What they said: John Foster, Linda Hope, Mike McCallister

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January 19, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Humana Challenge transcript archive

JOHN FOSTER: Thank you and good morning. I'm going to start in the beginning and in the beginning I think this community, all of us at Desert Classic Charities, want to acknowledge the work that the TOUR has done putting this together. Tim Finchem put this together knowing both parties and thought it would be a good fit. And I think we have hit a home run there and we would like to just put our "we" in there. We didn't have much to do with it, quite frankly, but we're sure happy to get in the way of this.

Rick Larson, he's with the PGA TOUR, he's worked hard for six, seven months, I don't know, this has not been a long time to put together and I think when you go out and see what's happening out here, it's amazing what the transformation has been. And it's been a very, a lot of people in the background working very hard from Humana, from the Clinton Foundation, to the TOUR, and all the staff and directors of this tournament. So we're excited about that.

The other thing that these two partners, Humana and the Clinton Foundation were very, we first got into the first talks, the sensitivity in this community for the legacy and remembrance of Bob Hope is very close to our heart. And if you go around there's probably no popular, more popular person in the desert than Bob Hope.

Highly respected, served this tournament for so many years, was here every year, rain or snow, very important man, never missed a beat. So everybody has great respect for him.

Likewise, the TOUR and Clinton Foundation and Humana, we're also very cognizant of that. They have gone out of their way to make sure we have a long-term legacy of Bob Hope.

We're going to be unveiling a trophy here, but you'll also see all around here on the grounds the legacy portrayed, whether it's from the World Golf Hall of Fame, who we have Jack Peter here, who is the CEOO, it's going to be a wonderful experience for you to go through there. As you go through the Hope Square as we call it, it's very interactive, Humana's got a wonderful booth there, a lot of community effort out there. You'll have the Boys and Girls Club Jazz Band playing, you'll have all kinds of really fun things. So it's a great effort there. So I'm very excited and really thankful that we got such wonderful partners.

With that, I would like to introduce Mike McCallister, he's our new best friend, and we hope Mike plays in this until he can't play anymore.

MIKE MCCALLISTER: Thanks, John. And welcome everyone. Glad to see all of you here. It's been an interesting year as we have gotten involved. I can tell you that the relationship with the Clinton Foundation has been really off to a great start. We have worked with the PGA TOUR around the country for a number of years, so that relationship was in place, but it was an interesting phone call when Mr.Finchem called me and said, I have an idea, because he and I had been talking for a very long time about golf and fitness and wellness and the chance to elevate that idea on the back of a wonderful national platform, which is the PGA TOUR and the fact that so many golfers represent people that do take care of themselves and so all of that fit together very nicely and really launched us I think in a real positive direction.

I would like to speak to the folks at the local community here, it has been amazing, we're not a company that I think was real well known in this part of the country, but the welcome we have received has been absolutely spectacular. Our plans for this are to go beyond just the golf aspects of it. That's the critical key foundation, but we have been working over a number of months trying to do things in the community, to raise the profile of the company's relationship.

Over the weekend we had the pleasure of building a playground in Thermal, in an area where we talked on Tuesday at the Health Conference about the idea of meeting infrastructure and places for people to get out and do things. This was a perfect example of that. We worked with our partners, Kaboom, which is a great national organization building these things.

We got involved in a walk, we have been involved in the farmers market, so we're looking for ways to be a much bigger participant in the community. And do that not just the week of the tournament, but over many months.

So it's exciting. I do have a challenge for you this morning to go with the title of the tournament, and if you haven't picked up your pedometers, please do so, because there's an extra half a million dollars in donations that are going to go into this community, over and above everything that's happened so far, based on how many steps we all take. And it's a half a million dollars and I think we're going to have a lot of fun trying to keep up with everyone, measure your work, and ultimately to help the community beyond what we had originally planned.

So it's a great opportunity to be here, we appreciate it, the partnerships have been terrific with the local folks, the TOUR, the Clinton Foundation people, and I think the idea of raising the conversation around the nation's health is an important issue and we can have a lot of fun doing it on the back of a golf tournament.

So that's what it's all about and we really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of it. Linda, I think it's yours.

LINDA HOPE: Thank you, Mike. I'm very, very pleased to be here today and all I can say is a big wow. I mean, this is such an exciting event and Mike and all of his people from Humana and the Clinton Foundation have done just a splendid job in promoting something that was really near and dear to the heart of Bob Hope and also his family.

I can tell you that he would be absolutely thrilled and so happy to see that the energy has come back to this tournament and back to this community that he loved so much.

He and my mother, when they started out with this golf tournament, I don't know how many-- John, you can tell how many years ago that was -- 65 years ago. And he did play before that. That's just about as long as I've been around and as long as I can remember both of my parents have been very, very committed to the Palm Springs area, the Coachella Valley, and I remember many many weekends as a kid just getting in the car and in those days you didn't have the freeway, and it was a long schlep to Palm Springs.

And my mother would pick us up after school at 3 o'clock and around 7 o'clock we would roll into Palm Springs. They had a small house on El Alameda in Palm Springs. And that was their weekend.

They loved to be down here to play golf, to enjoy their friends, and the spirit, the fun of the parties that they had, the big Italian dinners that mother used to mix up her healthy antipasto salad and all of that and have the players and the celebrity friends. That energy is coming back. I think dad would have been absolutely happy as can be that this is what's happening. And it's what he was committed to.

He lived a very healthy life. Every day of his life, no matter where he was, he would be out there before he went to bed taking about a 45 minute walk. And it would -- some days when you would know some of these places he would be in, the hotels would be downtown and the inner cities. He would get out there and people would say, "Bob, you know, might not be too safe down here where you're walking." "Hell with it," he said, "I've never had any problem." He had no body guards, he would take his golf club and.

(Laughter.)

He would be out there and walk and people would stop him and say, "Bob, Bob Hope?" And he would say, "I think so."

(Laughter.)

You know, he would have an exchange with people there. And it would never, he never had any problem pursuing that thing. I don't know how and why he felt committed to doing that walk, and that was after hopefully some time on the golf course, at least two or three times a week he would get out there.

People used to tell the story of or dad used to say how he and Bing Crosby used to, when they were doing the road pictures together, used to tell the lighting director, "Listen, fix this shot so that we have time to go out and play a fast nine holes or hit some balls at the nearby golf course."

So he just being healthy, being able to play golf, and then being involved with this tournament for so many years, have all been a really important part of his life and I think he would be thrilled to know that Humana and the Clinton Foundation have followed through.

And, I mean you couldn't ask for a better kind of partnership. It's something that they would be very proud of. And people come up to me and say, "Oh, what do you think, there's no Bob Hope in the name of the tournament." There's Bob Hope all over this tournament. And his spirit is here, his energy, and it's what I think he would be most proud of.

And, Mike, thank you so much for keeping his name up there and for your challenge for the people. He would have been the first one to have one of your pedometers on.

So anyway, everybody, have a great tournament and he's looking down and so is my mother, and proud as can be to be involved with Humana and the Clinton Foundation. Thank you and, John, thank you too, for keeping the banner and holding strong with all of this. And the Eisenhower Hospital as well.

(Applause.)

You know, which was done many years ago. My dad gave the property initially and was very involved, my mother was the first chairman of the board, and all of it ties in towards-- we don't want people to end up at the Eisenhower Hospital, but it's there and it's benefited by this wonderful tournament. And thank you again, everybody.

MIKE MCCALLISTER: Thanks, Linda.

(Applause.)

MIKE MCCALLISTER: I can tell you when we were holding early meetings about what to do here, the Bob Hope legacy was one of the things from our perspective that was actually a little intimidating. Because we didn't know how to go forward because we certainly didn't want this legacy to go away for all the reasons that are clear to everyone in this room.

So we worked hard and we worked with John and his folks to try to figure out exactly how to do this. And one of the things that became clear early on is we had an opportunity to, through the trophy, to do one thing, in addition to everything else that's happened here, so we went at it with the idea of developing a trophy that represented his legacy, as well as tied together the newer components of the tournament.

So before I show it to you, there are several key pieces and they all make sense, believe it or not. But before I do that, we were fortunate also enough, right in our neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, to have one of the most renowned artists in the world, and he was very close, and he's with us today, Ken, would you stand up. Ken von Roenn is the designer.

(Applause.)

MIKE MCCALLISTER: And the artist that made this possible. It is an interesting design, it weighs a lot, we have been hoping we could move it around without breaking it this week. We have done okay so far. There's a round globe at the top and it actually represents the global reach of the Clinton Foundation.

One of the great advantages of having them involved here is the significant impact that their participation has on the profile of the tournament and their deep desire and interest in improving people's health. That's in there, there's a spiral aspect to this which represents growth, health, and movement, which we think is important. And then lastly it has Bob Hope's name on it, it is the Bob Hope Trophy and it gathers up his legacy and makes sure that it goes forward. So those were the three big components and so with that I will show it to you now.

(Trophy unveiled.)

(Applause.)

It's three sided and one side here it says the Bob Hope Classic 1959 to 2011, recognizing the history. And so we're proud to be a part of this and to go forward together. And thanks for being here and for your kind words. Appreciate it very much. Thank you.

LINDA HOPE: Thank you.

(Applause.)

Q. Obviously this had to, like John was saying, everything's come together very quickly. When was this commissioned, how fast did this come together??

MIKE MCCALLISTER: I asked Ken that question this morning. It took a couple of months to do it. I learned some things this morning over breakfast it takes days and days and days for glass to cure. So who knew.

(Laughter.)

So a couple months is about right. Isn't it, Ken?

KEN VON ROENN: Yeah. Yeah. Two months of agony and then two months of sweat.

MIKE MCCALLISTER: Two months of agony and two months of sweat, so, yeah.

Q. We're actually going to make, there are going to be five trophies made. This is, the original is to go to the winner, but of the replicas, one will be housed at the World Golf Hall of Fame with the Bob Hope exhibit, another in Eisenhower Hospital here, I think in the lobby, of course one to the winner, and then one for Humana and the Clinton Foundation to display.

And if I may, I want to recognize Martha Redman from Humana who really was in the lead of developing this, Martha, if you would stand over there. And somebody had to get this done?

(Applause.)

And Martha really was at the helm of doing this. So thank you very much for your efforts on this.

Q. Was there a reason they didn't do like Hope Humana Challenge and they just left the Hope off there all together? Was there a reason for that?

MIKE MCCALLISTER: We spent end less hours trying to decide the right way to do it. We ended up where we are and I think we got the right combination.

Q. Oh, it's great. I just was just--

MIKE MCCALLISTER: I must have seen 40 permutations of suggestions, so.

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