Golf News for Wednesday, January 16, 2008 | Daily Golf Blogs

Chris Baldwin: Bob Hope Classic has gone downhill fast

The Bob Hope Chrysler Classic - the first PGA event of the season in the continental U.S. - has turned into a bad tournament pretty quickly. Only a few years ago, you could find both Phil Mickelson and Justin Timberlake out in the California desert.

This year, your biggest names are Mike Weir and Samuel L. Jackson, who forgot how to make a good movie about six years ago.

While, this isn't a compelling tournament - unless you want to see if American Idol's worst winner ever (which is really saying something) no-talent Taylor Hicks is even more annoying than his band of Soul Patrol loser fans - it's now being played on some of the very best new courses in greater Palm Springs.

The Classic Club, which debuted with the tournament in 05, is a big, bold course with monster wide fairways and tons of striking water obstacles that was actually built to host this PGA Tournament. How good is Classic Club? Even USA Today Golf Blogger/club flinger Larry Olmsted - who doesn't just show how out of touch he is when he tries to rip me every few months (the latest a supposed rebuttal to my truth telling about New York being a horrible golf city in which he concedes "There is no doubt that New York is one of the less golf friendly cities in the country" or what I said) - knew enough to ask me about it when we were in my car together in California a few months ago. Yes, Olmsted and I are actually tight.

Or he was on this short ride when I "forgot" to move my son's car seat and he spent it wedged against the dashboard with his knees on his chin. Then, refused to ride back with me (typical). Those Guinness Book of World Record holders are all prima donna.

Anyway, point is, if even Olmsted has heard of a course in Palm Springs, you know it's been getting mad press.

I'm even more interested to see how SilverRock looks on the Golf Channel. While SiverRock isn't nearly as well known as Classic Club, I loved this Arnold Palmer monster (7,578 yard) when I played it two years ago even though it had some serious conditioning issues at the time. In fact, the PGA Tour rejected SilverRock for two years and required "tweaks" to the tune of an additional $5 million dollars before finally letting it join the Classic rotation this year (it was supposed to come in at the same time as Classic Club in 2005).

SilverRock's 603-yard seventh hole with its fairway dissected by a lake is a daunting look for regular golfers. Though, as with most of the course, it's the gigantic deep bunkers and village-sized waste areas that are liable to do you in rather than the water. SilverRock isn't one of those Palm Springs courses that just lets you see mountains in the near distance either. It has you playing right underneath them and sometimes right against them.

For more on SilverRock, check out my full review.

For more on Idol's gray-haired moron, look for a large band of overweight desperate housewives (large in girth, not actual numbers). Hicks won't be far behind. And don't worry Soul Patrol. I expect a blog any day now from Olmsted on how this Taylor Hicks guy is really underrated.

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