Bob Hope: The Man Can Still Draw a Crowd

And a crowd there was! PGA West’s Palmer Course was abuzz this past weekend with athletes, celebs, and fans for the 52nd annual Bob Hope Classic. Jhonattan Vegas won the professional tournament on Sunday with an impressive -3 score on the day after beating Bill Haas and Gary Woodland in a three-way shootout. Saturday, Antin, Palermo, and McCombs earned amateur honors as a team. Fans snaked around the fairways both days, trailing the leaders and their favorites, while I posted up on the lawn with friends and waved as they all walked by.

There was a certain energy in the air that was repeatedly commented on by our guests who had never attended the tournament before, and in thinking about it, it’s an energy that seems to permeate the Palm Springs lifestyle. Friendly, excited, calm, and convivial. It helped that, on Saturday, the tournament hosted celebrities like Alice Cooper, NFL quarterback Derek Anderson, judge on Dancing with the Stars Tony Dovolani, NBA great Julius “Dr. J.” Irving, Peter Gallagher, Oliver Hudson, two-sport champ Bo Jackson, Sugar Ray Leonard, MLB stars Greg Maddux and Evan Longoria, Kevin Nealon, Craig T. Nelson, Kurt Russell, and more.

Understandably, the town of La Quinta was packed throughout all of last week, and I was glad I had made a reservation at Ernie’s in the Stadium Course Club House on Saturday night. There was standing room only. Events like the Bob Hope Classic help me to remember why Palm Springs living is so fantastic. Everyone passing by during the tournament was incredibly friendly, so much so that we invited in a few strangers to imbibe with us for a brief moment in time.

Palm Springs golf legend

The dates are already set for the 2012 tournament (January 16-22, 2012) next year, and I have no doubt I’ll be there again. Will you?