13 Celebrities Who Had PGA Tour Golf Tournaments Named for Them

Richard Nixon and Bob Hope at the Hope PGA Tour golf tournament

The PGA Tour's past, including its recent past, includes some famous celebrities. We're not talking about pro-ams, though, which have always been plenty. Or tournaments at which a non-golf celebrity (an actor, singer, entertainer) acted as the host.

We're talking about PGA Tour tournaments named for celebrities — celebs whose names were part of the tournament's official title. How often has that happened in tour history? There are some famous examples that most golf fans know, but it really hasn't happened all that often.

Here are 13 celebrities who've had PGA Tour tournaments named after them. (Celebs are listed alphabetically.)

1. Glen Campbell

The pop and country music performer was one of the biggest stars in music in the 1960s and 1970s, with a string of hits on the country and pop charts. He hosted the Glen Campbell Los Angeles Open from 1971 through 1983.

That's the tournament played at Riviera Country Club. It's still played today and is one of the older, continuously played tournaments on the PGA Tour. It was called the Los Angeles Open before Campbell got involved, and returned to that name for several years afterward.

2. Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby was one of the best celebrity golfers of all-time. He even entered the British Amateur Championship. So he's definitely the best golfer on this list of celebs.

His tournament, which he launched, was originally known as the Bing Crosby Professional-Amateur and is still the most famous of the tournaments discussed in this article.

Today we know it as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. When Crosby started it in 1937, it had a far more relaxed, get-together vibe — it was a place for celebrities and pro golfers to hang out together. During that time, the nickname "Crosby Clambake" was coined, and you'll still, occasionally, hear that nickname brought up about the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

3. Sammy Davis Jr.

From 1973 through 1988 the PGA Tour played the Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open, then the Canon Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open. The tournament was called the Greater Hartford Open Invitational before Davis' name was attached, and became the Canon Greater Hartford Open afterward. The tournament is still around today as the PGA Tour Travelers Championship.

4. Joe Garagiola

Garagiola is probably the least-known celebrity on this list today, but he was very famous in his time. He had been a professional baseball player, then became a broadcaster. He was a gameshow host and a frequent talk show guest.

From 1977 through 1983, the tournament — which was called the Chrysler Classic of Tucson the last time it was played in 2006 — was named the Joe Garagiola-Tucson Open.

5. The Gatlin Brothers

The Gatlin Brothers were major country music stars at one time, who carry on today in Branson, Mo. The most famous member was Larry Gatlin, who had many country hits in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Gatlins served as title hosts for one year (1988), the final year of the tournament's existence, of the Gatlin Brothers Southwest Golf Classic. The tournament was played for eight years in Abilene, Texas.

6. Jackie Gleason

Jackie Gleason was the comedian and actor who, decades before Wayne Gretzky, had the nickname "the great one." He was a large man famous for his appetite, and he loved golf.

From 1972 through 1980, Gleason served as host of what was then called the Jackie Gleason – Inverrary Classic. Today, you know it as the Honda Classic. For one year after Gleason's name was dropped, it was called the American Motors Inverrary Classic. Then Honda became the title sponsor, and today is the longest-running title sponsor on the PGA Tour.

7. Bob Hope

Legendary comedian and actor Bob Hope, like his good friend Bing Crosby, was an excellent golfer, and he, too, played in the British Amateur Championship.

In 1960, the PGA Tour launched the Palm Springs Golf Classic, a celebrity pro-am at the celebrity hotspot in the California desert. In 1965, Hope became the host of the event and the tournament was renamed the Bob Hope Desert Classic, a name it kept until 1994. It was later called the Bob Hope Classic and Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Hope died in 2003, but his name remained part of the tournament's official title until 2011. The tournament is still part of the PGA Tour today.

8. Dean Martin

Before Joe Garagiola had his name on the Tucson Open, Dean Martin did. From 1972-75, the tournament was called the Dean Martin Tucson Open. And that makes the Tucson Open the only PGA Tour tournament so far to have periods in its history when it was named for two different celebrities.

9. Ed McMahon

McMahon was Johnny Carson's guffawing sidekick for decades on The Tonight Show. Johnny was a tennis guy. Ed was a golf guy. And the Ed McMahon–Jaycees Quad Cities Open was the name of a PGA Tour tournament from 1975 through 1979. The tournament existed before and after McMahon was involved. It's still around today at the John Deere Classic.

10. Frank Sinatra

Yes, Sinatra golfed. But the Chairman of the Board merely dipped his toe into the PGA Tour waters. The tournament named the Frank Sinatra Open Invitational ran for one year only. It was played in Palm Springs, Calif., in 1963 (two years before Hope's tournament).

11. Danny Thomas

Thomas, a comedian, actor and television producer behind many hits, had a long association with the St. Jude's Childrens Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., one of the foremost pediatric hospitals in the world.

The tournament golf fans long knew as the St. Jude Classic, and that benefited the hospital, had Thomas' name in the title for years. From 1970 through 1984, it was called the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic. Thomas also hosted a PGA Tour event called the Danny Thomas Diplomat Classic in 1969, which existed for that year only.

12. Justin Timberlake

Singer and actor Timberlake took over hosting duties at the PGA Tour's Las Vegas tournament beginning in 2008 and continuing through 2012. The tournament had long been known as the Las Vegas Invitational (and briefly the Frys.com Open) before JT's name was attached, and for those five years it was the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

13. Andy Williams

The "Moon River" crooner had a long association with the PGA Tour's San Diego tournament. Williams first served as host in 1968, and from that year through 1980 the tournament was named the Andy Williams San Diego Open Invitational. Various sponsors came and went over the next decade, but Williams' name remained a part of the tournament name through 1988. This is the tournament that is stilled played today at Torrey Pines.

Photo credit: Richard Nixon and Bob Hope at Hope's PGA Tour tournament in the 1960s. U.S. National Archives/public domain

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