Monday, January 26, 2009

The Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament

Even if you aren't a golf fan, chances are you may have heard of The Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament. It's been going on since 1960 and is known for attracting major golf pros and celebrities who participate to help in the fundraising effort. The organizing body, Desert Classic Charities is "dedicated to serving human needs in the Coachella Valley with funds generated by operating the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic". It is one of the premier celebrity pro and amateur golf tournaments in the world. Each year the Classic distributes its net proceeds to deserving charities in the Coachella Valley who apply for grants. Since it's inception in 1960, they have donated over $45 million, all of which stays within the Coachella Valley to benefit the greater Palm Springs desert community.

Ever since it began, the Classic was known for attracting major celebrities, such as Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Phil Harris, Desi Arnaz, Ray Bolger, Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Sinatra, Jack Benny, Andy Williams, Lawrence Welk, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jackie Gleason, Dean Martin, Barbara Eden, Gloria Loring, Linda Carter, Lexie Brockway and Terry Ann Browning just to name a few.

The tradition of including non-golf sports stars began with the early greats such as Willie Mays, Joe Louis, Johnny Bench, Merlin Olsen, John McKay, Maury Wills and Bear Bryant. Over the years major sports figures from Basketball, Football and Baseball continue to participate each year. The Classic has featured several US Presidents including Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald R. Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton & George W Bush. So as you can imagine, this is one major golf tournament in our area. Comedian Bob Hope was a fixture in Palm Springs as far back as the 1960's. His mountain side mid-century modern "mushroom shaped" home is still a popular attraction. He loaned his name to the tournament and worked tirelessly for many years to attract big names to make the event a success each year. To this day, the Classic retains his name in honor of Bob Hope. I thought I'd include a series of photos from the event. All photos are from our newspaper, The Desert Sun:

above: pristine yet challenging pro golf courses

above: the majesty of the mountains and palm trees make this a highly desirable destination for golfers worldwide.

above: The Bob Hope Classic Girls are always a hit....

Celebrity Golfers Galore
above: actor Chris O'Donnell and actor William Devane

above: comedian Kevin Nealon and actor Kurt Russell

above: Singer Huey Lewis and rock legend Alice Cooper

above: singer Michael Bolton and actor Oliver Hudson
Pro Golfers Too
above: Bubba Watson and classic host Arnold Palmer

above: Steve Stricker and Pat Perez
above: Fred Couples
It has been another fantastic year for the Bob Hope Classic...I hope you enjoyed these photos!
-Rick Rockhill


Anonymous said...

Yup, I remember it... I grew up with a golfing father and golfing brothers... Had to watch many a tournament on TV...

snowelf said...

I want to move to the desert.
*taps heels*



jackie said...

oh my gosh that looks so incredible right about now.

Kathy said...

I most certainly did enjoy it!

kenju said...

I don't play golf, but I love walking on courses because they are so pretty - and that one is magnificent!

whimsical brainpan said...

Don't ask me why, but it tickled me to no end to see the picture of Huey Lewis and Alice Cooper next to each other.

It is a very beautiful course BTW.

Desert Songbird said...

Alice Cooper loves celebrity golf tournaments. He took up golf to quit drinking, and now he's a golf fanatic.

Rhodester said...

I met Alice Cooper when he was at the Hilton last March, which was quite a surreal experience. He was wearing pink and we talked about fruit crackers. He shattered every illusion I had about rockers from my youth, which was good.. I think.

whimsical brainpan said...

PS You have been tagged.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It certainly is The "Classic" as it is named....! It would be amazing to read the list of ALL the people who have participated in this Great Fund Raiser since 1960....!It would read like a Who's Who of The 20th Century Famous----Well, Men Only, of! Back in the late 1960's I got to meet Eisenhower when he was in Pakm Springs---as he often was---Playing Golf...And a part of that Tournement, no doubt!

WAT said...

Chris O'Donnell!




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