John Feinstein - January 19, 2012


There is clearly an infusion of enthusiasm at the Humana Challenge thanks to Bill Clinton’s  involvement. He remembers back in 1993 when U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson had to almost drag his team to the White House because a number of team members were Republican and did not like Clinton’s policies. The PGA TOUR leans heavily Republican and many do not like President Obama but they recognize the importance of Clinton’s involvement despite political differences.

He voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 (he felt Clinton was actually to the right of his own political leanings) and feels that his legacy will involve the work that he did with a Republican Congress and a lot of good things although he admitted that it will inevitably involve Monica Lewinsky as well.

He does not feel that putting Bob Hope’s name on the Humana Challenge trophy is a big enough way to honor Hope for all of the work that he did with the event in the desert as well as the game of golf as a whole in his life. Feinstein does not understand why Humana could not also put Hope’s name in the tournament and call it the Bob Hope Humana Challenge. People still call the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am “the Crosby” even though his name is not on it anymore.

The PGA TOUR had to take the money in order to save the former Bob Hope Classic so while he does not agree with the removal of Hope’s name, he understands it. There have been so many corporate name changes over the years that the identity of many events have been either significantly reduced or outright eliminated and he feels that it is crucial for the PGA TOUR to keep ties to the past alive. He added that it would be a great PR move for Humana to keep Bob Hope’s name in the title.

His best celebrity golf story involves the first year of the fundraising event for Bruce Edwards’ foundation for research into ALS. His brother is a great player and he was able to put him in the same group as Tom Watson. It took about nine holes for his brother to finally say something to Watson and it was a great joy for him to see his brother so blown away by playing with Watson.

In reaction to Matt Every’s comments last week, he appreciated the honesty that he showed even if the content of his answers were pretty controversial. In this day and age we have become accustomed to not hearing straight answers from athletes. This is definitely true on the PGA TOUR as it is an organization that does not even make public its disciplinary actions. If the PGA TOUR chose to discipline Every for the remarks, he would want the action to be made public and then he would question the PGA TOUR about why they see fit to punish someone for being honest. He was not thrilled with Every’s comment about how his actions were not as bad as other players on the PGA TOUR but that comment was not as bad as things that other players have said in the past.