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Chrysler Classic Delays Change

Times Staff Writer

The Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, which promised a new look for 2006, already has done some remodeling.

Only one of the two new courses that were expected to debut will make it into the rotation -- the Arnold Palmer-designed Classic Course at NorthStar -- and it will serve as the tournament’s host course in its rookie year.

But the Classic Course at SilverRock, expected to be the other new entry, will not join the Hope until 2007, according to Hope executive board member John Foster, because of “drainage issues.”

The 7,553-yard layout, also designed by Palmer, and developed by the city of La Quinta, has been plagued by draining problems at the fourth hole created as a result of this winter’s rainstorms.

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“We think everyone is going to benefit by giving it a little more time,” Foster said Tuesday. “But we’re definitely not leaving there or altering our relationship with them.”

Also, the PGA Tour had suggested some alterations to the SilverRock course so it would better comply with tour standards, changes such as adding more trees and reconfiguring bunkers from “native desert” areas into traditional sand traps.

La Quinta City Manager Tom Genovese said he was surprised by the Hope’s decision to delay the course’s entry into the tournament’s four-course rotation.

With its contract to play at the Palmer Course at PGA West expiring after the tournament in January, the Hope signed a one-year deal to use the course in 2006. Foster said the tournament intends to pursue a long-term arrangement.

The other two courses to be played next year are La Quinta Country Club and Bermuda Dunes Country Club, which remains the only course that has been played every year since the tournament began in 1965. Bermuda Dunes was believed to be on the bubble if SilverRock had been ready and could have been dropped, as another original member, Indian Wells Country Club, was this year.

Foster said the Hope’s prize money will increase $300,000 to $5 million in 2006.


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