Arnold Palmer News: Archives
« July 2009 |
| September 2009 »
August 31, 2009
Arnold Palmer Hospital Celebrates 20 Years of Caring
The hospital turns
20 on the 80th birthday of its legendary namesake
August 31, 2009 (Orlando, FL)
-- Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children will celebrate its 20th
birthday on September 10, coinciding with its legendary namesake, Arnold
Palmer's 80th birthday. For the past 20 years Arnold Palmer
Hospital has been providing advanced, highly specialized medical care
to children and women from across Central Florida and the world.
To commemorate this milestone birthday, several celebration events are
planned throughout the month of September including a community leader
breakfast hosted by the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce and hospital
visit by Arnold Palmer (September 4), a VIP 80th Birthday
dinner for Arnold Palmer hosted by Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal
Studios Orlando® (September 5) and a community block party (September
26). For more information, log on to www.arnoldpalmerhospital.com/birthday.
"We are honored to be celebrating 20
years of caring along side Arnold Palmer as he celebrates his 80th
birthday. We are extremely appreciative of all he and his family have
done for the babies, children and women here in Central Florida and
beyond," said John Bozard, president, Arnold Palmer Medical Center.
"Through his generosity and those of others thousands of lives have
been touched over the past 20 years and we look forward to continuing
the Palmer legacy of caring for many years to come."
Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children opened
its doors on September 10, 1989, as Central Florida's first freestanding
children and women's hospital. The 281-bed facility offered pediatric,
obstetric and women's services all in one facility and was built to
accommodate 6,500 births. Over the past 20 years, the hospital's staff
has delivered 179,000 babies, cared for 296,000 inpatients and 840,000
outpatients. It also saw the birth of a new facility, Winnie Palmer
Hospital for Women & Babies, named after Mr. Palmer's late wife
Winnie. The 285-bed facility opened on May 30, 2006, expanding the hospital's
obstetric, neonatal and gynecological services. With the opening of
Winnie Palmer Hospital, Arnold Palmer Hospital became a dedicated, 158-bed
children's hospital and the two facilities in addition to the Howard
Phillips Center for Children & Families formed the Arnold Palmer
Medical Center, which is one of the largest children and women's facilities
in the nation.
Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children,
supported by the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation, is a 158-bed
facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of children. Located in
Orlando, Arnold Palmer Hospital provides expertise in pediatric specialties
such as cardiac care, craniomaxillofacial surgery, emergency and trauma
care, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, neurosurgery, oncology,
orthopedics, pulmonology and sports medicine. Visit arnoldpalmerhospital.com
to learn more about all of our specialties.
Posted by scurry at 11:28 AM
August 26, 2009
PALMER CELEBRATES 80TH BIRTHDAY WITH STYLE
This September 10th, 2009 legendary golfer and philanthropist Arnold Palmer celebrates his 80th birthday in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of his namesake hospital. The hospital opened in 1989 as the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women, becoming children-only in 2006 when the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies opened.
The milestone birthday will be ushered in with a week long celebration beginning in Orlando and then heading to his native state of Pennsylvania.
The festivities will begin with a hospital birthday breakfast with Palmer on Friday, Sept. 4. On Saturday the 5th, Palmer will be the main guest at the Party at the Portofino Bay Hotel where his unparalleled commitment in support of the Arnold Palmer Medical Center will be honored.
The next week Palmer will fly his Cessna Citation X to Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, PA and on Tuesday, September 8th he will attend a dinner at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, home of the Pirates. Before dinner, Palmer will throw out the ceremonial first pitch as the Pirates play against the Chicago Cubs. That night will be Arnold Palmer Bobblehead Night at PNC Park and will mark the first time Palmer has been honored with a bobblehead created in his likeness. The following day Palmer will participate in a golf outing and dinner in his honor at Laurel Valley Golf Club.
And to celebrate his actual birthday on September 10th? Palmer and some of his closest friends will tee it up at his home course, Latrobe Country Club.
Posted by scurry at 03:03 PM
August 24, 2009
FOLLOW ARNOLD PALMER IN THE ESPN OFFICES
BRISTOL, CT – Golf legend Arnold Palmer is scheduled to visit the ESPN offices this Wednesday August 26th to film a "This is SportsCenter" commercial.
ESPN blogger Jason Sobel will be following Mr. Palmer for the day and blogging the entire days' activities live via his BlackBerry.
Visit the blog here: http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/columns/story?columnist=sobel_jason&page=liveblog
Fans can also join the Arnold Palmer group in the ESPN SportsNation section where they can share their memories of Mr. Palmer.
Posted by scurry at 03:36 PM
August 20, 2009
PALMER RENOVATES HIS BAY HILL COURSE
ORLANDO, FL – This summer, Arnold Palmer and the Arnold Palmer Design Company tweaked his classic course, the Bay Hill Club & Lodge, host course for PGA Tour event Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, under the thoughtful experienced eye of Palmer himself.
"Bay Hill is a great golf course. We don’t want to change it; let's tweak it.", said Arnold Palmer to his design company architects Erik Larsen, Thad Layton and Brandon Johnson during initial project meetings at Bay Hill, where the design company and Invitational offices are also located. "Let's get the greens closer to the water and take the sand where you can see it."
"We had the unique ability for our event staff to work on-site with Mr. Palmer, APDC design architects, Roy Saunders and employees of the Bay Hill Club. Matt Beaver, John Anderson and the Bay Hill grounds crew worked closely with the Landscapes Unlimited team to make this renovation a success. Having everyone here has been a distinct advantage for our event." said Tournament Director Scott Wellington. "Players are really going to enjoy the changes."
The specific goals of the renovation were focused in three distinct areas: Agronomic/Maintenance (greens), Playability and Aesthetics.
The previous greens needed to be completely removed because of nematodes in the soil, small plant-parasitic pests, that made it difficult to maintain good turf quality. "To improve the turf conditions on the greens, new Emerald Bermuda grass was installed and proved to be the best performer in test plots grown at Bay Hill prior to construction." said Matt Beaver. "This new grass requires less maintenance than the previous and the new irrigation heads around the greens will provide a more precise application of water."
With Palmer's lifetime of experience designing courses around the world, to actually building push-up greens with his father Deacon at Latrobe Country Club, he was extremely hands-on with the entire renovation process from start to finish. "I love the Bay Hill course, it's my home, which is why it was so important to me to be involved with everything." said Palmer. "The renovations really add some new dimensions of play for Tour players and our members."
"I've introduced firm, fast playing conditions on slopes around greens mowed at fairway height that run away from the green surface and take the ball farther away from the intended target instead of stopping it, like the previous heavy rough did." said Palmer. "With these new conditions we hope to add creativity to recovery shots. Along with putting new pin positions around the outside of the greens and cutting bunkers up closer to the greens we have made my course more interesting to play and view."
"PGA Tour Shotlink data was used extensively to properly site bunkers and now reflects the new distances of the modern game." said architect Brandon Johnson. Over time the edges of the greens had shrunk significantly and a few greens had too much slope to place a pin, especially on the edges of the greens. Johnson goes on to say, "The new greens allow us to increase the pinnable areas on the edges of the greens for the Invitational and make the players think a little bit more about shot and strategy in their pre-tournament preparation and during play."
"We really improved the turf conditions and playability of tees by making them all consistently level." said architect Thad Layton. "Some of the narrow "runway" tees are now more visually appealing and large enough to handle wear from high golf traffic."
Course aesthetics have received a boost in visual impact with the bunker renovation. "The bunkers will give Bay Hill a new look and will help define the tee and approach shots into more visually and strategically intimidating golf." said Roy Saunders of Bay Hill. "The entire APDC team has been a pleasure to work with on these changes. I would recommend this talented and professional team to any club seeking to revamp their course. I appreciate our members' patience during this process and am confident they will be very pleased with the end results."
"I'm very proud of everyone involved to make the Bay Hill course renovation a success. Especially, since the renovations had to be completed in 2 months so the course can properly grow in and open in September." said Arnold Palmer. "I know the 2010 Invitational will be very exciting to watch with these new course changes in place."
For detailed hole-by-hole renovation descriptions please read below. For more information on Bay Hill please visit the website at www.bayhill.com.
ABOUT THE ARNOLD PALMER'S BAY HILL CLUB AND LODGE
About Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge Located 20 minutes from downtown Orlando, Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge is the site of the annual Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard PGA Tour golf tournament. The 70-room property features a full-service spa, salon, fitness and aquatic center, 27 holes of golf, the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy, four dining locations, three lounges and 9,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space. For reservations or membership information, call (888) 422-9445 or (407) 876- 2429 or visit www.bayhill.com.
For more information: Arlene Wright, Chisano Marketing Group, (407) 788-7070 or email@example.com Leigh Anne Mace, Bay Hill Club & Lodge, at (407) 876-8003 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bay Hill Course Tour (Before/After)
Bay Hill Course Renovations Hole-by-Hole
The tees were widened and shifted right to provide a better angle to access the fairway. Bunkers 180 yds off the tee to the right were eliminated and converted to rough. Bunkers outside of dogleg were enlarged to provide visibility from the tee. Greenside bunkers were moved closer, deepened, and flashed higher to frame the green. Interior of the old green surface was replicated and the edges softened to provide better hole locations closer to the bunkers.
One of the few "major" changes, this green was rotated 30 degrees clockwise to enable players to hold long iron and woods into green. A natural slope on the right utilized to feed shots onto the green enabling shorter players to access front right pin locations. The front left bunker was eliminated and converted to fairway run-off area. Tees were realigned and moved closer to cart path. With the green now rotated and back tee expanded, this hole can play as long as 245 yards.
The tees were realigned and moved closer to the cart path opening up an unobstructed view of the fairway. The first fairway bunker on the right was converted to fairway. The second fairway bunker was enlarged and moved closer to the landing area. The fairway leading into the green was expanded, enabling a ground approach into green. The green was expanded towards the water to create an array of pin positions tight to the hazard. The greenside bunkers were moved closer, deepened, and flashed higher to frame green.
This hole was converted into a true par 5 without lengthening the hole. This was achieved by moving out the fairway bunkering into the 270-300 yard range, a new lay-up bunker was added to the left of the fairway 100 yards from the green to guard the lay up area, bunkers adjacent the the green were re-configured, a reduced green size with an elevated green surface with tightly mown surrounds and deep bunkers.
The tees were realigned and moved closer to the cart path which opened up an unobstructed view of the fairway. Bunkers were enlarged and repositioned to force decisions off the tee. A new fairway cut over the left fairway bunker provides the opportunity for a drivable par 4 from the forward tee. A steep slope on the front right of the green will provide a new layer of difficulty on this crowned green surface.
The tees were raised and moved closer to the lake. The first fairway bunker was eliminated. The sand in the next two fairway bunkers were taken higher to increase visibility from the tee. The green was expanded toward the water to the front, left, and rear. A fairway cut was introduced to collect shots hit through the green and to provide shot options that were previously non-existent. This allowed us to create a new tournament viewing area behind the new #6 green.
The tees were expanded and fanned out to the left. The fairway cut short of the green, steepened to repel shots short of the green to the bottom of slope. The greenside bunkers were deepened and pushed tight to the green. A new front right pin location will be quite a test for members and tournament players.
A new tee was added on a spit of land surrounded by mature trees. The tees were shifted to the left for better views of fairway from all tees. The fairway bunker was flashed higher for better visibility from the teeing areas. Expanded the green left toward the water and softened the back right of the green to create a difficult hole location between the bunkers. The first half of the greenside bunker on the right of the fairway was filled to better show off 2 new bunkers adjacent to the green.
The tees were widened. The fairway bunker on the left was shifted 40 yards down the fairway to better challenge tee shots. Two fairway bunkers on the right were converted to rough. The green was rotated to the right to engage the re-configured bunker complex to the right of the green.
We made the left fairway bunkers slightly larger and shifted them to the right to engage the fairway. The right fairway bunker was moved 50 yards forward to bring it more into play. Very subtle green modifications were made by squaring off the edges to introduce pins on the corners. The approach and side slopes of the green surrounds were made sharper to introduce a tightly mowed slope on the surrounds.
The right side fairway bunkers were shifted closer to the fairway line and repositioned to fit today’s distance requirements by eliminating the first bunker and converting it to turf and replacing it with one at the 285-300 yard turning point. Certain areas around the perimeter of the green were smoothed out to introduce pins closer to the greenside bunkers and lake edge. A roll off left and behind the green that blends into the #12 tee was introduced.
The three hidden fairway bunkers that were located at the beginning of the fairway were eliminated and replaced with two bunkers; One protecting the inside right corner at approximately 260 - 270 yards off the tee and one protecting the outside left corner of the fairway at approximately 300 yards from the back tee. The left fairway line has been shifted slightly to the left to widen the fairway and provides an obscured view from the fairway for the second shot. The second landing area fairway bunkers were repositioned for visibility and to engage play better. Old shaping and mounds that blocked views into the bunkers and green complex were removed. The green side bunkers were reshaped, positioned for visibility and moved closer to the green to protect the corner pin locations.
Every effort was made to keep the original character of this green which was slightly modified to introduce corner pin locations behind bunkers and adjacent to the steep shaved slopes on the green surrounds.
The Championship tee was pushed back ten yards and all the tees were repositioned. Before the renovation there were three hidden fairway bunkers on the left side of the golf hole. During the renovation this bunker complex was reshaped to include two highly visible bunkers that were shifted and repositioned closer to the fairway to become more in play off the tee. The right fairway bunker was reshaped and shifted closer to the fairway too.
This green previously had a lot of movement along the edges that did not allow for pin positions close to the lake edge or greenside bunkers. The perimeter rolls were softened and the green enlarged on the front right and back right to introduce pin locations all along the lake edge and close to the greenside bunkers. The greenside bunkers were also reshaped for visibility from tee and fairway and shifted closer to the green.
This hole has a significant visual change. Previously, 90% of the bunkers on this hole were not visible from the tee and neither was the green surface. The old green had sharp rolls along the edge that did not allow for perimeter pin locations or pins behind the bunkers.
The front right bunker complex was eliminated and a tightly mown grass slope along the entire right side of the green was created. The left greenside bunkers were reshaped and moved closer to the green to better protect pin locations on the left side of this green. The greenside bunkers behind the green were reshaped, made visible and shifted closer to the green surface to protect back right and back left pin locations. The green surface has been smoothed out to allow for more pinnable space but still retains a hint of the old green contours.
A back tee was built that could add 50 yards to the hole if desired. If used, this new back tee will bring the reshaped fairway bunker more into play and turn it into a real obstacle off the tee. Originally there were two fairway bunkers protecting the inside right corner of the fairway. The bunker complex was reshaped with one large bunker that was slightly repositioned to bring it more into play. This green complex received three changes. Firstly, it was reduced in size and moved out of the shadows cast by the surrounding trees. Second, the green was shifted away from the cart path. Third, the green size and contours were made more appropriate for the type of shots played from the original back tee location. The front greenside bunkers were reshaped, repositioned and moved closer to the green surface allowing for a more intimidating approach shot. The right green side bunkers were removed and replaced with a tightly mown grass slope. The back greenside bunker was reshaped for visibility and moved closer to the green surface. While this green did change slightly there are several elements from the old green that were incorporated into the changes.
Tees – The tee complex was shifted left to utilize the natural ridge line and to increase visibility down the golf hole. A large swale was reshaped from the back tee down to the fairway that increases overall visibility and opens up a view slot down to the fairway.
The two right side fairway bunkers were reshaped, combined to make one large fairway bunker that is now highly visible from the tee, and shifted closer to the fairway to bring it more into play. Two of the left side fairway bunkers were removed and converted to rough. This allows for one prominent fairway bunker to protect the left side.
The green complex was reshaped and the beach bunker removed to incorporate shaved slopes and collection areas on the middle right, back right and back left of the green. The front greenside bunker was reshaped and moved closer to the green. A small back right greenside bunker was added to help protect the back right pin locations. The green surface was smoothed out to allow for more pin locations around the perimeter, lake edge and beside the bunkers. While the green was modified for increased pin locations the original green contours were incorporated in the renovation.
Visually this hole will look different and slightly more intimidating, but strategically should play better with increased pin locations along the perimeter of the green with reshaped bunkers that are closer to the green surface. The most dramatic change on this hole is the expansion of the beach bunker. The green was shifted seven to ten feet to allow for the beach bunker to be reshaped and contoured for drainage, playability and visibility.
A back tee was added to increase the hole yardage by approximately 10 yards. The renovated green is almost a carbon copy of the old green with slight modifications in the green size to accommodate an additional front pin location and middle back pin location.
The practice green tries to replicate the golf shots you can expect on the "new" Bay Hill course. A large fairway cut was introduced around the chipping green. Repositioned the bunker to hit down the length of the green, allowing golfers to practice both long and short sand shots. The bunker tripled in size and deepened to reflect new bunkers on the course. The "False front" on the chipping green will allow golfers to practice this difficult short shot.
Posted by scurry at 04:34 PM
August 18, 2009
Try My Timeless Tips
20 All-Time Favorites That Still Do The Trick Plus 5 Bonus Tips
| With Peter Morrice | September 2009
I've seen a lot of changes during my time in golf, and one is that the teaching of the game has gotten complicated. If you do a handful of things correctly--like take the club away without breaking your wrists and keep your head still throughout the swing--you can play pretty well without too much thought. When I was 4 years old my dad took my hands and set them on a club and said, "Now don't you ever change that." And basically I haven't. With all the ways we have now of analyzing the swing, you can make the game very difficult--and not much fun. Here I give you my favorite tips from my old books and articles. I believe they're as true today as the day I first used them.
~ Arnold Palmer
View the slideshow at GolfDigest.com
Posted by scurry at 03:50 PM
PALMER IN LIFE MAGAZINE'S TOP 10 GOLFERS OF ALL TIME
Life Magazine, one of the longest-running and most respected magazines about American culture, has chosen the Top 10 Greatest Golfers of All-Time.
The magazine is most notable for its captivating photo-journalism and amongst this legendary list of golfers, coming in at number 7, is Arnold Palmer.
"Palmer’s place in history is due to his personality as much as his play (seven majors). As the face of golf when it was first televised, the King helped the sport surge in popularity." said Life Magazine.
View the complete Life Magazine article at http://www.life.com/image/1594692/in-gallery/23372/the-10-greatest-golfers
Posted by scurry at 10:26 AM
August 14, 2009
Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children Announces Gift Registry Honoring its Namesakes’ 80th Birthday
Orlando, FL (August 14, 2009) – Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children turns 20 on September 10, 2009, the same day its legendary namesake, golfer Arnold Palmer celebrates his 80th birthday. In honor of Mr. Palmer’s birthday, a gift registry has been created where family, friends and fans can make a donation in his name to help the children, women and babies cared for at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. Individuals wishing to make a contribution can log on to http://www.arnoldpalmerhospitalbirthday.com/GiftRegistry.
“We are proud to be celebrating 20 years of caring along side Arnold Palmer as he celebrates his 80th birthday. We are extremely appreciative of all he and his family have done for the babies, children, and women here in Central Florida,” said John Bozard, president, Arnold Palmer Medical Center. “Through their generosity and that of our community through programs like the birthday gift registry, we have been able to provide highly-specialized care to those in need and we look forward to continuing the Palmer legacy of caring for many years to come.”
Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women opened its doors on September 10, 1989, coinciding with its namesake’s, Arnold Palmer’s, 60th birthday. The 281-bed hospital was the first freestanding children and women’s hospital in Central Florida offering pediatric, obstetric and women’s services in one facility. Due to the area’s rapid population growth and increased demand for obstetrical services, Arnold Palmer Hospital expanded its obstetric, neonatal and gynecological services with the addition of Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, a 285-bed facility, located across the street. With the opening of Winnie Palmer Hospital, Arnold Palmer Hospital became a dedicated, 158-bed children’s hospital and the two facilities in addition to the Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families formed the Arnold Palmer Medical Center.
ARNOLD PALMER HOSPITAL for CHILDREN
Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, supported by the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation, is a 158-bed facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of children. Located in Orlando, Arnold Palmer Hospital provides expertise in pediatric specialties such as cardiac care, craniomaxillofacial surgery, emergency and trauma care, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, neurosurgery, oncology, orthopedics, pulmonology and sports medicine. Visit arnoldpalmerhospital.com to learn more about all of our specialties.
WINNIE PALMER HOSPITAL for WOMEN & BABIES
Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, supported by the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation, is a 285-bed facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of women and babies. The hospital includes comprehensive fetal diagnostics and labor and delivery services, a regional center for neonatal intensive care, maternal intensive care and women’s services. Annually, more than 14,000 babies are expected to be born at Winnie Palmer Hospital, making it the busiest labor and delivery unit in the state of Florida. To learn more, visit winniepalmerhospital.com.
Posted by scurry at 03:11 PM
August 12, 2009
Birthday Greetings For Arnie
Fans and friends offer memories to celebrate Arnold's 80th
Golf Digest - September 2009
In conjunction with Arnold Palmer's 80th birthday on Sept. 10, the USGA is collecting Palmer memories from friends and fans of the King. Visit usgamuseum.com/arnoldpalmer to view the stories, including the video described in the first item, or to add your memory.
Photo by Walter Iooss Jr. September 2009
CALLING ON CHRISTMAS
From Peter Deeks
I graduated from college in spring 1967, and on Christmas Eve that year four friends came to my parents' house, where I was still living, to drink some beer and catch up. We got to talking about who we had wished Merry Christmas, and someone asked if I had done so to Arnold, who was (and still is) my idol. I said, "No, but I will right now," at which point I phoned AT&T information in Latrobe, Pa.
I asked for a listing for an A.D. [Arnold Daniel] Palmer. I heard, "I have no listing for A.D. Palmer, but I have an Arnold Palmer."
I dialed the numbers and heard, "Hello?"
"Is Arnold there?"
"It's Arnold speaking."
I immediately dispatched one of my friends to an extension phone, as I needed corroboration for this call. I said it was Peter Deeks from Toronto, Canada, calling, and I added, "I hope I'm not bothering you."
He said, "No, I'm putting presents under the tree for Winnie, Amy and Peggy."
We talked about many subjects, but the best was me telling Arnold how to resolve issues in the PGA between the club professionals and the touring pros. The conversation carried on for 12 minutes, according to the bill I received from Bell Canada. The bill also showed the commencement time of the call at 1:06 a.m. Christmas Day.
In December 1989, my brother Jim and family came to our house for Christmas dinner. He gave me two presents and said, "Open the small one first." I did so, and it was a video to be watched "immediately." On comes Arnie saying, "Hi, I'd like to wish Peter, Wendy and Sarah and Jocelyn Deeks a very Merry Christmas. ... Peter, do me a favor and call me again, but don't make it on Christmas Eve, OK?"
I was stunned. Then I was to open the large present, and it was a cue card with the above message and signed, "Arnold Palmer."
Jim, a TV director, had been assigned to do a TV promo in June 1989 for the Cadillac Skins Game being played in Toronto. He'd prepared the cue card in advance, and Arnold readily agreed to do it when the serious work was completed.
The cue card has been framed and adorns a wall of our family room.
A LIFETIME SUPPLY OF SHIRTS
From Dottie Pepper
My favorite Arnold Palmer memory didn't even take place on a golf course.
I had been invited for cocktails at the home of Charlie and Marilyn Mechem [Charlie Mechem is a former commissioner of the LPGA Tour], Arnold's next-door neighbors in La Quinta. Arnold insisted that he and I walk next door and check out a new shipment in his garage.
He had recently received word that his shirt manufacturer would no longer be making his signature hard-collar shirts, but he had been sent a lifetime supply in every color. The boxes were stacked to the ceiling, and he was just so darn proud! He didn't believe anyone would do something that thoughtful for him.
That's just Arnold.
THE PAYING CUSTOMERS
From Bob Hammel
While in the U.S. Army in West Berlin, I was lucky enough to play in the German Open and meet Arnie at a dinner for him, Seve Ballesteros and Tony Jacklin.
What I remember most, however, was after the last 18 holes, when Arnie was surrounded by fans seeking autographs. A member of his entourage came in to say that his private plane was ready to take off and they had to go. Arnie did not bat an eye but said, "Have the plane wait; these are the people who pay for that plane."
FROM GOLFER TO BROADCASTER
From Jim Rohr
As Arnie's friend, I have had the pleasure of observing and interacting with him in various settings. Of course, nothing beats spending time with him on the golf course. During one particularly enjoyable round, I partnered with Jim Nantz to take on Arnie and my brother Tom. We had a blast, and our best-ball match went back and forth until we came to Laurel Valley's signature 18th hole, a spectacular -- and reachable -- par 5.
After lacing their drives, Jim and Arnie found the green in two. Tom and I are serving as spectators at this point, and we watched Jim roll his approach putt toward the hole. Unfortunately, Jim didn't leave himself a gimme.
Already up a hole, Arnie looked to end the match, but his eagle putt stopped at the lip of the cup. That left Jim, who was getting a stroke on the hole, staring at a yips-inducing five-footer to bring us even.
Seizing the moment -- and turning the tables on Jim, who has captivated so many of us with his distinctive broadcasts -- Arnie lifted the grip of his putter to his chin, as if it were a microphone. Then, in a perfect golf-announcer parody, he described the situation.
"Jim Nantz is about to stroke the most important putt of his life," Arnie started. Jim had to back away as we all broke out in laughter. "It's a treacherous five-footer," the King continued, "and he'll need to play a subtle right-to-left break."
Composing himself, Jim stroked the putt -- and it slipped by on the right. He grimaced and looked at Arnie: "You misread that!"
"Hey," Arnie responded. "I was being the broadcaster, not your caddie." As with most rounds, we finished with a laugh -- and by paying Arnie his winnings.
THE FINAL U.S. OPEN
From Rocco Mediate
I was fortunate to be paired with Mr. Palmer at the 1994 U.S. Open at Oakmont, which was his last U.S. Open.
Friday afternoon, we were walking up the 18th fairway toward the green. I was about 50 yards or so behind him, just taking it all in: huge galleries as far as you could see and applause as loud as it could possibly be, just to acknowledge and admire the man they all loved and had cheered for so long. It didn't matter what he shot; it mattered to them that he was there, and they appreciated it.
When I putted out on 18 I went to him, shook his hand and said, "You made all this possible for golf -- this is all because of you." At that we both were overcome with emotion.
A PAUSE FOR TEARS
From Archie Ellis, a volunteer at Palmer's Final U.S. Open
I found myself assigned to shepherd Arnold Palmer from the raucous, thundering and consistent adulation of the 18th fairway and green to his first interview position behind the grandstands at the 1994 U.S. Open at Oakmont.
It was not a long journey -- maybe 100 yards -- but it was long enough for him to stop me after moving through the tunnel, but short of our intended location, by saying, "Give me a minute, please." At that point, he turned, walked a couple of feet to a large tree, placed his face on the back of his hand against the trunk, and with his back to me, quietly let the tears flow for a minute or so, his shoulders rising and falling with each wave of emotion. There were only one or two other people with us, but we all stood silently to give him his time.
Finally, his caddie walked over and put his hand on Palmer's back, whispering in his ear. The great man straightened up, wiped the tears away before turning back to us, and nodded to him. He turned to me and said, "Let's go," and we walked to an interview station for a USGA taping prior to the melee at the media center a few minutes later.
I handed him off at that time to someone else and went on my way, but that one moment of watching him grieve the end of his era has remained with me. It was so personal and involved a man of such greatness that it bordered on the religious, but he would probably object to that comparison. Arnold Palmer's greatness lies in his very real, very tangible humanity, and there was no stronger evidence of that than watching those brief tears fall in recognition of the limitations placed upon him by time.
THE SUPREME PUTTING CONTEST
From Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
I was privileged to meet Arnold Palmer at the U.S. Supreme Court. He knew Justice [Anthony] Kennedy, and the two of them came by my chambers to say hello. I kept a putting device and a couple of putters there, and we decided to have a wee putting contest. You do not have to guess who won. It was Arnie Palmer, of course. But what a treat!
THANKS FROM TIGER
From Tiger Woods
I know I can visit Arnold for advice or a reassuring smile anytime. To have a role model like him makes us all try a little harder. I'm certain much success and friendship lie ahead.
Thank you, Arnold.
Posted by scurry at 03:33 PM
COVER STORY: Palmer in his Prime
As Arnold turns 80, it's time to savor the skill and charisma that changed golf
By Tom Callahan
Golf Digest -
Photos (clockwise from left): AP Photos (3), GD Resource Center
By Tom Callahan
Golf Digest -
Records speak for themselves, but Arnold Palmer's splendid record speaks too softly. As he turns 80 on September 10, how important he is has obscured how great he was.
Palmer didn't invent golf, just grace and golf, just television and golf. Raymond Floyd says, "Arnold was the epitome of a superstar," even before that word was coined. "He set the standard for how superstars in every sport ought to be, in the way he has always signed autographs, in the way he has always made time for everyone." In his patience. In his decency.
"On the golf course," Floyd says, "all I ever saw was a mass of people. I saw, but I didn't see. He was able to focus in on everyone in the gallery individually. It wasn't fake." He was able to make eye contact with the entire world.
Once, he was a tremendous driver. "Oh, man," Floyd says, "one of the best drivers of the golf ball in history. Long and straight." Once, he charged putts like he charged everything. "I don't think," Floyd says, "I ever saw him leave a putt short."
"I always thought Arnold was a good iron player, too," says Jack Nicklaus, who stood in the rain and watched Palmer hitting irons even before Jack knew who he was. This was outside Toledo in 1954. Neither the 24-year-old amateur champion on the range nor the 14-year-old dreamer on the hill had any idea they would someday be hyphenated.
"I just saw a young, strong guy," Nicklaus says, "who hit the ball hard, beat it hard -- beat it into the ground." A beater of the ball originally, Palmer became a swinger of the club eventually. He was knocking down 9-irons and 7-irons under the storm. Nicklaus was drenched to the skin. "Oh, that's Arnold Palmer," he said later.
From then on, Jack followed Arnold from afar, just like everyone else in and out of golf, as old black telephones on copy desks in sports departments jangled with one question: "What did Arnie do today?"
But for a solitary stroke in regulation twice, he could have been live after three legs of the Grand Slam in 1960 and 1962. After winning the Masters and U.S. Open in '60, he lost the British Open by one shot to Australian Kel Nagle, who required nine fewer putts. (Getting some of his own back, as the British say, Palmer took the next two Open Championships on the trot, the second by six strokes over Nagle.)
In '62, of course, he lost the U.S. Open playoff to Nicklaus at Oakmont between Masters and British triumphs. From '60 to '63, Arnold won 29 tournaments and finished second 10 times. During that blitz, he had 66 top 10s on the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods isn't the first golfer who ever dominated.
A smaller moment in '62 has stayed with Nicklaus. "It was at the Phoenix Open," he says, "the first time we played as pros in the same group. I needed a birdie on the last hole to finish second to him in the tournament. I'll never forget coming to the 18th tee."
"Relax," Palmer whispered, "you can birdie this hole. C'mon, it's important."
"I did birdie it," Jack says, "finishing second, making a whopping $2,300. Oh, by the way, he nipped me that week by 12 shots."
After beating Nicklaus and Dave Marr by six in the 1964 Masters, shrugging his strong shoulders into a fourth green jacket, Palmer stopped winning majors at the now-astonishing age of 34. However, because he was second to Jack at Augusta the following spring and remained a constant on U.S. Open leader boards for the next 10 years, nobody noticed.
But for a solitary stroke in regulation thrice, Palmer would have won three U.S. Opens from 1962 through 1966, which would have brought his total to four in seven years. If it sounds like he's losing a lot of playoffs (to Nicklaus at Oakmont, to Julius Boros at The Country Club, to Billy Casper after the cataclysmic collapse at Olympic), consider that Arnold won 14 playoffs on tour, the same number as Jack. Nobody has won more.
Gary Player, who with Dow Finsterwald lost a three-man Masters playoff to Palmer in 1962, says, "Jack won majors for 25 years; I won them for 20; Arnold won them for six. But because he was so charismatic, because he did so much for golf, because the people loved him so dearly, they thought he was still winning. And, you know what? He was." He was winning hearts.
Although Palmer went through warehouses full of golf clubs, Player remembers one No. 1 wood in particular. "It was the most wicked-looking driver you ever saw in your life," he says. "It must have had 11 degrees of loft. Well, he needed it. He was a very shut-faced player. I tell you, he could hit that thing so straight and so far. Arnold was such a beautiful driver, such a wonderful putter. I've seen other players who weren't afraid to knock the ball five and six feet past, who trusted themselves to hole those comebackers one after another after another. But none of them could touch Palmer." He was the inventor.
Famously, he was adventurous. "Just as he won some tournaments taking unnecessary gambles," Player says, "he lost some tournaments taking unnecessary gambles. But that was Arnold." With a hitch of his trousers and a whirlybird swing, he could make a triple bogey proud. "That was part of the endearment," Gary says. "He did absolutely everything the same damn way. It wasn't his nature to lag a putt because it wasn't his nature to lag, period. He woke up charging, charging, charging. He fell out of bed with all this great charisma, just fell out of bed with it."
Men admired Palmer. Women adored him.
Photo: Golf Digest Resource Center
Finsterwald, loser of the last match-play PGA (1957), winner of the first stroke-play PGA (1958), came into this world exactly four days before Palmer. Four score and four days ago... Dow and Arnie christened their uncommon friendship in 1948, when the Ohio University golf team made a swing through the South and stopped off at Wake Forest.
"I don't know, I guess we just liked a lot of the same things," Finsterwald says, "like cowboy movies. Our wives were very compatible, too, which was lucky, especially in those scrambling years at the beginning when we'd sometimes throw in together on the road. But the thing Arnie and I truly had in common, the thing both of us enjoyed most of all, was playing golf. That may sound funny, but you'd be surprised how many good players, how many pros, weren't able to enjoy it nearly as much as we did. To us it was an avocation as well as a vocation. I think of him as the greatest amateur-professional who ever lived. By that I mean he never stopped playing the game for the love of it, like an amateur. Sure, he liked making a nice living. But he loved to play. Still does."
It was at a Finsterwald tribute in Athens, Ohio, where the teenage Nicklaus first shook Palmer's hand on a tee. "Arnold shot 62 playing with Jack that day," Dow says, and he tried to shoot 62, to impress the kid. Finsterwald can still see the look in both of their eyes. The look of eagles.
COMING HOME TO LATROBE
Palmer got started a bit late on tour, at the age of 25, winning the Canadian Open straightaway. But the three years in the Coast Guard, the working-man's background, the cigarette on the lip, the stern but forgiving father he called "Pap" or "Sir," and the small town of Latrobe are other necessary parts of the endearment. Especially Latrobe. The wellspring of the Palmer grace is obvious: Wherever he went over these 80 years, and he went almost everywhere in the world, he always came home to Latrobe. He's there now, in that forest-green patch of Pennsylvania, just east of Pittsburgh, just west of the Allegheny Mountains.
He's sitting at the desk in his office, gazing out the window at his childhood.
"Just where we are now," he says, "is a history in itself. When I learned to shoot a shotgun, my father and I -- he taught me -- we walked that hillside right there and shot pheasants and rabbits and squirrels, and took them down and cleaned them in the stream right over here about 200 yards away. And my mother would put them in salt water overnight, and we'd have them the next day for food.
"Right here, right on the edge of this hill, an old oak tree fell over. Like that one there. See the squirrel climbing up? The trunk was rotten -- I'll never forget this. A bunch of honeybees had moved in. Have you ever seen a honeycomb? Well, this one was full of honey. I mean, absolutely like that! [He spread his great hands like an exaggerating fisherman.] And my dad says, 'Now, Arnie, we're going to take this honey home and give it to your mother, and we're going to eat it.' But he says, 'We got to get two five-pound bags of sugar. When we take the honey out, we're going to put those two bags of sugar right there, so the bees can have their food.' By God, we did it. I was about 7 or 8 years old."
His face is creased and leathery, naturally. He's more than a little sand-blasted, to be sure. But he still has the comfortable bearing and confident look of the athlete. And sitting there smiling, especially with his eyes, he doesn't seem or sound much different than he did on the Sunday morning of the final day of the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont, when he and John Schlee were tied for the lead.
Hours before teeing off, Palmer sat around a clubhouse patio with a fine kettle of newspapermen. Among the countless times he held court this way, the Oakmont session has stood out somehow, maybe because of a gentle story he told in response to a prescient question.
Just in case an overnight downpour hadn't made the greens mushy enough, half of the sprinklers had been left on all night. Which prompted Jack Murphy of the San Diego Union to wonder, "What if somebody goes out early and shoots 63?"
(Had Murphy said 62 or 64, this would sound less like "new journalism." But he said 63.)
"If somebody does that," Palmer answered ruefully, "I can promise you one thing: The members will be mad as hell. They're not paying for 63s." Glancing down the road toward Latrobe, he added, "You know, some people around here think they can buy anything."
Being the son of an employee at Latrobe Country Club, young Arnold was always expected to make himself invisible on the property. His father, Deacon, was at least as much a course superintendent as a teaching pro, and far more tractor driver than Izod salesman. One day in the golf shop -- possibly the best day of Arnie's boyhood -- Pap ferociously lit into a member who was chewing out his son for nothing. But, generally, the boy tried to keep out from underfoot.
Their house adjoined the sixth tee. On ladies' days, with a cap pistol in a holster strapped to his hip, he leaned like Paladin against a back-yard tree and fixed his gunfighter's stare on a ditch in the distance.
"I was available to hit their drives over the hazard for a nickel," he said at Oakmont. "Some of them were slow pay." Sitting at his desk now, he laughs at that. He still hops when he laughs. "Helen Fritz," he says. (He remembers her name.) "She was my first customer. 'Arnie,' she said, 'if you hit this ball across that ditch, I'll give you a nickel.' " That was the day he turned pro.
When it came time for Schlee and Palmer to tee off at Oakmont, Murphy went out with a colleague to the first tee to find only Schlee. He was a Texan who liked to wear Hawaiian shirts because his high-water mark was a victory in the Hawaiian Open. Schlee was completely alone on the tee. No spectators, no caddies, no Palmer. He propped a ball up on a peg, clocked it with his driver and headed off down the fairway. What had just taken place took awhile to register, but, as it turned out, that wasn't Schlee's only drive at No. 1. He had walked all the way to his first ball, only to find it unplayable.
"Palmer," Murphy whispered, "is leading the Open." But Johnny Miller was already halfway to his 63.
"Tee to green," Arnold says, "I played better golf from the late '60s through the middle to late '70s than I played at any other time in my life. Won less, but played better. If my clubs were right, I thought I could do whatever I wanted to do with the golf ball. That's kind of how I felt about playing. The actual shotmaking was better from '65 to '76, '77, but I didn't make things happen as I did in the early years. Still, I don't regret a single thing. I'd have liked to win a PGA, but I had a good run."
FROM A GAME TO A SPORT
Palmer's impact on the sport, especially the selling of it in the United States, is mammoth. The simplest way to put it is, he is the one who made it a sport. It had been a game. In that mythical first foursome of American golf (Palmer, Bobby Jones, Dwight Eisenhower and Bob Hope), he is the connector to all of the others, and the captain. "Ike doesn't get nearly as much credit as he should," Palmer says, but the World Golf Hall of Fame is about to take care of that.
He has known many presidents. Richard Nixon asked his opinion about the Vietnam War. His advice amounted to: Whatever you do, don't lay up. But Ike was his friend. On the weekend of Palmer's 37th birthday, wives Winnie and Mamie conspired to spirit Eisenhower from Gettysburg to Latrobe for a surprise visit. When the bell rang and Arnie opened the front door, there stood the Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe and the 34th President of the United States, holding a little overnight bag in his hand. "We didn't play golf," Palmer says. "He couldn't play anymore. We just hung out. He was the greatest."
Arnold lost his darling Winnie to cancer in 1999, but she's still here. She's everywhere in the building. Shaking off his own cancer, he found Kit in 2005. He won the daily double. Arnie must be God's favorite golfer, too.
Eisenhower painted Palmer's picture. So did Norman Rockwell. Why wouldn't he? Millions of photographs, honors and mementos surround the place now, ranging from a Hickok Belt and a Sportsman urn to a Bill Mazeroski baseball and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Across from Arnold's desk, a couple of golf balls are mounted under glass.
At a senior event near Washington in 1986, Palmer made a hole-in-one with a 5-iron, and on the same spot a day later, he did it again. That first morning, Player was in the group ahead, waiting beside the green. "I saw him standing there," Arnold said later. "I wanted to hit a good one." Hearing that, Gary just shook his head. "He always knew how to share a moment of triumph," he said. "Yours or his. Sometimes in life, it can be very hard to find someone to share your moments of triumph."
On the third day, the national media showed up in force to see if Palmer would score another ace. It was a little like staking out a random airport on the chance Amelia Earhart might land. But it was fun. When Arnie missed the cup, everybody moaned, cheered and left.
The boy who wasn't allowed on the course owns it now. Lock, stock and a subdivision of guesthouses. He seems to own the whole town. His face is on the phone book, and his name is on the airport. Even at his age, Arnold continues to be fully qualified to pilot his jet. Every year he is checked out again for several days in simulators, where his nickname should be Flying Colors.
Arnold is pleased by today's game. He likes it. He likes Tiger. "I spent three hours one night with him early on," he says. "More than three hours, four hours. At his request. And it was good. I met his father, but I can't say I knew him."
Earl Woods, you could say, took some knowing.
"You knew him," Palmer says. "What was he like?"
Good-hearted, once you got inside the shell. Of course, it wasn't easy to get inside the shell.
"Well, you know," he says, "you can see that and feel it in Tiger, too. My father was like that."
Palmer, Nicklaus, Player, Finsterwald, Floyd -- none of them are putting their feet up and stopping. But certain birthdays unleash memories. It's hard not to start adding up the scores.
"I've stayed in Arnold's house," Player says. "He's stayed in mine. He came to South Africa, and we took him down a gold mine. And his mother. I just loved his mother. She was a dear lady. And I loved his father. He was just as tough as they say, but that wasn't the whole story. As professional golfers, you know, we compete against each other our whole lives, and I tried to beat Arnold's ass in every single way I could. But you laugh together as you go, and you cry together sometimes. Arnold and I actually, physically, cried together. At the end of the day, we played for each other. Money was never the criterion. We were all playing for something better than money."
Nicklaus says, "Arnold and I wanted to beat each other's brains in, but I consider him one of my closest friends in the game. There's no question about his record and ability, but think of how much he brought to the game. The hitch of his pants. The fans. He paralleled the growth of television golf. He was just the right man at just the right time." "When I think of him," Floyd says, "I think of his hands. The greatest set of hands I've ever seen. I was on the practice tee once, hitting it a little crooked, and went right to him for help. He clamped my club in one hand like a vise and bent it just slightly at the neck. I started hitting them straight as can be. Somebody once took a picture of those hands. I've kept it."
Finsterwald says, "You know that PGA Tour slogan, 'These guys are good?' I wish they'd make a new commercial showing Retief Goosen missing that little putt at Southern Hills and then winning the U.S. Open playoff the next day. 'These guys are good -- and they are human.' That's Palmer, above all. Human."
The great Doc Giffin, dean of golf's media major-domos, is still on the job after 43 years, still serving Palmer. In the Latrobe locker room, he points out a cubicle that has been closed for 33 years. The nameplate says, "Milfred J. (Deacon) Palmer, Golf Professional-Course Superintendent, Latrobe Country Club, 1921-1976."
Nineteen-seventy-six was the year Doc's best friend, Bill Finigan, was killed in a private plane crash. Giffin and Finigan grew up together in Crafton, a suburb of Pittsburgh. After the funeral, Palmer urged Doc to take his vacation right away, to go to Bay Hill in Orlando. "Deacon came up to me and said, 'Can I go with you?' I was surprised, but grateful for the company. 'Sure,' I said."
In the middle of the flight, the tough guy turned to Doc and said, "You've lost your best friend. I'll try to be your best friend now." Two days later in Florida, Deacon had a heart attack and died.
Arnold shot 64 the day before at Bob Hope's tournament in California. Of course he withdrew.
Deacon taught Arnie respect, integrity, manners, empathy and how to grip a golf club. But the best thing he ever taught him was, when you take the honey out, put some sugar back in. That's what Palmer has done his whole life.
Posted by scurry at 03:16 PM
Editor's Letter: Arnold At 80
Join the party as we celebrate Arnie 80th birthday with stories, photos and video from the archives of Golf Digest and Golf World. Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde
as well as others in the world of golf share their memories on the King.
By Jerry Tarde
Golf Digest - September 2009
Pro golfers are better at being nice guys than, say, baseball players or governors, so the standard is pretty high when someone asks, "Who's your favorite golfer?" A college kid caddieing for me last weekend in Vermont popped the question. Without hesitation, I replied, "Arnold Palmer." The caddie nodded, knowingly. On the eve of his 80th birthday, Arnie still spans the generations.
If you want to join his party, check out the digital memory book the United States Golf Association is compiling of birthday wishes and anecdotes from golfers all over (see "Birthday Greetings" or usgamuseum.com/arnoldpalmer). Here's the one I just added:
My Top One
I played golf with Arnie a couple of summers ago at Latrobe Country Club. The third hole runs along Arnold Palmer Drive -- is there a better name ever for a public road? As we walked onto the third tee, some guy driving down the road sees Arnold and brings his car to a stop. He jumps out and runs onto the course with his hand extended. "Mr. Palmer," he says, "you've been my hero forever. I grew up here in Pittsburgh, and all I ever wanted to do was shake your hand. Would you do me that honor?" Of course, Palmer shook his hand, introduced him to everybody, put his arm around his shoulder and talked to him like they were old war buddies. As the guy gets ready to leave, Arnie says, "Hey, Joe. You don't happen to have a camera, do you?" Joe says his cell phone takes pictures. So Palmer tells him to "run, get it." Joe comes back and hands me the cell phone to capture this moment. Arnie has been creating these moments his whole life -- not just now, but when he was in his prime. Common acts of human decency, so rare among the greats, always come naturally to him.
Senior Editor Peter Morrice worked with Palmer to winnow the tips he's written over the years to his "20 All-Time Best". "A few times I prompted him to tell a certain well-worn story about his father teaching him as a kid," said Morrice. "I'm sure he's repeated those stories a thousand times, but with each one he smiled and started in like he was relating it for the first time. Everybody gets a first telling with Arnold."
The very ordinariness of Palmer is what makes him so special, so appealing. Contributing Editor Tom Callahan researched our profile of "Palmer in His Prime" with trips to Latrobe and Palmer's Bay Hill Club in Orlando. "At Bay Hill the Monday night after Tiger won," Callahan e-mailed me, "I was having dinner with Doc Giffin and Bev Norwood [longtime Palmer associates] in the clubhouse. It was dusk. We looked out the window, and there was Arnold standing on the other side of the fairway holding his big, yellow Lab, Mulligan, on a leash. It wasn't a dramatic scene. It was the opposite of that. Just a picture of twilight with Arnold in the frame. It started us telling our stories about him. Some of mine are in the piece."
Posted by scurry at 01:53 PM