, Port Arthur, Texas

Bob West

July 3, 2008

Bob Hope hooked for life by golf, Hughen students

Best of West column for Friday, July 4

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following column from the Best of West collection was originally published in the Port Arthur News on May 31, 1980.

Even now, after a half century of driving balls off the deck of aircraft carriers, playing in the company of presidents and working so hard at it he once entered the British Amateur as a four handicap, Bob Hope encounters no difficulty recalling exactly how his infatuation with the game began.

“It was 1930. Back when I was doing Vaudeville,” he reflects. “I was on what they called the Orpheum Circuit. Every morning I’d sit around the hotel with nothing to do. I kept seeing this group called the Diamond brothers come in carrying their clubs.

“They’re the ones who hooked me.”

Hooked, sliced or straight down the middle, neither Hope nor golf has been the same since. Entertaining may be his forte, but golf is his passion. Because it is, America will be forever indebted to the Diamond brothers.

Through golf, you see, Bob Hope has raised millions of dollars for charity. Nobody really knows how much, and he’s certainly not counting. But you can bet your next birdie numerous events such as this weekend’s Bum Phillips Celebrity Tournament have prospered because ‘ol ski nose got invovled.

His most notable contribution comes through the 90-hole Bob Hope Desert Classic, which helps kick off the professional tour ever year. Through that event alone, he’s helped raise more than $10 million for the Eisenhower Medical Center and related desert charities.

Hope’s busy schedule usually calls for a minimum of 20 pro-am appearances across the country. In the last month alone, he’s played at the Houston Open, the Byron Nelson and Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Classic. In between those biggies, he fits in appearances at tournaments like Harold’s Invitational in Houston and the Phillips Celebrity affair here.

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Bob West