Kingdom: Did you enjoy your visit to St. Andrews for the 150th anniversary of the British Open?
Arnold Palmer: It’s always great to visit St. Andrews. The weather was terrible this time and that was unfortunate because they had to call off the Champions Challenge. It would have been fun to participate in that.
K: When do you next plan to visit the Home of Golf, perhaps during the university’s 600th anniversary celebrations in 2013?
AP: I’m going to make every effort to be there for that. It’s always a pleasure visiting St. Andrews where we have so many great memories and friends.
K: St. Andrews recently honored you with a degree…
AP: It was very nice. It’s certainly flattering to have a degree from such an historic and esteemed institution as St. Andrews University.
K: Where do you stay in St. Andrews?
AP: I’ve always enjoyed staying at the Rusacks Hotel. That’s always a lot of fun. I spent a lot of time talking to old friends there. Kit and I enjoyed shopping around town and I made it a point to go have a pint of Guinness down at the old Jigger Inn where my old caddie Tip Anderson used to tell his stories.
K: The weather in south Wales was awful at this year’s Ryder Cup. Do you think the tournament should appear earlier in the schedule?
AP: Really, it wouldn’t hurt to move it earlier in the year where poor weather might not be so great a factor. It’s worth considering.
K: Was this year’s Ryder Cup one of the great contests?
AP: It was certainly an interesting Cup. The course looked great. I suppose I would have liked it more if the U.S. team had retained the Cup, but I know the outcome certainly pleased the hosts. It was all fun to watch.
K: How highly do you rate the performances of Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer in 2010?
AP: That’s also a very interesting group of young guys. They look like they’re going to have an impact on the game and will, I believe, win again. I think they’ll be around long enough that everyone will one day agree on how to pronounce Oosthuizen’s name.
K: Tiger Woods is back on Tour, but he no longer has a vice-like grip on the world No.1 spot. What do you think he needs to do next year to regain the ascendancy?
AP: I think he’s going to get his game back in shape in fairly short order. He’s working on it and that’s just what he needs to do. The drive to win is still there, I’m sure.
K: Does Phil Mickelson have a realistic chance of taking top spot in the world rankings?
AP: He has a chance, but Phil’s getting older. He still has the motivation, the will to win and certainly the ability. There are so many good young players out there these days. Phil will have his work cut out for him.
K: Lee Westwood became World No.1 in November but would apparently have done it in October had he sat out the Dunhill Links Championship. He chose to play, finished in the top-10 but failed to claim the No.1 spot because by playing in the event he would have needed to win it to do so. Do you think the qualification procedures for the world golf ranking are too complicated?
AP: I don’t know how they could change it or what they could do to make it much different. Like the FedEx Cup, the numbers are confusing even to many golf writers. They might want to try and simplify the formulas.
Jim Furyk's FedEx Cup triumph clearly pleased wife Tabitha
K: Jim Furyk won a $10m bonus for winning the Tour Championship. Do you think such an outcome is a fair reflection of the PGA Tour season as a whole?
AP: I’m sure Jim Furyk thinks it’s all right. He deserved it. He even missed a tournament for sleeping in and still won. He got hot when it mattered most. It’s the way it’s set up and I don’t have a problem with it.
K: Ever sleep through a tee time?
AP: No. I made sure I was always up and at ’em. I always had a wake-up call and didn’t have to worry about things like phone batteries dying.
K: How often do you ride a bike?
AP: Very much. I haven’t done much of it lately, but I’ve always found it very enjoyable and great exercise. It’s good for the legs and you need strong legs if you want to keep playing golf as you get older.
K: When you and Kit decided to get married, did you always plan on getting married in Hawaii?
AP: The year before we got married we were in Hawaii and decided it would be a lovely place to get married. So we had talked about it. Then when we were at Turtle Bay the next year, we just were so taken with the whole situation we decided the time was perfect. So it was spur-of-the-moment, but we’d considered it before.
K: Did you score any points for being a spontaneous romantic?
AP: I hope so.
K: Have you ever tried sporting clays? If so, were you any good and did you enjoy it?
AP: I used to do a lot of hunting and sports shooting. I do enjoy it. I’m looking forward to heading to South Dakota with friends this weekend to hunt pheasant.
K: Latrobe had Rolling Rock beer. Accordingly, in your travels do you ever try other locally crafted beers?
AP: I’ve always been a fan of Rolling Rock. Still am. It’s sad they left Latrobe. It was good for the town and we miss them. I do enjoy a good craft beer and order them whenever we’re out and someone has a good recommendation.
K: Have you ever played a musical instrument?
AP: You know, I’ve always wanted to play a musical instrument. I have a great love for music and the people who write and play it. Musical ability is something I’ve always admired. I’ve never taken the time to learn to play an instrument and it’s something I regret. I enjoy the piano and have several guitars given to me by Vince Gill and some other friends. I like to take them out and strum them once in a while.
K: What would you tell someone who’s considering purchasing a Cessna Citation for business?
AP: I’ve been flying Cessna for 40 years and I love them. I’ve had numerous first production airplanes and I’ve flown the Cessna Citation X since 1996. Part of whatever success I’ve had has been having the ability to travel around and take care of business. It’s made a big difference for me. The benefits far outweigh the costs.
K: How do you rate Hilton Head, SC, for golf?
AP: It’s deservedly one of the most popular golf destinations in our country. There are so many great golf courses there and a wonderful beach. I have some great memories there, too. I won the first Harbour Town tournament ever held in 1969. I was the first one to land an airplane at the new airport. They opened it for me so I could participate in the tournament. It worked out great for me.
K: What are the best drills snow-bound golfers can do to get their games ready for spring golf?
AP: There are some great warm-up clubs, shortened so golfers can swing them in their basements. It’s good to use those to keep the swing in shape. And I welcome any golfers to come visit us at Bay Hill to enjoy a mid-winter tune up.
K: Potential major winners in 2011?
AP: After the cast of winners in 2010, it’d be silly for me to try to pick a winner for 2011. It’s wide open.
Mr. Palmer hopes to act as honorary starter again at the Masters Tournament in 2011
K: Will you be acting as honorary starter at The Masters again in 2011?
AP: I plan to be there and assume I’ll be invited again. It’s a great honor and always a pleasure to be at Augusta.
K: How well do you think the LPGA Tour is recovering from the loss of Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa? Who do you see picking up the baton there?
AP: It was difficult for the LPGA to lose its two most popular stars on tour, but they have a bright future. There are many popular and appealing women playing their Tour. They held a great U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont this season with a very popular winner, Paula Creamer. They have a great bunch to watch.
K: We recently had a co-sanctioned PGA Tour event in Malaysia. Do you think the PGA Tour should be looking to create more of these international events?
AP: I’m sure eventually we’ll see a lot more international golf. It’ll probably happen when a combination of PGA Tours from around the world get together and decide on format and scheduling. But it’s bound to happen soon. That may naturally lead to some form of world tour, but I don’t see that dominating the existing tours.
Matt Kuchar just played the season of his life
K: This year Matt Kuchar made his Ryder Cup debut, he won the Arnold Palmer Trophy for topping the money list and also the Vardon Trophy and Byron Nelson Award for the lowest stroke average. What do you think of him and how far can he go in the game?
AP: Matt is a very fine young man and he has been a member here at Bay Hill since he first turned pro. He struggled a little but he has really come on good and I think that’s just wonderful. I’m rooting for him and wishing him all the best and congratulating him on a really great year. I hope that he continues to play the way he did this last year, and I’m sure that he will become one of the great players of the game.
K: Are you planning any changes to the Bay Hill course for next year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational?
AP: Not really. The course is in as good a shape as I’ve ever seen it. We’re really excited to have the pros come in and compete in March.
K: At the Ryder Cup we saw a top pro’s chipping technique break down. What advice would you give a golfer on the edge of the green?
AP: Use the putter! That’s a tip for any golfer who finds themselves reasonably close in a tight match. Just putt it. It reduces the chances you’ll chunk it. There’s no rule about what club you should use. If you’re close enough to use the putter, use the putter.
K: How does your Bay Hill office differ from the one in Latrobe?
AP: The memorabilia’s not as extensive here as it is in Latrobe. I have more at my garage here. The Golf Channel’s coming over to film over there so viewers can get a peek at it. The Bay Hill office is more of a working office, while the Latrobe one can be very ceremonial. Visitors love the Latrobe office. The Bay Hall office is more utilitarian. Still, it’s very comfortable and I like the feeling of being here and what I do here.
K: We’ve seen you enjoying your iPad; have you seen arnoldpalmer.com?
AP: I use the iPad all the time. It’s a great piece of equipment. I enjoy it very much. I look up golfers, engineers and use it to keep up with the news. You can check out anything you want on it and get an answer in an instant. Yes, I have checked out arnoldpalmer.com. It’s great. I think my fans should check it out. It’s packed with information. I don’t spend too much time on it. I know most of the answers.
K: The best Christmas present you’ve ever received?
AP: Christmas is such a special time. I’ve always looked forward to it. Some of the best Christmases have been back home before the girls were married and just sitting in front of the fire and watching all the magic of the girls opening their presents. Such happy memories. If I had to pick the best Christmas present, I’d have to go back to when I was a boy back home in Latrobe. My parents got my sister and I wristwatches.They put them in these huge boxes filled with paper. It must have taken us a half a day to dig through all those papers and find them there.
K: Do you still have the watch?
AP: I do!
K: Do you recall the brand?
AP: Yes, it’s a, uh . . . Rolex! (he says with a wink and a grin).