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Volume 26 No. 209
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Lefty's Role As Host Expected To Boost PGA Tour's Palm Springs Stop

Mickelson is the third full-time host of the event, following comedians Bob Hope and George Lopez
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Mickelson is the third full-time host of the event, following comedians Bob Hope and George Lopez
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Mickelson is the third full-time host of the event, following comedians Bob Hope and George Lopez
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Phil Mickelson will host this week's PGA Tour event in Palm Springs for the first time, saying the move came as title sponsor American Express and the event asked him and his wife, Amy, to "take on a bigger role," according to Larry Bohannan of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. Mickelson had served as an ambassador for the event since '17, but he said, "My wife, Amy, and I have decided that this is the right fit, and we want to have a more direct involvement in the charitable support and contributions here in the valley." Mickelson is the "third full-time host of the desert's PGA Tour event," following comedians Bob Hope and George Lopez. Arnold Palmer served as a host in '09, but only for the one year, the tournament's 50th playing. Mickelson's ambassador role had been "more behind the scenes than his new hosting role." In essence, his role was to "talk up the tournament and its early season benefits to his fellow players." Mickelson said of AmEx' new five-year title sponsorship deal, "Now we have the partner that we want to bring it to a whole other level" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 1/12).

CLOSER TO THE HEART: The DESERT SUN's Bohannan noted this year's event will have a "new charitable arm," as the Phil Mickelson Foundation replaces Desert Classic Charities. Event officials and the foundations BOD see a "chance for a revitalized tournament with greater community support and larger community donations in the coming years." DCC had "controlled the desert's tournament since its debut in 1960," running the event and distributing $60M in 60 years. But over the last decade, the tournament "saw both Humana and CareerBuilder join and then leave the tournament as title sponsors." More importantly, DCC's local charity distributions "drifted lower and lower" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 1/11). Bohannan in a separate piece noted with AmEx as the new title sponsor, it is "easy to feel" that the tournament has a "new beginning." Few companies in the world "can match American Express for branding success." A lot of people around the world "have a little plastic card in their wallets or purses that now serves as a reminder about the desert's PGA Tour event." Powerful companies "know how to use that power to promote themselves and their partnerships, and we should see that from American Express in the coming years" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 1/12).