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Old August 1st, 2008, 11:56 AM
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David Clarish David Clarish is offline
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Default Changes at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic for 2009

Classic Club out of Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
Wind drives tourney to put PGA West's Nicklaus into rotation

RANCHO MIRAGE — Just three years after a ballyhooed debut as the only course owned by a PGA Tour event, Classic Club is being dropped from the the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Tournament officials will announce today that Classic Club, hounded by a reputation as a windy course on the north side of Interstate 10 at Cook Street in Palm Desert, will be replaced in the four-course rotation of the tournament by the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West.

The change in courses was necessary given PGA Tour pros' increasing and sometimes vocal criticism that Classic Club could be too windy during the event's January dates.

“For the good of the tournament, to protect the field, we felt like we ought to react,” said John Foster, longtime board member of the Hope tournament.

The course changes help to centralize the Hope as a La Quinta tournament. In addition to the Nicklaus course, the Palmer Private Course at PGA West will again be used and will serve as the site of the Sunday-only pros round.

The other 2009 courses will be the city-owned SilverRock Resort in La Quinta and Bermuda Dunes Country Club. In 2010, when Bermuda Dunes rotates out for La Quinta Country Club, all four Hope courses will be in La Quinta.

Classic Club debuted in the Hope in 2006, just over a year after the course was donated to the tournament by the philanthropic H.N. and Frances Berger Foundation of Palm Desert.

As the first PGA Tour event to own its own course, Hope officials said at the time they hoped Classic Club would be the permanent host course for the event.

“The Berger Foundation understands the rotation adjustment for the 50th anniversary tournament and is anticipating added events for the Classic Club that will add financial support for valley charities along with the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic event,” said Ron Auen of the Berger Foundation in a statement announcing the course changes.

The Berger Foundation still owns commercial land around Classic Club it is developing.

Foster said the Hope board isn't ruling Classic Club out of future Hope tournaments or for other events.

The Arnold Palmer-designed Classic Club, into which the Hope board had input during the final phases of construction, was never criticized by tour players for its design or playability.

Instead, it was the idea that Classic Club was windier than the traditional older Hope courses that tended to be close to the mountains well south of Classic Club.

Foster admitted the Classic Club's reputation for days of strong winds proved too much to overcome, even though the course experienced almost no wind during the 2008 event.

“The issue we have was with the wind,” Foster said. “It was just on certain days when we played and the other courses didn't have any wind.”

The course's reputation was perhaps sealed on the final day of the 2007 Hope, a cold, windy day throughout the desert, when Phil Mickelson, a two-time Hope winner and the world's No. 2 ranked golfer, famously asked after his round, “Are they going to use this course again next year?”

Mickelson didn't play in the 2008 Hope.

Hope officials are making the move off their own course despite believing Classic Club is still a good venue and facility for tournament golf.

“Classic Club is a wonderful, challenging course donated to the tournament by the Berger Foundation,” Foster said. “It provides the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic organization with significant flexibility now and in the future.

“Because the tournament rotation includes the use of private clubs, the rotation is set annually. Thus in 2010, the rotation will be reviewed for the good of the tournament.”

PGA Tour officials have already made a first visit to the Nicklaus course to approve the layout for play.

The Nicklaus course, opened in 1987, was used in the 2000 PGA Tour final qualifying tournament. In the fourth round of that six-round event, David Gossett fired a 59 on the course, a round that would have tied the tour's all-time record for single-round scoring. Gossett's round included 11 birdies and a hole-in-one on the par-3 third hole.

With both the Nicklaus Private and Palmer Private courses in the rotation this year, it will mark the first time in the tournament's 50-year history that the Hope will play two courses at the same location.

The Nicklaus and Palmer courses operate out of the same clubhouse, meaning half of the 128-player pro field and half of the 384-player amateur field on each of the first four days of the PGA Tour's only five-day tournament will be at PGA West.

Bob Hope Chrysler Classic over the years
1960: The tournament debuts with Thunderbird, Tamarisk, Bermuda Dunes and Indian Wells country clubs as the four courses.

1961: Eldorado Country Club joins the rotation and is one of four courses played in the first four days of the event, along with Bermuda Dunes, Thunderbird and Indian Wells. The fifth, pro-only day is played at Tamarisk, making the tournament a five-day, five-course event.

1962: No course changes, but Bermuda Dunes becomes the Sunday course.

1963: Thunderbird leaves the tournament, becoming the first course to permanently leave the field. The event continues with four courses.

1964: La Quinta Country Club joins the event, replacing Tamarisk.

1969: Tamarisk returns to the event and begins an alternate-year rotation with Eldorado. The core group of Bermuda Dunes, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Tamarisk and Eldorado will remain through 1986.

1987: The TPC Stadium Course at PGA West joins the field, with Tamarisk, El Dorado and La Quinta dropping into a three-year rotation. Tamarisk is played this year.

1988: The Palmer Course at PGA West replaces the Stadium Course permanently.

1989: Eldorado Country Club is played for the final time, with La Quinta and Tamarisk staying. La Quinta will be played two years, then one year for Tamarisk.

1995: PGA West is dropped from the rotation, with Indian Ridge joining the tournament.

1998: The Palmer Course at PGA West returns, replacing Indian Ridge.

2004: Indian Wells is played in the tournament for the final time.

2005: Tamarisk is played for apparently the final time in the event.

2006: Classic Club debuts in the tournament as a permanent course and permanent host.

Jan. 15, 2008: SilverRock Resort is played for the first time, with Bermuda Dunes stepping out of the event for the first time.

July 31, 2008: Officials announce Classic Club is leaving the tournament, to be replaced by the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West. The 2009 event will feature the Palmer and Nicklaus Private courses at PGA West, SilverRock and Bermuda Dunes.

What are your thoughts on this?

For more INFORMATION on the Bob Hope Chrslyer Classic check there OFFICIAL Web Site:


Last edited by David Clarish; August 5th, 2008 at 02:54 PM.
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