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Bob was the ultimate sport fan. A boxer, a pool hustler, he also once owned part of the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Rams ("Both before they learned how to play the game".) He loved football. On television, it was his tradition to introduce the AP All American Football Team on his Christmas special each year.) And it was always a treat for him to visit or watch his favorite team, The San Diego Chargers. BUT, golf was his game. He was an avid golfer and has been quoted as saying "Golf is my profession. I tell jokes to pay my green fees."

 

Bob was one of the foremost proponents of the game and has contributed immensely to the popularity of golf - as a participant, a spectator and as an author.

His book, "Confessions of a Hooker," which spotlights the memorable moments of his more than fifty years of golfing, was on the New York Times 'best seller' list for 53 weeks. In prominent display in his trophy room were: the Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association, the Golf Writer's Gold Tee Award and a PGA medal honoring him as "one of the three men who have done the most for golf." And most evident; a silver cup from Sports Illustrated commemorating his fifth hole-in-one fired at Butler National Golf Course in Oak Brook, Illinois. (He added two more holes-in-one to his record at courses in Palm Springs.) Enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame is a bas relief of his profile with a plaque that reads, "BOB HOPE - known by his nose, applauded for his humor, envied for his wit and loved by millions for his unselfish concern for all beings, Bob Hope is truly one-of-a-kind. He popularized golf to the unknowing, sponsored it for charity and played it for fun. Not a golf champion but a great champion of golf."

Probably his greatest achievement in golf was the development and hosting of the Bob Hope/Chrysler Classic, a pro-am tournament held annually in Palm Springs, California. Now in its 45th year, the Classic draws the most famous pros and celebrity amateurs. A total charity effort, the Classic has raised over 40 million dollars for the Eisenhower Medical Center and 70 other deserving desert charities.

Bob played on some 2,000 courses - from Brazil to Bangkok, Alaska to Australia - in the company of golfs top professionals, caddies, celebrities, generals and sometimes even presidents. In 1995 the favorite foursome to tee off at the Desert Classic featured President Bill Clinton and former presidents George Bush and Gerald Ford and Bob Hope. Hope's 'take' at the end of play included "Clinton had the best score, Ford the most errors and Bush the most hits... me, I cheated better than ever."

It was said of Hope that "if he could live his life over again -- he wouldn't have time." In the words of John Steinbeck, concerning Hope: "It is impossible to see how he can do so much, can cover so much ground, can work so hard and be so effective. There's a man. There really is a man."

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