Arnold Palmer News: Archives
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June 20, 2007
Palmer and Woods share No. 2s
In one of his most overlooked years of greatness, 1961, Arnold Palmer laid the groundwork for a career of impressive finishes.
Golf historians generally regard Arnold Palmer’s 1960 season as one of golf’s greatest. The contention is hard to dispute.
Consider: During 30 tournaments in which Palmer entered in 1960, he won nine times, including The Masters and The U.S. Open; he had two second-place finishes and three thirds. In all, he finished in the top ten 23 times.
Those are just some of the statistical reasons that led Palmer biographer Thomas Hauser to conclude: “No year meant more to a sport than 1960 meant to golf, and the man with the magic wand was Arnold Palmer.” What was dubbed Palmer’s “Golden Year” was capped when Sports Illustrated selected the golfer for “Sportsman of the Year” the same year sporting legends like Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Bill Russell and Johnny Unitas were having banner years that would eventually be immortalized in hall of fame shrines.
But if 1960 was indeed Palmer’s “Golden Year” then there can be no disputing his “Silver Year.”
It was 1961.
And, according to research done by Palmer assistant Doc Giffin, it was every bit as remarkable as 1960.
In ‘61, Palmer entered 29 tournaments (one fewer than ‘60), and had six wins compared to the nine he posted in ‘60. 1961 was the year he won the first of two consecutive British Open championships. It was the only major he’d win that year.
But further on down the leaderboard is where Palmer really makes a dent in the argument that ‘60 was statistically superior. And it’s interesting to consider in light of Tiger Woods’s second-place finish at Oakmont, a place where he played near-flawless golf but just couldn’t get the fist-pumping birdie putts to drop.
In ‘61, Palmer had five second-place finishes and three third-place finishes (1960 had two seconds and three thirds). Most remarkable was that in 29 tournaments, Palmer finished in the top 10 an amazing 24 times.
Tour statistics bear out that ‘61 was statistically superior. His average finish in 1960 was seventh, but it rose to sixth the following year.
In all, the two-year stretch includes 59 starts, 15 victories, seven second-place finishes, six thirds and 47 times in the top 10, a stretch of competitive consistency that’s rarely been equaled in professional golf.
Palmer would go on to claim 92 PGA and Senior tour victories with 61 second-place finishes, 42 of which were on the PGA Tour.
So how does Palmer in 1960-’61 stack up against Woods, whose last two years could arguably be his best? Remember, in the win category, these years include the seven consecutive wins in which Woods was electrifying the golf world in pursuit of Byron Nelson’s immortal streak of 11 consecutive victories.
You could say it’s close.
As of Sunday’s U.S. Open, Woods had entered 24 tournaments over the last 18 months. The stretch includes an amazing 11 victories with three seconds, a third; and 17 top tens. Number crunchers could agree that the percentages are remarkably similar.
And consider this: during Palmer’s 1961, he opened the season by missing the cut at the Los Angeles Open, then went the rest of the season finishing worse than ninth only four times. In nine 2007 events, Woods has bottomed outside the top 10 three times with ties for 15th, 22nd and 37th respectively.
Who knows? Maybe Tiger would add to his win total if he played more often. Or maybe the wear would reduce his statistical greatness.
All that is known is that as of June 18 and the happy birth of Sam Alexis Woods, daughter of Tiger and Elin, it is inevitable that terms like “No. 1” and “No. 2” will take on a whole new meaning to the proud Papa.
That is unless he delegates midnight diaper changing duties to someone else.
Posted by crodell at 10:35 AM
June 13, 2007
ARNOLD PALMER JOINS GOLF DIGEST AS PLAYING EDITOR
Magazine’s Exclusive All-Star Roster Already Includes Nicklaus, Woods, Sorenstam, Mickelson, and Watson
NEW YORK—Golf legend Arnold Palmer has signed a long-term agreement with Golf Digest to serve as an exclusive Playing Editor. The announcement was made today by Jerry Tarde, Chairman and Editorial Director of Golf Digest Publications, a division of Condé Nast Publications.
Through the agreement, Palmer will contribute bylined instruction and feature articles exclusively to Golf Digest. Palmer officially joined the Golf Digest staff with the magazine’s June issue and was the subject of the popular “My Shot” interview—which appears as part of the magazine’s U.S. Open Preview section.
“Golf Digest and I share the same values in our desire to give back to the game and belief that golf fans come first,” said Palmer. “Golf Digest is the No. 1 golf publication in the world. I’m excited to be part of the team and help people play golf better.”
“Adding Arnold Palmer to our staff marks a milestone in the history of Golf Digest,” Tarde said. “Arnold joins Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, Phil Mickelson and Tom Watson as exclusive contributors to the magazine—pretty much wrapping up the greatest champions, current and past, alive today.”
In addition to the players mentioned above, Golf Digest’s elite roster of Playing Editors includes Ernie Els, Johnny Miller, Nick Price, Justin Leonard and David Toms. Golf Digest also has a number of renowned teachers on staff, including Butch Harmon, David Leadbetter and Hank Haney.
Arnold Palmer was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. He is fourth on the PGA Tour all-time win list with 62 victories, including four Masters, two British Opens, one U.S. Open and one U.S. Amateur.
Golf Digest is part of Condé Nast Publications and is the largest and most widely read golf publication in the world. Condé Nast Publications, a unit of Advance Publications, includes twenty-eight consumer magazines and their websites, eight uniquely branded websites, the Fairchild Fashion Group, Parade, the Condé Nast Media Group, and the Shared Services Centers.
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Andrew Katcher (212) 630-2488
Posted by scurry at 12:19 PM
Miller says beating Palmer tougher than Tiger
NBC Sports color commentator Johnny Miller says beating Arnold Palmer in Pittsburgh in 1973 was tougher than beating Tiger anywhere in 2007. His two rounds with Palmer steeled him for the second most remarkable charge in U.S. Open history.
Johnny Miller "thinks" Arnold Palmer’s gotten over it. He "thinks" he’s accepted what happened and has come to terms with it.
He shouldn’t be too sure about that.
As fierce a competitor as there ever was, it’s unlikely Palmer will ever get over the sinking feeling he had while standing on the 11th green at Oakmont C.C. on June 17, 1973. Palmer’d started the final round tied for the lead with Julius Boros, John Schlee and Jerry Heard. Still leading with Boros, he was convinced he was cruising to his second Open championship victory in front of legions of adoring Palmer loyalists from throughout western Pennsylvania. The He was certain the hometown victory would ease the sting of the historic loss he felt on that very course to Jack Nicklaus 11 years earlier.
And that’s when he looked up at the scoreboard and saw that a 26-year-old -- go ahead and say it -- “smart alec kid” had posted an Open record final-round 63 on rain-softened greens to vault to the top of the leaderboard and eventual victory.
“I really blindsided him with that,” says Miller, today the outspoken color commentator for NBC Sports. Miller will be in the broadcast booth starting Thursday as the network begins its coverage of the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont. He made his comments about Palmer on Tuesday following a press conference with more than 100 reporters. “He must have felt like I’d picked his pocket and come up with a U.S. Open trophy.”
Gotten over it? Nah.
Oakmont pro Bob Ford says he and Palmer played a sentimental round at the course in July 2006 and Palmer recalled exactly where on the 11th green he was standing when he, Boros and Schlee saw the record-setting round Miller’d posted.
“He said he couldn’t believe it,” Ford said. “It just shocked him.”
It was the second of three consecutive shockers Palmer would feel on day when things went awry. He'd missed a short birdie putt on 11 before seeing Miller's run of red numbers way down the leaderboard, and then he hit what appeared to be a perfect drive on 12 that kicked off a sprinkler head and into deep rough.
While Palmer had trouble accepting the fateful turns, Miller says with a dashing bit of bravado he embraced it.
“He never saw me coming,” Miller says. “Schlee told me his reaction to my score and it wasn’t pleasant. You have to understand, I was paired with Palmer for the first two days of the tournament and must not have impressed him. But that was one of the best parts of the week for me. I held my own with him. Not many guys would ever win the Open playing two days with Arnold Palmer in 1973 for the first two days. I ran the gauntlet of those fans and shot 69-71 during the first two days. A lot of guys have trouble even making the cut under those conditions. To be able to do that with all his fans around was almost, to me, as much pressure as anything that happened all week. Maybe that prepared me for Sunday, to be honest with you.
“Because not many guys could play with Palmer in those days. It was definitely tougher than playing with Tiger today. That’s what playing with Palmer in Pittsburgh in 1973 was like.”
While nearly every golf fan remembers Miller’s 63, few recall his 76 the day before, a round that almost knocked him out of contention. He began the final round in five-way tie for seventh place.
“For me, one of the things that makes that round so special was the caliber of players I had to beat,” Miller says. “The leaderboard had Nicklaus, Boros, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Gene Littler and Palmer all playing at or near the top of their games.”
Funny, several days after his landmark victory, Palmer and Miller were again paired and once again Miller did something that confounded Palmer.
Call it an “ace-ssist.”
“We were paired together on the 230-yard par 3 5th hole at Firestone Country Club in Akron at the American Golf Classic,” Miller recalls. “I was holding a 4 wood and was all ready to hit when Arnie dropped his ball. I backed away, he apologized, I readjusted then stepped up and hit. The ball landed about five feet in front of the pin and rolled in just like a putt. Then I turned to Palmer and thanked him for his help. Maybe readjusting made the difference between an ace and just another really good shot.
“I don’t think I was his favorite guy back then, but good things were happening to me when I was around Arnold Palmer in June 1973.”
Miller points out that two of Palmer’s most painful losses -- the one to him and the one to Billy Casper at the 1966 U.S. Open -- occurred at the hands of practicing Mormons, prompting Miller to quip, “He may have gotten over it, but I doubt you’ll see any ‘Mitt Romney for President’ stickers on Arnold Palmer’s car. We Mormons haven’t been too kind to him.”
Incidentally, Miller’s final round comeback from six shots down is only the second greatest comeback in U.S. Open history.
Whose is first?
Arnold Palmer’s. He came from seven shots down on the final day to win the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills.
Posted by crodell at 11:19 AM
Palmer on ESPN, Golf Channel from Oakmont
Arnold Palmer will be interviewed live on ESPN Wednesday at 3 p.m. the day before the start of the U.S. Open at historic Oakmont C.C. near Pittsburgh.
Host Chris Berman will ask Palmer about his near life-long involvement with one of the world’s greatest golf clubs.
The interview will precede a scheduled press conference that will be broadcast on the Golf Channel.
The day will be capped by a gala cocktail hour hosted by Golf World, which has asked Palmer to raise the congratulatory toast celebrating the magazine’s 60th anniversary.
Palmer also plans to attend the closing ceremonies Sunday and attend the post-tournament cocktail reception.
That means Palmer will be hustling between two of the busiest locations in western Pennsylvania -- Oakmont and Latrobe where his home course will be hosting, among others, former Homeland Security Advisor Tom Ridge, LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez, Walker Cup captain Buddy Marucci, and former LPGA star Mary Bea Porter-King.
Guests and visitors have been flocking to Latrobe one hour from Oakmont following Open rounds to play, visit and purchase Palmer memorabilia from the historic club
Posted by crodell at 11:01 AM