A story is told of a show-biz personality who turned up "very tired," as they put it, on the first tee at the Hope. He teed up his ball and took a swing at it, missing on the outside. Then he missed on the inside. Then he picked up, at which point his partner said, "Don't stop now. You have a no-hitter going."
Dave Marr, now a television commentator, recalls his first Crosby. He played with Robert Goulet, who Marr says, "hadn't had much instruction." But that seldom matters on such occasions. More memorable was walking to the practice putting green at the Del Monte Lodge and hearing a terrible scream coming from the ground-floor bar. Marr ran over, thinking someone had been killed. It turned out to be Johnny Weissmuller giving his Tarzan yell.
"Another time," Marr says, "I went to the putting green at dawn—I had an early tee time—and no one was around, not even fans. The only person there was Gordon MacRae, who was practicing while singing Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'. And, you know, it was."
There is a pleasant camaraderie for the participants, but why does the public pay good money to watch mediocre golf? SI's Dan Jenkins says, "They just want to see celebrities standing around in their cashmeres looking like they do on television. They don't particularly want to see them looking for a ball in the ice plant. Most people live in St. Louis, or somewhere, and the only celebrity they've ever seen is a local disc jockey opening a new supermarket. If Tom Brokaw went to Des Moines and played Ping-Pong, people would flock to see him.
"I remember when I was 10 or 11, Bob Hope came to Fort Worth to play a golf exhibition at River Crest Country Club. It must have been to sell war bonds. I hustled out there and went 18 holes—not to see how well Hope hit the golf ball but just to see Bob Hope. I'll never forget one of his lines. He stood on a tee, addressing the ball. Then somebody started up a movie camera, which in those days made a considerable noise. Hope looked at the guy and said, 'Why the hell don't you shave at home?' Everybody fell down laughing, including me. It may have been the last time I ever laughed at a celebrity."