Bob Hope Classic President Downplays Report Humana Will Be Title Sponsor
PGA Tour Bob Hope Classic President John Foster yesterday indicated that a Golfweek.com report that Humana had signed as the event's new title sponsor and that the the tournament "would change its four-course, five-day format as soon as next January is premature,” according to Larry Bohannan of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. Foster said, “That report is premature and what I have seen so far is not totally accurate.” The report also stated that the tournament “will abandon the format it has used since the event debuted in 1960, using four courses over five days.” A source yesterday said that “at least some of the details in the report could be officially announced in the coming week if not sooner.” Some of those details “could include the deal with Humana, which already worked as the official health care provider for PGA Tour employees” since ‘05. The Hope “was known to be looking for a five- to seven-year commitment from a new sponsor” after title sponsor Chrysler left the event in '09 "after filing for bankruptcy and accepting federal bailout money.” The Hope “went on without a sponsor in 2010 and again in January.” Foster has indicated that the event “would be played again in 2012 even without a sponsor.” Bohannan notes the PGA Tour during this year's event announced that it was "in discussions with the Clinton Foundation, headed by former President Bill Clinton, that would align the Hope with the Clinton Global Initiative.” Foster confirmed that “the talks with the Clinton group are ongoing, but again said nothing has been finalized” (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 4/5).
THE INITIAL REPORT: GOLFWEEK’s Alex Miceli cited a source as saying that Humana “will be the title sponsor" of the Hope beginning next year. Humana will sign a "seven-year commitment," and the tournament will "move to network television." The Hope has tried to fill the void of Chrysler's title sponsorship by putting together a "patchwork group of non-title sponsors to bridge the $1.9 million that tournament organizers need to contribute to the purse and the $1 million that covers the TV obligation.” The TV obligation “will escalate" with the move to network TV and the "exposure to the event is expected to grow, as well.” Miceli reported the new sponsorship with Humana would include the Clinton Foundation as “part of the Hope’s charitable recipients” (GOLFWEEK.com, 4/4).