SBD/January 24, 2011/Events and Attractions

PGA Tour In Talks For Partnership With Clinton That May Include Bob Hope Classic

Clinton played in Bob Hope Classic while serving as President in '95
The PGA Tour in a statement released Saturday confirmed that Commissioner Tim Finchem has been in discussions with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative regarding a broad partnership that would involve the Tour's "Together, Anything's Possible" charitable initiative. The Tour added, "This includes the potential for leveraging the Bob Hope Classic as a focal point for this partnership. We would like to stress these discussions are in progress and any speculation as to the details would be premature" (PGA Tour). Bob Hope Classic officials said that they were "aware of the PGA Tour statement but declined comment" on the prospect of former President Bill Clinton or his foundation being involved in the event. The Hope, which concluded yesterday in La Quinta, Calif., is "one of two PGA Tour events without a title sponsor this year." Clinton played in the first round of the Hope while President in '95 (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 1/23).

PERFECT PAIRING: Golfer Joe Ogilvie on Friday suggested that Clinton as tournament host could be a "solution to reinvigorating the beleaguered Bob Hope Classic." Ogilvie: "I think it might need an A-list host that says, 'you know, this is an important event. The Eisenhower Medical Center has touched a lot of people's lives.' ... I think he was a Republican's best friend, even though he was a Democratic president. He obviously holds huge cachet with the Democratic party. And this tournament has always had a political element." Ogilvie added, "He also would bring in an A list-clientele and he could walk a sponsor in" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 1/21). In California, Larry Bohannan noted Tour and Hope officials "did a good job of keeping a lid on the potential partnerships" with Clinton until Ogilvie spoke out on Friday. Caution "may well be the key word now," since there is "nothing in writing that would unite the Hope and the PGA Tour with the Clinton Foundation or the Clinton Global Initiative." Clinton and his organizations "would not be sponsors of the Hope," so a title partner "would still be needed" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 1/23). Celebrities playing in last week's Hope offered "largely positive" responses to Clinton getting involved with the event, "as they feel it could take the tournament to another level." Actor Kurt Russell: "To have anyone of that stature to be involved with a golf tournament would be a great thing. I would hope this is true." Musician Alice Cooper said that if there "ever was a celebrity or personality who could help carry on the legacy of the tournament's namesake, a president would fit the bill." But actor William Devane said, "With a valley full of Republicans, good luck" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 1/23).
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