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Big names make for fun day at Bighorn

November 13, 2012

By Larry Bohannan, The Desert Sun

This article has been reposted courtesy of The Desert Sun.

Jim Colbert

PALM DESERT, Calif.- It is the kind of field that most professional golf tournaments would ballyhoo. Only this field, full of players with PGA TOUR and Champions Tour regular and major championship wins, is just for a friendly fund-raising pro-am at Bighorn Golf Club this week.

“It’s a three-day pro-am,” said Jim Colbert of the Bighorn Golf Club Charities Pro-Am Invitational, which started Monday at the Canyons Course. “Every one of the 20 pros, well. most of them have won on the PGA TOUR, regular tour and senior tour. I’d have to look, but 15 or 16 of them have won on both tours.”

Colbert, a winner of eight regular tour and 20 senior tour titles, is playing host to the tournament, which has its roots in the opening of the season at Bighorn and a similar pro-am the club hosted a decade ago for prostate cancer funds. Bighorn owner R.D. Hubbard asked Colbert if he could “get some of the guys” to come out for another event. Colbert figured he wouldn’t have to twist too many arms to get his friends to come to the desert for three days of golf in the desert.

“We used to run this very tournament without the pros. We’ve been doing it for 20-some years,” said Colbert, himself a Bighorn member since the early 1990s. “I told R.D. I’d call them. Nobody turned me down. We got an unbelievable list. I’m just barely paying their expenses. There is a little bit of prize money, but nobody came for the money. Half of the guys went up to Hubbard and said they don’t need the money.”

And while there are certainly a number of players in the event with desert ties, like Al Geiberger, Dave Stockton, Frank Beard, Hugh Baiocchi and Bighorn member Trevino, Colbert’s net cast fairly wide. The post-round lunch saw Stockton and Geiberger, long-time friends, sitting at the same table, while Bioachcci was sitting at a table with his son-in-law, Hall of Famer baseball players Johnny Bench.

“We got one who came from Hawaii (Dave Eichelberger) and four from Florida,” Colbert smiled.

For Colbert, who spent most of his summer in Kansas overlooking golf courses he owns and working with the First Tee Program of Manhattan, Kan., the brotherhood of professional golf is on display at Bighorn this week.

“You know, we support each other,” Colbert said. “You go do other things. This week we will do a little over $100,000 for the charity.”

That tournament, raining money for the club’s employee benefit fund, features two days of golf on the Canyons Course, one round on the Mountain Course, a fashion show for the players wives, a pairings party and other nighttime activities for the pros and the amateurs. How popular is the tournament? The event had a waiting list of 16 amateurs this year.

“It will be bigger next year,” Hubbard said. “Our members didn’t really know about it until they got back here this year. Now they find out.”

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