PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

'A once-great event like the Hope'

March 09, 2010

It isn't often that a tournament will acknowledge its own decline (if not demise), but the Bob Hope Classic's new tournament chairman has done so. The first step to recovery, they say, is admitting you have a problem.

"I welcome the opportunity to work with a once-great event like the Hope, and it will be rewarding to bring it back to its place on the tour," Larry Thiel, the new tournament director of the Hope, told the Desert Sun's Larry Bohannan.

Thiel is a former president of the Jack Nicklaus Management Group, with which he was involved in the operation of the Memorial. He also was the tournament director of the International at Castle Pines Golf Club in Castle Rock, Colo., until its demise in 2007.

The Hope went forward this year without a sponsor and did not have the kind of field that might attract one. Mike Weir, No. 37 in the World Ranking at the time, was the highest ranked player in the field.

At least it's a problem with which Thiel is familiar. As the tournament director at the International, he was determined to get Tiger Woods back in the fold, but was unable to do so and it eventually contributed to the demise of the tournament.

-- John Strege