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Volume 25 No. 112
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Clinton Foundation Withdraws From PGA Tour's CareerBuilder Challenge, Mickelson Stepping In

The Clinton Foundation is withdrawing from its role as a partner in the PGA Tour's CareerBuilder Challenge after five years, meaning President Bill Clinton "will not continue as the unofficial host of the tour event," according to a front-page piece by Larry Bohannan of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. Phil Mickelson "will become the ambassador for the 58th annual tournament next January." Desert Classic Charities President John Foster said that the CareerBuilder tournament "has retained" Lagardere Sports as a consulting firm for the local event. Lagardere operates tournaments on the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour and represents "about two dozen PGA Tour players, including Mickelson." The departure of the Clinton Foundation from the tournament, which officials "stressed was not related to the arrival of Mickelson, comes as the former president is busy campaigning for his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as she tries to lock down the Democratic presidential nomination." The foundation "joined the tournament" in the summer of '11 at the same time healthcare company Humana became the event’s title sponsor. Bill Clinton "has made appearances at each of the last five tournaments." But in recent years, the Clinton Foundation "has come under increasing scrutiny during Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency, with questions about the foundation’s funding and internal operations." Meanwhile, Mickelson's role "has not been defined for now." But Foster said that he hopes Mickelson "will be able to help the tournament recruit PGA Tour players and continue the trend of stronger fields in the event over the last five years." Mickelson’s name "will not be part of the official tournament title" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 5/19). Bohannan notes it is "impossible to overstate how important the foundation was as the golf tournament teetered on the brink of extinction" in '11 (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 5/19).