11/09/1998 AT 12:00 AM EST
Bob Hope made a surprise appearance Wednesday -- at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic golf tournament in Palm Springs, Calif. The sight of him brought cheers from the crowd, which was already gaping at such other celebs as Bill Murray, Kevin Sorbo, Yogi Berra and Joe Pesci. Murray, a first-timer at the Classic, said he was there this year for one reason: "I feel like I can finally beat Bob Hope." The 96-year-old legend, whose last public appearance was when he turned on Disneyland's Christmas lights in November, has been shunning the limelight of late, after a lifetime of basking in it. Age has slowed him, though New Year's Eve at his Palm Springs home he was the life of the party, singing old songs -- including his pal Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" -- and (what else?) telling jokes.