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Palmer laments end of Hope but looks to future

Golfing great Arnold Palmer has a closer connection than most to the Bob Hope Classic. He won it five times between 1960 and 1973, indeed the 1973 event was his 62nd and final victory on the PGA Tour.

So now that the Bob Hope Classic has gone the way of tournaments named after Dean Martin, Bing Crosby and Andy Williams, Palmer is both nostalgic and realistic about the changes that the newly-named Humana Challenge.

"Of course I'm sad for one thing, that it isn't the Bob Hope anymore. That's something that I suppose they ought to think about, how to incorporate Hope's name into it,"

Palmer said in an interview with The Desert Sun from his offices at Bay Hill Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. "But I'm happy that Humana has picked it up and is moving it forward."

Palmer was always an advocate of having celebrities in event, he said.

"I thought that was pretty good. That was something that helped promote the tour," Palmer said.

"I can't tell you why it doesn't continue with names," he added. "I suppose there are not as many celebrity golfers like there were like Hope and Crosby. Guys that were noted for their acting and in the entertainment world would then lend their names to the tournament."

However, Palmer is happy to see the tournament aligned with former President Bill Clinton, stepping the footsteps of former presidents, Dwight Eisenhower and Gerald Ford, who helped promote the game and brought fans to the Hope event.

"(Clinton) will do a lot for the tournament," Palmer said.

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