1991, but also for the one year it was played in the PGA Tour event known as the Bob Hope Classic. Designed by Pete Dye, the Stadium Course was different than almost any golf course in the course in 1987, and the scores reflected the course difficulty. Corey Pavin won the event, then a 90-hole tournament, at 19-under 341, well above the typical low winning scores of the time.

With an island green on the par-3 17th, a 200-yard carry over water on the par-3 fifth and a 20-foot-deep bunker on the par-5 16th, the Stadium Course presented strong challenges to the tour players and 384 amateurs in the field in 1987. The pros grumbled, with Ken Green saying the course needed a few sticks of dynamite and other players saying the one-year-old course was just unfair. The pace of play was slow for amateurs and celebrities, including Speaker of the House Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill who found himself flailing away at the bottom of the bunker on the 16th hole on national television.

Random Notes From First Annual Clinton Health Matters Conference

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.
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The Four-Day, Single Pro-Am Partner Event Not-Played-At-The-Classic-Club-Effect: Phil Returns To Desert

Bones, get ready to remember a new pro-am partner's name every day! For Immediate Release:

Two-time event champion Phil Mickelson commits to play Humana Challenge
Immensely popular Southern California native and four-time major winner
 has an enviable record in the Coachella Valley
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Phil Mickelson, a two-time winner of the Humana Challenge and the leading all-time money winner in the event, has committed to play in an event where he has enjoyed immense success -- the 2012 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
Set to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in May, Mickelson is the second Hall of Fame selection to enter the Humana Challenge field. Greg Norman, winner of two British Opens and captain of the International Team at the last two Presidents Cups, also committed to his first Humana Challenge since 1986.
“I’m honored to join President Clinton and the Clinton Foundation for the Humana Challenge,” Mickelson said. “I admire President Clinton and the charitable work of his Foundation, which helps millions of people around the world, and I applaud him for joining Humana in using the tournament to help promote health and wellness. Some of my best seasons have come after starting at this event and I’m really excited about coming back again.”

Stars From The Previous Century Aligning For Clinton Desert Initiative

Still waiting for the big names to sign up for the Humana Challenge, as predicted expected when former President Bill Clinton signed up to help resuscitate the former Bob Hope Classic. (There's a fun Thomas Friedman interview with Clinton in the new Golf Digest, with some of the least interesting excerpts available here.)
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The Long, Ugly SilverRock Saga Continues

Larry Bohannan reports the Arnold Palmer-designed course in La Quinta has been dropped from the new Hope rotation, which only has room for three courses.

At a reported cost of at least $58 million, this one has to go down as one of the great tragedies of modern design. The city had a lovely site, an open bidding process with a wide variety of architects offering ideas for something different in desert golf, but all along the job was going to Palmer because of his name. They poured massive sums into building it, then put more money in to fix design flaws pointed out by the tour, only to get just a few Bob Hopes and little in the way of positive buzz.

Hope Officially Gets Humana, Clinton

The two main questions most would have are not answered in the release: the new tournament title and whether it's going from five days to four. Ron Sirak's report on the eight-year-deal suggests they are still contemplating the four day switch. 

For Immediate Release...

Humana and the William J. Clinton Foundation Partner with PGA TOUR for Bob Hope Classic

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL and LA QUINTA, CA – The PGA TOUR and the Bob Hope Classic announced today that Humana (NYSE: HUM) and the William J. Clinton Foundation have formed an eight-year partnership with the TOUR and the Classic beginning in 2012, with Humana becoming title sponsor.  Next year’s tournament week will be January 16-22.

The agreement will build on a shared commitment by both the Clinton Foundation and Humana to promote healthy living and work across sectors to improve the lives of people around the world.  A conference of health-industry leaders will be held early in the tournament week. Further details on the partnership, the tournament and the format will be announced later this spring.

“We are excited to announce this collaboration between Humana and the Clinton Foundation in support of this iconic event,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “The tournament will take on an expanded focus of serving as a strategic platform to establish and communicate new initiatives in health and well-being. We are delighted to have the support and commitment of Humana and truly honored to have the Clinton Foundation’s partnership.”

Sponsorship of the tournament expands Humana’s involvement with the PGA TOUR. As one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health benefits companies, Humana has been a marketing partner of the TOUR since 2005 and is the “Official Health Benefits Company of the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour.”

“President Clinton and his Foundation have had an enormous impact over the past years on improving lives by transforming ideas into real action,” said Humana Chairman and CEO Michael B. McCallister.  “We see the partnership with the Clinton Foundation, the PGA TOUR and the Classic as an effective way to showcase the importance and overall benefits of a healthy lifestyle and what needs to be done to improve overall health and well-being for everyone.”

“The PGA TOUR has always been a leader in philanthropy,” President Clinton said.  “I’m so pleased that my Foundation has committed to working with the TOUR and Humana to raise awareness for global health and continue to improve the lives of people around the world. Through the Clinton Global Initiative, members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have helped 300 million people in more than 170 countries. My Foundation has helped 4 million people gain access to life-saving HIV/AIDS medications, but there is still more work to be done. By joining with the PGA TOUR and Humana, we can further our efforts to improve global health, strengthen economies, and protect the environment.”

President Clinton will have a prominent role in both the conference and the tournament including key messaging and a presence in the tournament telecast.

Since its introduction in 1960 as the Palm Springs Golf Classic, the tournament has generated more than $50 million for charity and literally funded the construction of the Eisenhower Medical Center, thanks in large part to Bob Hope becoming involved as tournament host in 1965. The Bob Hope Classic traditionally is played the third week of the PGA TOUR season and is the first tournament on the U.S. mainland.

“We have always felt that the Bob Hope Classic is more than just a golf tournament and we could not be more pleased that Humana, the Clinton Foundation and the PGA TOUR are enhancing the mission of this event in the spirit of Bob Hope’s legacy of giving back,” said John Foster, Chairman of the Bob Hope Classic.  “Mr. Hope epitomized a healthy lifestyle, was friend to Presidents and Kings, believed in the good works of this tournament, and would certainly be thrilled with today’s announcement.”