Arnold Palmer to host Bob Hope Classic

Arnold Palmer is the new host of the Bob Hope Classic, ending speculation that he would
be the one to replace George Lopez. Below is the release.

ARNOLD PALMER NAMED HOST OF 2009 BOB HOPE CHRYSLER CLASSIC

The man who won the event five times will host its 50th anniversary next year

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. Golf and Palm Springs icon Arnold Palmer will host the 50th anniversary of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, to be played Jan. 19-25, 2009.

Palmer has not only played the tournament 42 of its 50 years, he also won five of his 62 PGA TOUR titles there, including his last, and hes as much a staple of the Coachella Valley as the tournament itself.

We cant think of a more appropriate person to help us celebrate our 50th year of this wonderful event, said Bob Hope Chrysler Classic President Dave Erwin. In addition to his success as a player here, Arnolds classic style and unmatched connection to his adoring fans helped us reach such an honorable milestone. We feel privileged to have him as our host for this special year and know that Bob would agree.

It was very special to me when I was asked to serve as the host of next years 50th anniversary Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, said Palmer, who won the inaugural event in 1960. I enjoyed some of my greatest success in the Hope in the early years and have loved the Palm Springs area ever since I first went there. I consider it a great honor to follow in the footsteps of Bob Hope as host of this wonderful tournament, which has been a mainstay on the PGA Tour for so many years. I thought the world of Bob Hope and spent many priceless hours with him on and off the golf course.

Palmers 62 career wins seven majors rank him fifth on the all-time wins list, but it was his go-for-broke style and approachable, charismatic personality that made him a fan favorite.

Below is a detailed timeline of Palmers connection to the tournament.

1960: Palmer wins the inaugural Palm Springs Golf Classic, the tournament that would be renamed for Bob Hope.

1962: Palmer wins Palm Springs Golf Classic for second time.

1963: Palmer has a cameo in Bob Hope’s movie “Call Me Bwana.”

1966: Palmer loses a playoff in the Hope tournament to Doug Sanders.

1968: Palmer wins third Hope title.

1971: Palmer defeats Ray Floyd in a playoff to win his fourth Hope title.

1973: Palmer overtakes and then holds off Jack Nicklaus to win his fifth Hope title and the 62nd and final PGA Tour title of his career.

1997: Palmer misses the Hope tournament because of prostate cancer surgery, the first time he skips the tournament.

2001: In the final round of the Hope at the Palmer Course at PGA West, Palmer shoots a 1-under 71, becoming the first player in event history to shoot his age.

The 50th annual Bob Hope Chrysler Classic Hosted by Arnold Palmer is Jan. 19-25, 2009. Since the inception of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in 1960, the tournament has donated $45.5 million to charities throughout the Coachella Valley. For further details, visit www.bhcc.com or call 1.888.MRBHOPE (672.4673).

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About Jill Painter

Jill Painter is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles News Group, covering everything from the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, USC, UCLA, Kings, golf and all human interest stories in sports.