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George Lopez takes over host duties at Bob Hope Classic

Bob Hope was always a tough act to follow. George Lopez is holding his own, so far.

Firing off jokes that likely would have had even Hope guffawing, the actor named his ideal golfing partners.

"My dream foursome would be myself, Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell," Lopez said, alluding to a public feud between Trump and O'Donnell. "And she would count as two. So I wouldn't actually need four."

He added with a sly grin, "I want to be in that fight."

Asked about the state of his game, Lopez said he was thrown off by watching tape.

"This guy filmed three of my swings and he was telling me about my spine angle and I was raising my head and I wasn't getting the full turn," said Lopez, a 13-handicapper. "Really, after he spoke, the only thing I really looked at when I looked at the tape was whether I looked fat or not.

"So I didn't really hear what he said. I was more looking at me sucking it in. Now I've got to suck it in until Monday."

The five-day event has Lopez's name attached for the first time -- the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic hosted by George Lopez.

Hope, a fixture at the tournament for most of its 47 years, died in 2003. He was 100.

Lopez seemed completely in his element Tuesday at a news conference in the press tent at the Classic Club, one of four courses used for the tournament that's a pro-am for the first four days.

"It's wonderful for the PGA Tour to erect a tent in the middle of the desert so we can talk about golf. Near the 10 (freeway) and in between an In-N-Out Burger and a Del Taco, four miles from the outlet mall," Lopez said.

"That's what a golf course is all about, nine holes, a couple of nacho meat burritos."

Hope's widow, Dolores, has said she admires Lopez as one of the country's brightest young comedians. Lopez, an opening act for Hope at one show some 15 years ago, said, "Well, if you're 45 and they consider you a young comedian, that's fantastic."

He added: "That is an honor, the fact that Dolores has been so kind to me since the first time I met her in 2004, and that Bob was a fan of my comedy is validation. It would be like if the pope sent you a letter and said: "You're a good Catholic. Signed, The Pope."

The tournament, which has raised millions of dollars for charity, started in 1960 with Hope and many of his golfing pals from Hollywood making the pro-am a star-studded event.

Arnold Palmer won the inaugural Hope, the first of his five titles in the tournament.

January 17, 2007

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