LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Sunscreen? Check. Sunglasses? Check.
The Bob Hope Classic, with its roster of celebrities and its casual air, always presents a surreal menu, for a major sports event.
Opening day Wednesday was no different, the tourney even separating itself from the weather chaos all around. While most of Southern California sloshed through battering rainstorms and kept an eye out for mudslides, there was a full day of golf in the desert. The tourney wasn't so fortunate Thursday with rain washing out a Hope round for the first time in 30 years.
But back to Wednesday when there was golf -- such as it is.
To review, this is the PGA Tour stop where spectators ask Bo Jackson, Kurt Russell and Bruce Jenner for the autographs and leave the golfers alone.
It's been a while, of course, since the tourney drew a strong field of touring pros. Mike Weir, at No. 37, is the highest-ranked golfer in the mix this time.
Tiger Woods has never played here. The closest the Hope will ever get to Tiger is current entry Jesper Parnevik, the matchmaker who put Woods and wife Elin together, a round now scored as a 14-over par.
That's OK. The Hope lives in its own, unique world. Oh, there will be some respectable golf played in the tour's only five-round event. And by Sunday, when the celebrities and amateurs are gone, it will finish up like any other tournament that happens to pop out a handful of contenders you can't say you've ever heard of.
In the meantime, if the inevitable rain lets up, the first four days will be the usual odd mix of Hollywood, duck hooks, football, slices, wise-cracking celebs, rock 'n' rollers, baseball and big divots interspersed within a PGA event worth $900,000 to the winner.
The best thing about the Hope is that it's the only place on Earth where acerbic, scotch-drinking comedian Ron White can offer good advice to Dr. Phil (McGraw), who is too out of control to take advantage.
"I hit an 8-iron, Doc," said the obliging White to the TV counselor, shortly after hitting a tee shot over water on the par-3 17th hole at SilverRock Resort to the back of the green. "You got that wind right behind you."
Of course, White had a cigar in his mouth, which he apparently used as a weathervane, and Dr. Phil didn't. The advice-meister can dish it out, but he can't take it -- promptly skulling a line drive into the lake.
Wednesday a persistent, golf-dream-chasing 39-year-old named Shane Bertsch, who has never finished higher than 123rd on the PGA money list, scorched a 62 out of the Nicklaus Course at PGA West for the first-round lead. Nice story.
I could be wrong, but I'd bet more people watched Alice Cooper hit more shots. One guy even cared enough about the graying rocker's game to shout, "Alice, what did you hit back there?"
Alice didn't answer, maybe because the normally fan-friendly singer had smoked a fairway wood into the water protecting the 18th green at SilverRock, and perhaps he was feeling that "No More Mr. Nice Guy" thing.
No matter. The point is, as an on-scene experience, the Hope remains more kitschy than cool. More style than substance. More time warp than timely, a place where 1990 fame endures no matter what the 2010 handicap reads.
Yes, there's still a place for the Hope in the world, as long as you approach it from the proper perspective, which comedian White inadvertently hit upon. A fan asked him if he was having a good time.
"I'm having a blast," he said. "I wouldn't call it great golf."