Arnold Palmer News: Archives
State of the Game: The delicate fabric of the game
March 17, 2013
I marvel at golf. I’ve been immersed in the game now for almost 80 years, yet every day it surprises me or affects me in some new way. Sometimes it’s a swing tip I’ve never heard before. Occasionally it’s a snippet of the game’s rich history that had previously gone unnoticed or maybe it’s that one remaining golf joke I hadn’t yet heard. But the way in which the game most often surprises me – moves me, really – is its endless capacity for good. From the game’s leading professionals to its highest handicappers, from its administrators to its administrated, it is inspiring, even golf-affirming, to know that while ropes may separate the world’s greatest players from their fans, we’re all united in two key ways: charity and the Rules of Golf.
The PGA Tour’s first recorded donation came in 1938 when the Palm Beach Invitational donated $10,000 from tournament proceeds to charity. From then on the game has been rooted in generosity. I can honestly say that I don’t know of a single person in this sport – leading administrators, top players, rank-and-file competitors, journeymen, media, tournament organizers – who is not directly involved with charity. For 75 years that philanthropy has been stamped into the Tour’s DNA. Ask Tim Finchem, who was presiding as commissioner in 2004 when the Tour passed the $1 billion mark in charitable donations, and has set a goal of reaching the $2 billion mark by 2014. I have no doubt we’ll surpass that.
My family and I have been privileged to play a small role in these efforts. Our tournament at Bay Hill, coming up this week, raises funds for the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, the only hospital in Central Florida built for women and led by women. Helping nurture these institutions was a passion of my late wife, Winnie, and remains a passion and a priority of mine. But I’m no different in that regard from any of my colleagues. From Jack Nicklaus to Gary Player to Lee Trevino to Raymond Floyd to Tom Watson and right on down to the last man on your local mini-tour money list, we’re all in.
You may have heard that Devon Quigley, son of Champions Tour star Dana Quigley, was seriously injured in an automobile accident about a year and a half ago. The resulting medical bills have been astronomical. So Jim Colbert asked me to help with a fundraiser he was putting together in Florida. He told Dana, “I’ll get you some pros.” Jack also showed up. So did Gary and Lee and Raymond and Tom and Ben Crenshaw, Larry Nelson, Nick Price, Steve Elkington, Curtis Strange, Lanny Wadkins, Tom Kite, Dave Stockton, Mark Calcavecchia and Jeff Sluman and many, many more. The outpouring was so overwhelming, in fact, that Hollis Cavner, who runs the 3M Championship on the Champions Tour, had to be brought in to manage the outing, which, of course, he did for free. The golf course, The Floridian, was donated by another golf lover, Jim Crane. And to top it all off, Jack and Barbara hosted a dinner party at their home. Why? Because (as Jack likes to say) golfers, by nature, are a giving bunch.
What amazes me about golf, however, is that the PGA Tour family is just the tip of golf’s charitable spear. Look at the work done every day by golfers in your town, city and state. Charity scrambles, golf-a-thons, cause-related leagues, charity auctions and invitationals abound. Not long ago I read in one of the magazines about a league in Colorado comprised of dozens of local businessmen who compete in monthly tournaments at area golf courses. They play a game they love while raising thousands of dollars every year for local causes. There are thousands of golf groups doing the same thing across this country and around the world every day.
Of course, golf is not unique among sports in supporting charities. The NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL all have vibrant and productive charitable arms, but golf’s philanthropic web is wider, deeper, stronger, more committed and more resilient than any I have seen this side of the Red Cross. Why? Let me answer that with a few questions. Could it have anything to do with the kind of people who take up our sport? Could it have anything to do with the messages of sportsmanship and respect that continue to undergird our game? Could it be that golf – so often passed from fathers to sons and mothers to daughters – makes us all feel like cousins? Could it be a sense of gratitude for a life lived on grass; for one last birdie in the fading light; for the soothing cycle of another cool evening spent chasing down a purple sky? In the end, I guess “why” we give is less important than that we give. I’m just so pleased and proud that we do.
Beyond revealing the golfer’s giving heart, charity is also an indication of our game’s health. It’s a show of pride for and unity in our sport. We need that now more than ever. That brings me to the rules. In my seven-plus decades in this increasingly global game, we’ve had very few actual disagreements. We’re facing another one right now.
With the USGA’s and R&A’s decision to recommend a ban on anchored putting and the consequent opposition from the PGA Tour, the PGA of America, golf equipment manufacturers and some rank-and-file amateurs, the stage has been set for something more ominous. I think we’re facing a serious challenge to the rules that govern the global game. My concern is that the fabric that unites us, the tie that binds you to me and me to Tiger and Tiger to you – one set of rules – will be irreparably torn. If both these ruling bodies proceed with the proposed ban and if the Tour, the PGA of America and eventually the average player in effect ignore it, where does that leave us? Where does that leave a guy like Tim Clark, who has for years legally and successfully anchored his putter? Where does it leave the guy at your club or local muni who’s grown comfortable with what has always been a legally anchored stroke? If they decide to ignore the Rules of Golf, how will the USGA maintain a relevant voice in the United States on other vital issues such as growing the game, slow play, golf course maintenance and their charitable work? Does it leave the U.S. Open and the Open Championship adrift from the other majors? Could the USGA’s other great championships or the Tour’s own events be diminished?
I have enormous respect for the USGA and the R&A. Both have been an important part of my life as both a competitor and a man for well over half a century. Many of the friendships I formed when I was playing in U.S. Amateurs, U.S. Opens and Open Championships in the early part of my career thrive to this day. I’ve worked closely with the USGA on a volunteer basis for the better part of my life. Regardless of how you or I or the Tour feels about it, the USGA is charged (along with the R&A) with the responsibility of writing the rules by which we play. They are the final judges. I think – I know – that they take that responsibility seriously.
I hope that behind the scenes the USGA, the R&A, the PGA Tour and the PGA of America – four of the central golf organizations of my life, all of which do remarkable work growing and promoting the game – can come to some understanding and we continue to have one set of rules for everyone. Like most older players, I want to pass along to my grandkids a game that’s stronger and healthier than the one I inherited. That means a game with the interwoven threads of philanthropy and integrity intact.
On GolfChannel.com, Arnold Palmer periodically shares his opinions about issues affecting the game of golf through his column, “Arnold Palmer’s State of the Game.”
Posted by scurry at 02:40 PM
State of the Game: Golf through Arnie's eyes
December 16, 2012
I have been around the game of golf since I first hit a ball when I was 3 years old. That was 80 years ago. I still have interests in golf course design, course ownership and so on, but I haven’t really played competitive golf for quite some time. So as 2012 comes to an end, I’m seeing the game as you do: as a casual player, as a fan and as a businessman. And I like what I see. This year marked an important but painful anniversary for me. A half-century ago I lost the U.S. Open in an 18-hole playoff to a young up-and-comer named Jack Nicklaus. The defeat was particularly bruising as it took place at Oakmont Country Club in my home state and a short drive from my hometown of Latrobe.
That was an agonizing loss, but with a half-century of hindsight it’s clear to me that such challenges are the key to growth. This is as true for athletes as it is for businessmen and as true for sports as it is for industries. Look at our own game. Golf has been kicked around some in the last few years. Whether it was the glut of golf courses; the damage of a Great Recession during which politicians rushed to make the sport a scapegoat; or the soft television ratings from a few years ago, the game has faced its share of tests.
As we look back on 2012 and into the future, however, I see an increasingly vibrant and healthy game emerging from those examinations. It doesn’t take a scratch player to be moved by Bubba Watson’s personal story, his daring style and gutsy Masters win. The rest of the major champion class of 2012 – Webb Simpson, Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy – underscore the global reach of our game and the lasting appeal to both young and old.
At the amateur/club level the game is stabilizing as well. According to the National Golf Foundation’s latest available figures, 25.7 million Americans played at least one round of golf in 2011. Of course, in these tough economic times players are leaving the game. For instance, we lost 1.5 million golfers from 2008 to 2009 and one million between 2009 and 2010, but that reduced exit rate is encouraging. The slowing outflow, followed by an influx, is precisely how the game has responded to previous recessions. One underlying sign of golf’s strength: Even with the ebb in golfers, rounds played in 2012 are up 7.4 percent over 2011, the biggest one-year increase since the turn of the century.
Staying with that grassroots theme, I marvel at what The First Tee has accomplished. In the first 14 years since its founding in 1997, The First Tee has positively impacted the lives of more than 6.5 million youngsters. By 2017, the organization expects to influence an additional 10 million youngsters. That’s impressive, and just as impressive is that in October The First Tee announced it had raised more than $106.2 million toward that end. That’s inspiring.
The game’s vibrancy is evidenced in television, too. Who would have guessed that Golf Channel, only 17 years old, would be the fastest-growing network on television? As a founder of the network with my partner Joe Gibbs, I take great pride in that. For those who are convinced that Tiger Woods must win tournaments in order for televised golf to thrive, consider this: 2011, a year in which Tiger did not win a single official money event, was the most-watched year in Golf Channel’s history. That momentum at Golf Channel continued into 2012, which is shaping up to top 2011’s numbers and set a new mark for viewership.
Perhaps the most reassuring proof point of the game’s overall strength is the heightened battle for the world No. 1 ranking. Consider first that in my early days on Tour, we didn’t even have such a system. There was no need for it. Back then, the professional game, while played around the world, was very much condensed in Europe, South Africa and the Americas. Today, however, the game is as global as can be. The players contending for the top ranking in recent years hail from the U.S., England, Northern Ireland, Germany, South Africa, Australia and even South America and Fiji. For the first time ever we had a Belgian, Nicolas Colsaerts, compete in the Ryder Cup. In November, a 14-year-old from China named Tianlang Guan won the Asia-Pacific Amateur and earned a spot in next year’s Masters. He’ll be the youngest contestant in tournament history. Think of the impact that alone will have on golf across Asia in 2013 and beyond.
The men are not alone. As the year comes to an end we celebrate genuine global female stars as well, hailing from places as diverse as Chinese Taipei, Korea, Norway, Japan, the U.S. and, again, China. All of this bodes well for golf’s well-earned, long-awaited return to the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Oh, to be young again! What a thrill it would have been for me to represent my country in the Olympics.
Do we have issues? Sure – what truly global enterprise doesn’t? We need to keep bringing the game to youngsters and women. We need to address the distance that today’s ball travels. Slow play is turning time-starved people away from the sport. We need to encourage nine-hole rounds. We have environmental concerns to deal with and we have to keep a vigilant eye on the standards of sportsmanship that set our game apart. The U.S. Golf Association and R&A recently announced a ban on the practice of “anchoring” clubs – usually a long or belly-length putter – against the body. I applaud them for not only their ruling, but also for the patient and thoughtful approach they took, studying the issue for years and across all levels of golf before making their decision. There was nothing knee-jerk about it. The game is in good hands.
Golf has been played for the better part of 600 years. And while the men and women who play it may age with every passing season, the game has an uncanny way of renewing itself. As I write this, dozens of hopeful tour players – the next wave of stars and major champions – are sweating out the final stage of Q-School. Thousands of miles away, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, purists and modernists are heatedly debating changes to the treasured Old Course at St. Andrews. Meanwhile, in Asia, a 14-year-old boy is months away from his first breath of Augusta’s spring air. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Posted by scurry at 03:30 PM
Arnie clothing line as classic, timeless as the man himself
September 06, 2011
Courtesy of GolfChannel.com - By Win McMurry
LAS VEGAS – As Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicks off this week in New York City, it’s perfect timing to pay homage to one of the golf world’s greatest style icons.
Arnold Palmer is certainly one of the coolest and winningest athletes of all time, capturing seven major championships and 92 professional titles, but he also knows how to dress, and has accolades to back that up. In 2010 Palmer was profiled in Esquire’s “The 75 Best Dressed Men of All Time” and is often referenced for the model golf course dress.
Thanks to a team of designers and visionaries, Arnold’s classic, clean and cool style has been recreated and consolidated into a new line, aptly named Arnie, directly inspired by the looks worn by Palmer during the peak decades of his playing career.
Geoff Tait and Bobby Pasternak, who founded Quagmire in 2005 after meeting on a golf trip, are the masterminds behind the new line, which, above all collections shown at this year’s PGA Expo, was the most unique and impactful.
In fact, in a PGA show that seemed to revolve around the “old school” throwback theme, Arnie, hits right on trend.
Tait and Pasternak worked closely with Palmer to ensure that the looks were authentic. They literally thumbed through Palmer’s closet in Latrobe, Pa., as they developed the line in addition to combing through Palmer’s library of photographs from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
“It was a true honor when we received the phone call from Mr. Palmer’s camp asking if we’d be interested in discussing a new Arnie apparel collection,” said Tait, the creative director. “Having worked tremendously hard the past six years to perfect the Quagmire Golf brand’s service, quality, and distribution, we felt more than confident to take on such a wonderful venture.”
The 2012 Arnie line is comprised of four collections: 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and Timeless. Each features “Palmer Performance” pieces that use technical fabrics to keep cool, dry, and comfortable. In addition, practically exact replicas of some of Palmer’s signature styles are included in the line. One shirt in each collection features the Arnold Palmer silhouette to distinguish these pieces as Palmer originals.
“The Arnie line of apparel represents the styles of clothing that are as popular today as they were in the earlier part of my career,” Palmer said. “It’s been a real thrill to see some of my signature pieces come back to life, and experience the enthusiasm Geoff and Bobby have for introducing them to the next generation.”
But this line is not just for the young. It appeals to all ages, just like Arnie himself does, and has, for generations.
Posted by scurry at 06:43 PM
Palmer Opens Door to Viewers
November 29, 2010
By Randall Mell, Senior Writer, GolfChannel.com
ORLANDO, Fla. – Arnold Palmer makes his entrance.
When he steps off the stairs of his condo at Bay Hill early in the morning, his 9-year-old yellow lab, Mulligan, at his feet, you can almost swear the clouds stop rolling to hold their position and birds cease their chirping.
Palmer’s still a commanding presence.
He’s still a phenom in the sense that at 81 his appeal hasn’t faded.
We saw it in the excitement he generated at the Administaff Small Business Classic’s pro-am last month in one of his rare tournament appearances these days.
We saw it in this year’s release of the Sports Q Scores, where Palmer was the highest-ranked golfer with a 39 rating, putting him ahead of Jack Nicklaus (36), Tiger Woods (30) and Phil Mickelson (24) on Marketing Evaluations’ annual “likability” rankings.
We’ll also get to see it in Golf Channel’s “12 Nights at the Academy,” a special instructional series that begins Nov. 29. Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Greg Norman are in the formidable lineup that features Palmer in the anchor spot in the series finale on Dec. 10.
On a spectacular winter Florida morning last week, Palmer recorded his appearance from his condo’s two-car garage, which is so much more than a garage. It’s also his work shop, a miniature version of the special warehouse he built at his Latrobe, Pa., home. There are at least 50 golf shoes stored here in Orlando, dozens of golf clubs in racks above his work bench and lined up against the walls.
“This is just a smattering,” Palmer says during a break in the TV shoot. “It’s all in Latrobe. The place there’s huge.”
Palmer estimates he has 10,000 clubs stored in Latrobe, though not all his treasures are there. The driver he used to famously reach the first green in the final round at Cherry Hills when he made his triumphant charge to win the U.S. Open 50 years ago is on display at the club there. Some of his treasures are on loan to the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla.
“That’s coming back this year,” Palmer says. “It will go to Latrobe."
“I’m thinking of maybe taking a barn I have up there and turning it into a museum.”
Palmer’s equipment is special to him, so special that most of those 10,000 clubs in Latrobe are catalogued on a computer filing system.
His garage in Orlando is more than his workshop. It’s a retreat. He’ll hop onto his golf cart most every morning with Mulligan in tow, drive up to his office at his Bay Hill Club and Lodge and read his mail, write letters and tend to his business interests. He ventures back to his garage to escape.
“You see Arnold in here all the time, tinkering,” says a neighbor who stops by briefly before the TV shoot.
Palmer’s an equipment junkie. He loves trying out new clubs. On this morning, he’s fascinated by the Lamborghini forged composite shaft on a new Callaway driver.
“I won the Shell Houston Open one year with three sets of irons,” he tells Golf Channel’. Kelly Tilghman during taping of “12 Nights at the Academy.”
Palmer also loves to work on his own equipment, and he’s got special tools for the job in his Orlando garage. Above the work bench is a street sign that reads: “Arnie’s Drive.” There’s a machine on the bench to grind his irons and a sander. There’s an anchored vice grip to hold the clubs in place.
You’ll get a peek inside Palmer’s garage during “12 Nights at the Academy.” Tilghman’s interview takes place in the garage, where Palmer will show you how he changes the grips on his clubs. He does more than that. He shows Tilghman exactly how his father, Deke, taught him to put his famous hands onto a club as the grip he learned to play with.
Palmer shares a lot of insight with Tilghman, including his thoughts on how important it is for a player to create a style. He’ll tell you it’s among the lessons he passed onto his grandson, Sam Saunders, who is making his way into professional golf. Palmer told Tilghman finding a style is so important to a player’s purpose and confidence that it ought to seep into the way he walks.
While Palmer still enjoys going to his office to write letters to fans and do business, you know it’s here, in his workshop and garage, that he does his best thinking, that he finds much of the wisdom that shows up in those letters and in his business.
There’s something important to Palmer here you can’t see, but you can feel it. There’s solace.
“When I need to be alone and do my thing, this is where I go,” Palmer says. “It’s nice to get down here. It’s very quiet. Nobody knows where I am, unless I tell them. I get away from everything, and I can do what I want in there. Same thing up in Latrobe. I just close the doors.”
But during “12 Nights at the Academy,” he’ll open those doors for you. He’ll welcome you inside.
View the video at GolfChannel.com
Posted by scurry at 12:45 PM
Emulate the greats, says Palmer to young players
September 02, 2010
Golf icon thinks technology now makes the game too fast
By Mark Lamport-Stokes, Reuters
Some of the game's younger players need to do more to try to emulate Phil Mickelson when it comes to engaging with the fans, says golfing great Arnold Palmer.
World number two Mickelson, a winner of four major championships, is renowned for the amount of time he spends signing autographs and interacting with the galleries.
In the eyes of many, the left-hander has become the modern-day equivalent of fellow American Palmer, arguably the most charismatic player ever.
"Phil Mickelson has done a great job with the fans and that's good for the game," Palmer, 80, told Reuters in a telephone interview on Wednesday. "The fact that he relates to them so well is just fantastic.
"We just need to get more young players who can relate. I think they are starting to get the message but we could improve upon that and they could improve upon that with their relations with the galleries."
Palmer, a seven-times major champion, had no peers as a fan favourite and always went to great lengths to ensure every person waiting in line ended up with a cherished autograph.
With his swashbuckling style, prodigious length off the tee, bold putting and affection for the galleries, he did more than any other player to popularise the game with the advent of television.
"It's very important to relate to the fans because that will bring people to talk about it and that's what we always need in the game of golf," Palmer said.
While Palmer felt on-course public relations could be improved in the modern game, he was energised by the number of young guns who had burst on to the world stage in recent months.
"All these young players who are coming along, such as Matt Kuchar, Ryo Ishikawa and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who is so good at 21 years old," he said.
"It excites me to see the potential that he (McIlroy) has and what could happen. I am watching a lot of these young players. It's fun and it's something that can create great relationships between our nations on the international scene."
McIlroy won his first PGA Tour title at the Quail Hollow Championship in May after closing with a course record 10-under-par 62 and has been widely tipped by his peers as a future world number one. He is currently ranked seventh.
Palmer, who was a member of the so-called Big Three with fellow golfing greats Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, had no doubt about the one thing he would like to change most in the modern game.
"Because of technology, the players of today hit it too far," Palmer said. "That should be one of the major things on our agenda, to slow the golf ball down so that we don't tilt the scale.
"We have so many great golf courses but, as the players start hitting it so far, they are outdating our golf courses. We need to see if we can't just keep it in the range that we have known it for so many years."
Palmer also spoke to Reuters about his latest role with Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. and the non-profit organization Us TOO International to help raise awareness of advanced prostate cancer.
"People should be aware of what the potential is for prostate cancer and what the potential is for a cure and to live a happy life," said Palmer, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997.
"When it was discovered that I had it, I was able to get treated with very good results. Without having done that, it might have gotten away."
Every year, approximately 8,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed at an advanced stage and Palmer does not under-estimate the value of his work with the My Prostate Cancer Roadmap program (http://www.myprostatecancerroadmap.com/).
"A lot of people shy away from even talking about cancer and more particularly prostate cancer," he said. "We want people to pay attention, get their checkups, see their doctors and have the necessary tests that will tell them that they are either free or that they need to continue and do more.
"If I could have every man do that, it would be something that I would feel is a major accomplishment."
© Copyright (c) Reuters
Posted by scurry at 05:28 PM
The Day Arnie Threw Down
May 28, 2010
By Kaye W. Kessler - Colorado AvidGolfer
Fifty years have passed since Arnold Palmer’s epic comeback to win the U.S. Open at Cherry Hills--and the story never gets old.
Read the full article
Posted by scurry at 04:40 PM
Arnold Palmer Isn’t Your Typical Business Jet Traveler
February 01, 2010
Business Jet Traveler
Interview by Stephen Pope
Arnold Palmer isn’t your typical business jet traveler. A curiosity about airplanes–and a fear of flying on early airliners–led him to the pilot’s seat in 1956. He was just 27 then, but his aggressive play on the golf course and magnetic personality already were hinting at the greatness to come. Palmer won his first major two years later at the 1958 Masters in a dramatic televised finish that made him a household name and gave rise to a legion of fans known as “Arnie’s Army.”
A lifetime later, Palmer, now 80, has amassed about 18,000 hours at the controls of more aircraft types than even he can recall. He has owned 10 airplanes, progressing from his first, a 1961 Aero Commander 500, to his current ride, a Cessna Citation X twinjet he bought in 2002. He still flies the Citation X with longtime chief pilot Pete Luster about 150 to 200 hours a year, including for regular trips between his homes in Latrobe, Pa. (where he grew up the son of the golf pro and head groundskeeper at Latrobe Country Club), and Bay Hill Club and Lodge, the golf course he owns in Orlando, Fla.
Read the full story
Posted by scurry at 11:37 AM
American Legend Arnold Palmer Lends His Voice to No Plane No Gain Campaign
October 21, 2009
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)
Orlando, FL, October 20, 2009 – Golf legend and accomplished businessman Arnold Palmer is lending his voice to support the value of business aviation to citizens, companies and communities in a new video and print advertising campaign for No Plane No Gain, the advocacy program jointly sponsored by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
“Arnold Palmer has always been an advocate for business aviation, because he has a first-hand understanding of its essential role in serving towns and communities across the country,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “For his entire career, business aviation has made it possible for him to succeed in golf and business – all from his hometown of Latrobe, PA, which doesn’t have airline service.”
GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce added: “Through these new ads, we will be able to draw even more attention to the messages No Plane No Gain has been communicating: that business aviation supports over a million jobs, represents a lifeline for small- and medium-sized U.S. towns, enables companies to compete and succeed, and helps provide relief to people and communities in times of crisis.”
The new advertising, rolled out during the Opening General Session of NBAA’s 62nd Annual Meeting & Convention, includes three print ads and three 30-second video ads. The print and video ads complement one another, and build upon the efforts already undertaken through the No Plane No Gain program to educate policymakers and opinion leaders about the value of business aviation to citizens, companies and communities across the U.S.
With a simple, yet powerful delivery, Palmer speaks to the benefits of business aviation in the ads and responds to those who would devalue the use of an airplane for business. For example, in one print ad, Palmer states: “People who build business airplanes make things fly. People who use them make things happen. A few others make things up.” In one of the video spots, Palmer states plainly: “For more than 50 years, using business airplanes is the single most productive thing I have done.”
Addressing the large crowd gathered at the Opening General Session, Palmer explained why he felt compelled to lend his voice to the No Plane No Gain program. “I know the value of business airplanes,” Palmer said. “I know what they have done for me and my companies. I know how important they are to my hometown. And I know how important they are to this country. So I wanted to speak out and help set the record straight.”
To view the video ads, visit the No Plane No Gain web site: www.noplanenogain.org/Video_Advertisements.htm?m=47&s=385
To view the print ads, visit the No Plane No Gain web site: www.noplanenogain.org/Print_Advertisements.htm?m=47&s=416
Posted by scurry at 10:10 AM
CNN: Evergreen Palmer to play until 90
October 08, 2009
(CNN) -- Golf legend Arnold Palmer has just celebrated his 80th birthday and exclusively told CNN's Living Golf that he hopes to play for another ten years.
Read the full article at CNN.com
Posted by scurry at 04:19 PM
LA Times: Arnold Palmer, the King of golf, shows no signs of slowing down
October 06, 2009
Los Angeles Times - October 6, 2009 - By Bill Dwyre
At 80, Palmer looks trim and tan and still flies his own plane. During a stop at Rolling Hills Country Club, he answers some questions, including how an iced tea and lemonade blend came to bear his name.
If you play golf, watch it on TV, think you might take it up someday, or have hit a ball under a windmill and through a clown's mouth, there was no better place to be on a sparkling clear Saturday morning in Southern California.
The King was in town. The golfer who never had a gallery, always an Army, was in the house.
Arnold Palmer got out of a car, hitched up his pants and walked into the courtyard at the Rolling Hills Country Club like somebody about to shop for a new putter. The man who made the game the multi-billion-dollar sport it is today never acts like it. People surround him, keeping an arm's length as one would for royalty. And it is Palmer, always a little embarrassed by this sort of adulation, who engages them first.
Read the full story at LAtimes.com
Posted by scurry at 05:13 PM
Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando: Fit for a king
September 23, 2009
Courtesy of GolfChannel.com
Posted: September 22, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. - Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer will forever be intimately linked to the Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
And that, perhaps, is the best indicator of how special this private southwest Orlando golf course really is. Marketing executives couldn't dream up a better pair of icons to be associated with their course.
Palmer has long served as the face of Bay Hill, bringing his Arnold Palmer Invitational to Florida every year since 1979. The course's daily afternoon shootout, sometimes with Palmer in the game, has become the stuff of legend. Woods is linked to Bay Hill for one reason: how thoroughly he has dominated the Invitational, winning a record six times, including a PGA Tour-record-tying four times in a row from 2000 to 2003.
Bay Hill General Manager Ray Easler calls the Woods-Palmer connection to Bay Hill "an incredible marriage."
Bay Hill is one of the toughest courses on Tour, one of the reasons why Tiger Woods has won a record six times here.
"It seems to be fate that the two are tied together," Easler said. "Tiger only lives a mile and a half away. He plays with us every year. You have the new legend coming about next to the living legend."
Past champions of the Invitational reads like a hall-of-fame banquet: Ernie Els (1998), Phil Mickelson (1997), Ben Crenshaw (1993), Fred Couples (1992), Tom Kite (1989), Payne Stewart (1987) and Fuzzy Zoeller (1985), to name a few.
Only Doral Golf Resort and Spa's Blue Monster has hosted a pro tournament longer than Bay Hill. The 7,157-yard course continues to stand up to the world's best players and put on a show while doing so. The 31st annual Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard had a new slot on the PGA Tour calendar this past March, just two weeks before the Masters. And for the second consecutive year, Woods won with a dramatic birdie putt on the 72nd and final hole.
"I like the new dates, and it could make our field stronger, although we've always enjoyed having great fields," Palmer, winner of 62 PGA Tour titles, including seven majors, told PGATour.com.
Nothing's easy at Bay Hill
To keep up with today's long bombers, Bay Hill, designed by the venerable Dick Wilson in 1961, converted in 2007 to a par-70 layout for the tournament with two member par 5s playing as par 4s.
Playing the 27 holes of Bay Hill without a tour card requires an invitation from a member or a stay in its 64-room lodge. The added expense of spending the night is well worth the chance to tee it up at a place so steeped in history. Tennis courts, a health club, a luxury spa and the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy make Bay Hill feel more like a resort getaway than just a private club.
The layout itself has a few pedestrian Florida holes, where the typical bunkers and water hazards await. But they are offset by several stunners that confound even the world's best.
The 558-yard sixth hole bends boomerang-style around a massive pond. John Daly hit six consecutive tee shots into the water for an 18 in 1998. It was a "Tin Cup" moment in real life, showcasing how tempting it is to cut off too much of the corner.
The property has just enough humps and ridges to create several semi-blind tee shots, notably the par-5 12th and par-4 15th. Playing the proper angle off the tee on many holes could be the difference of at least two strokes.
The golf course's finish garners more than its share of the TV coverage for the simple reason that people love carnage. A train wreck is possible on any of the final three holes. The 517-yard, par-5 16th now plays as a nasty par 4, forcing players to carry the water hazard in front on their second shot or risk being called a wimp in the locker room. The skinny green on the 219-yard 17th is hard to hit and hold.
And we've all witnessed the destructive charms of the 18th hole. Years ago, Palmer himself transformed a weak par 5 into a stout par 4 of 441 yards with a hook-shaped green tucked behind the rock-lined "Devil's Bathtub," a pond that has rinsed the likes of Vijay Singh and others.
Who can forget Woods' rousing birdie putt, and subsequent fist-pump, on the green to capture the 2008 tournament? Not to be outdone, Robert Gamez holed a 7-iron from 176 yards for an eagle to beat Greg Norman by one in 1990. A plaque in the fairway still marks the accomplishment.
It's a fitting finish to a course fit for a King - Arnold Palmer himself.
Bay Hill Club & Lodge: The verdict
Easler considers Bay Hill a classic golf course that the pros love to play before The Masters.
"It really hasn't changed an enormous amount the last 40 years," he said. "A lot of the newer courses are designed for longer hitters. Bay Hill is suited to shotmakers. That is Mr. Palmer's style. Also, the way we set it up is along the lines of Augusta. We are the tuneup for Augusta. We have long rough and fast greens."
Playing where the pros play is no marketing sham. It's a thrill to tee it up at PGA Tour stops, especially dynamic layouts like Bay Hill. The course features arguably the second-best three-hole finish in Florida (behind the TPC of Sawgrass Stadium course). The chance to run into "Mr. Palmer" and shake his hand just adds to the allure.
Posted by scurry at 04:53 PM
PALMER DESIGNED COURSES DOT GOLF DIGEST'S TOP 75 GOLF RESORTS 2009
September 22, 2009
Golf Digest magazine's biannual feature, "The 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America," published in the October 2009 issue, cites eight Arnold Palmer designed resorts amongst the prestigious list.
In the number one spot sits Pebble Beach, which has been at the top of the last three of four rankings in what is considered by many as one of the most definitive rankings in golf. Ratings are based on Golf Digest's 900 plus course ranking panelists who score the resorts and courses.
Arnold Palmer and his design company recently gave Pebble Beach a small facelift, which lengthened the legendary course to 7,014 yds, for the upcoming fifth hosting of the U.S. Open Championship in June 2010. To read more about the changes visit the Kingdom Magazine Issue 14 article Pebble Beach.
Also making the list is Palmer's home course, the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, FL, home of PGA Tour event the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard. The recent renovations to Palmer's classic course were implemented with his expert vision throughout the entire process. For more information about the changes to Bay Hill please read Palmer and His Design Company Renovate Bay Hill Course.
Arnold Palmer Design Company golf resorts that made the list:
1. PEBBLE BEACH RESORT/INN AT SPANISH BAY (3)*
Score: 89.17 Contact & Directions: pebblebeach.com, 800-654-9300 Room Rate:** $595 New & Notable: Site of the 2010 U.S. Open, Pebble has been strengthened and lengthened to more than 7,000 yards. At $495, the green fee is stratospheric -- but check its website for money-saving packages.
18. THE RITZ-CARLTON, HALF MOON BAY (CALIF.) (28)
Score: 78.77 Contact & Directions: ritzcarlton.com, 650-712-7000 Room Rate: $419 New & Notable: Arthur Hills' super-scenic Ocean Course is being groomed to accept links-style run-up shots. This project concludes before the end of the year. The second course is an Arnold Palmer design.
- T-38. FOUR SEASONS RESORT AVIARA (44)
Carlsbad, Calif. Score: 72.67 Contact & Directions: fourseasons.com, 760-603-6800 Room Rate: $395 New & Notable: Greenside bunkers are filled with high-quality silica sand, and the redesigned Aviara clubhouse opened in December, completing the resort's modernization project.
49. BARTON CREEK (47)
Austin Score: 70.91 Contact & Directions: bartoncreek.com, 800-336-6158 Room Rate: $210 New & Notable: Fazio Canyons, one of two Tom Fazio courses at the resort, was the site of U.S. Open local qualifying. Arnold Palmer and Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore designed the other two courses.
55. RESORT SEMIAHMOO (NR)
Blaine, Wash. Score: 69.71 Contact & Directions: semiahmoo.com, 800-770-7992 Room Rate: $149 New & Notable: Loomis Trail was the site of the NCAA Division II Men's Golf Championship in May, and tee boxes on Arnold Palmer's Semiahmoo course have been reconstructed and enlarged.
- 56. LA QUINTA (CALIF.) RESORT& CLUB/PGA WEST (42)
Score: 69.69 Contact & Directions:laquintaresort.com, 760-564-4111 Room Rate: $199 New & Notable: Three courses (out of five) have been updated: new GPS systems, bunkers and tee boxes at the Stadium and Nicklaus courses and a few new greens on the Mountain.
58. TURTLE BAY RESORT (64) Oahu, Hawaii Score: 69.29 Contact & Directions: turtlebayresort.com, 808-293-6000 Room Rate: $371 New & Notable: The practice area at the George Fazio Course has more than doubled to 16,000 square feet to accommodate more golfers. The Palmer Course's range is even bigger.
69. BAY HILL CLUB & LODGE (74)
Orlando Score: 67.74 Contact & Directions: bayhill.com, 888-422-9445 Room Rate: $225 New & Notable: Home to Arnold Palmer and his popular PGA Tour stop, the course is getting a $2 million upgrade (tees, greens and bunkers) to be completed Oct. 1.
Posted by scurry at 05:16 PM
USA TODAY: Palmer's grandson set to tee it up, begin quest
September 17, 2009
By Jerry Potter, USA TODAY
When Sam Saunders realized in middle school that he was going to be too short and too slow for basketball, he turned to golf.
Lots of youngsters do that, but Saunders has a unique connection to the game: He's Arnold Palmer's grandson.
READ THE FULL STORY
Posted by scurry at 12:59 PM
PALMER THROWS OUT PIRATES PITCH
September 09, 2009
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article "Love of Palmer par for the course" - 'A treasure to the game of golf and a gift to mankind' on Wednesday, September 09, 2009 by Chuck Finder covers the 80th birthday celebration event at PNC Park in splendid fashion with photos and video.
Read the full article. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09252/996582-136.stm
Posted by scurry at 09:53 AM
WSJ Feature: Palmer's Go-for-It Greatness
September 05, 2009
The Wall Street Journal featured an article on September 5, 2009 entitled "Palmer's Go-for-It Greatness: The Legend Looks Back on a Daring, Uncompromising Style Few Attempt Anymore" by John Paul Newport.
Read the full story
Posted by scurry at 04:51 PM
USA TODAY FEATURES ARNOLD PALMER AT 80
September 02, 2009
USA Today has featured Arnold Palmer in a few articles to highlight his upcoming 80th birthday.
Click the links below to read more.
Posted by scurry at 03:49 PM
PALMER IN LIFE MAGAZINE'S TOP 10 GOLFERS OF ALL TIME
August 18, 2009
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
Birthday Greetings For Arnie
August 12, 2009
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
Biggest shrine to golfing heritage drives Scotsman across the pond
July 20, 2009
From SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY - By Paul Forsyth - July 19, 2009 - Link to Full Story
ALASTAIR Johnston would be lost without his library. When he is not traipsing about the planet on business, he is in the purpose-built extension to his American home, flicking through the pages of his latest acquisition.
The 61-year-old Scot, a director of Rangers and vice-chairman of IMG, the multi-national sports management company, has in the course of his globe-trotting career put together the biggest and best collection of golf books in the world, with more than 19,000 of them now under his roof. It is a priceless asset, an unparalleled historical document, not only of the ancient game, but of the country that produced it.
He and his books are firmly established in Pepper Pike, an affluent suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, but his fervent wish is to find a home for them in Scotland. "That's the plan," he says. "It's about the heritage of our country after all. As long as I am relatively active, I will continue to build it here, but I would like to make arrangements before I have gone. I want it to be in Scotland, and I want to provide for it financially. The people should be able to enjoy it, have access to it, look after and add to it."
Johnston returns to the country of his birth at least 10 times a year, as he has done for this week's Open Championship at Turnberry. He could have made a fortune already from the sale of his collection, but the hobby that started by accident, quickly became a passion and now consumes his leisure time still gives him enough enjoyment to make its value an irrelevance.
He is not prepared to put a price on it. "Across here, developers are building unique golf resorts all over the place, and I get some of them asking how much I want for the library. They would like to relocate it in their clubhouse, but in all honesty, I'm not interested. As long as I can enjoy shuffling around in there, it will be staying where it is. It's my way of relaxing. Arnold Palmer regrips his clubs; I potter around in my library."
Palmer is one of the reasons Johnston has been able to pursue his passion. The two have been close since 1977, when IMG founder Mark McCormack made him the player's business manager.
The Scottish lawyer who grew up on Glasgow's south side had famously asked McCormack for a job while stewarding in the 1968 Open at Carnoustie. After a brief internship in America, he returned with an armful of books on the world's greatest golfers.
Johnston was hooked. Within a few years, the interest had become a fascination, and later still an obsession, which he fed on business trips with IMG. "When I first took it really seriously, over 25 years ago, it was a case of going into a town, looking up the yellow pages and hunting down the antiquarian bookshops. I would go out for a jog, arrive all sweaty and disgusting with a satchel on my back, and return to my hotel with it full of books."
Johnston also has a home in Isleworth, Florida, where he is a neighbour, and business associate, of Tiger Woods. Once described as among the most powerful men in sport, the Scot knows plenty who dismiss his library as a trivial pursuit. "I have created something that is the best in the world, and I have friends who come from all over to see it, but there are others who couldn't give a damn. When they come to my house, they go straight to the bar."
Johnston acquires between 500 and 800 books every year. He claims to have more of them than the United States Golf Association, whose library in New Jersey uses his as "a marker". As well as books, he has everything from tournament programmes to instructional pamphlets and club histories. The extension, which he describes as consistent with the architecture of his contemporary home, has been designed in such a way as to maximise security. Given that natural light does the most damage, windows have been positioned accordingly, while glass cases protect the most valuable pieces from dust.
Rare artefacts include a letter written in 1680 by King James VI in which he extols the pleasures of golf to his niece, the Countess of Lichfield. He also has a copy of the 1457 Scottish Acts of Parliament, which provided the first mention of golf in print. One of his greatest finds is an original copy of The Goff, the first book devoted to golf, written by Thomas Mathison in 1743. "And it is an excellent copy," says Johnston. "A first edition. I only know of five or six first editions in the world, and mine is a very good copy, better than the British Museum's by the way."
He doesn't say what he paid for The Goff, but someone is reputed to have offered $100,000 for it in 2003. With even his bibliographies fetching four-figure sums at auction, Johnston could make a fortune from one-off sales, but he has no intention of doing so.
"I am in the fortunate position of having no reason to sell. I don't accumulate for the purpose of resale. It would be impossible for anyone to build this collection again, and my friends have prevailed on me not to break it up. It is the magnitude of it when congregated that makes it unique."
The book that means more to Johnston than any other is The Chronicles Of Golf, not because it covers every mention of the sport between 1457 and the mid-19th century, or because it amounts to an exhaustive social history, but because he wrote it himself, with the help of his late father, James. Together, they spent eight years writing and researching, without pay, a document that effectively cost Johnston junior his marriage.
His father, who had just retired, did most of the "donkey work", travelling back and forth from Glasgow to Edinburgh, where archivists helped him to trawl the vaults. His son had briefed him to follow the recommendation written by Scots poet Andrew Lang in 1890. It read: "A young man must do (the study] and he will be so ancient before he finishes the toil that he will scarce see the flag on the short hole at St Andrews from the tee."
Well, the Johnstons did all that and more, even if they weren't sure why. "I wondered that 1,000 times, but once I had decided to do it, I had to do it all. It has become a cult item for the people who care. I did several hundred in a limited edition, and they are still selling for $2,000-3.000 a time. I am immensely proud of it."
Posted by scurry at 03:50 PM
CNN Exclusive - Arnold Palmer: Olympics can revive golf
July 07, 2009
Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest players in the history of golf, has exclusively told CNN that the Olympic Games could help to revive the recession-hit sport.
With golf being hit hard by the recent downturn in the global economy, Palmer believes the sport needs all the help it can get if it is to come out the other side of the recession.
Palmer said: "The downturn in the economy has affected many golf clubs and I hope we've reached the bottom on that.
"It is probably being felt most severely in America. I'd like to see that stop and for players to return to the golf course. It's tough right now but I'm sure things will improve.
"Golf has changed so much from when I turned professional. My main goal was always to increase the awareness of golf and that has happened.
"In places like India, China, Japan and South and Central America, people are becoming avid golf fans because the climate is perfect for the game."
"Golf is now an international competition and it is bringing people in from all around the world."
"But if golf gets accepted by the Olympic Committee it would be a wonderful thing for the continuing growth of the game. Bringing people together on the course is one of the most important things we can do."
It has been over a century since golf was an official Olympic sport, with George Lyon of Canada claiming the last gold medal in 1904.
Read the full story at CNN
Posted by scurry at 11:30 AM
Palmer, Grandson Sam Saunders Impress in Father/Son Event
December 10, 2008
Arnold Palmer and his grandson, Sam Saunders, teamed up again in the Del Webb Father/Son Challenge tournament and for the second year in a row put on an impressive performance.
Palmer and Saunders, a junior on Clemson University golf team, followed up a tie-for-sixth finish in 2007 with a tie-for-seventh this December at ChampionsGate Golf Resort near Orlando, Florida. They posted two rounds of 64 in the 36-hole scramble event won by Larry Nelson and his son, Drew, with a score of 123.
Eighteen fathers who have won major championships on the PGA Tour team up with sons or daughters in the unique tournament televised by NBC that showcases the greatest players in the modern era of the game. Palmer was extended a special invitation several years ago to play with his oldest grandson in the event.
The Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation in Orlando is among the beneficiaries of the tournament proceeds.
Posted by scurry at 04:39 PM
PALMER COURSE SELECTED BEST IN CHINA
October 31, 2008
A golf course designed by Arnold Palmer Design Company – Beijing Cascades – has been selected as the "Best New Course in China 2007-2008" by Golf Magazine China.
"It’s very nice to be recognized as doing the best work in China right now. We intend to maintain that reputation with our work there in the future," said Arnold Palmer about the No. 1 designation.
The design of the 18 holes at Beijing Cascades Country Golf Club began in May 2005 and the 7,272-yard, par-72 golf course opened in 2007. The location is in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, on Dongwei Road.
Arnold Palmer Design reached the Chinese capital three decades after Palmer reintroduced golf to that country. Palmer's Chung Shan Hot Spring design in southern China in the 1980s was the first new golf course in the country in more than half a century and touched off China’s still-on-going golf boom.
A private golf club for members only, Beijing Cascades features deluxe villas designed by DFS Architects of Canada and a top-notch clubhouse which includes a swimming pool, restaurant, cafeteria, pro shop, business center, meeting rooms and guest rooms.
Beijing Cascades takes its name from the breathtaking scenes of cascading water to be found on the property. Clear lakes, winding bridges and manicured gardens may also be seen.
An additional nine holes at Beijing Cascades have been designed and are currently under construction. The new holes should be open next year, and Palmer promises they will be "just as stunning as the first 18."
Work is also underway on a new Arnold Palmer Design course in Kunming, China, and should be completed next year.
Posted by scurry at 05:45 PM
Arnold Palmer's Guide to the Ryder Cup 2008
September 19, 2008
Rarely has a Ryder Cup been more eagerly awaited than the 37th version of this 81-year-old series which tees off in earnest on the morning of Friday 19 September.
Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky, where two PGA Championships have been staged over the past dozen years, is the venue for this imminent biennial contest between the best male professional golfers from the United States and Europe.
Enjoy the Arnold Palmer foreward and interview from this years guide or visit the official Ryder Cup website.
Posted by scurry at 12:42 PM
THE KING ON THE CUP
Fresh off a design visit to White Oak Plantation in Tryon, North Carolina, where he relaxed with back-to-back major winner Padraig Harrington, Arnold Palmer was feeling expansive. With his dog Mulligan, as always, by his side, Palmer talked at length about the impending 2008 Ryder Cup with correspondent Chris Rodell. Palmer's Ryder Cup record of 22-8-2 in Ryder Cup play remains one of the top records ever in the vaunted competition.
Q: Tell us about the 1967 Ryder Cup at Houston's Champion's Club - you did a little low altitude reconnaissance over the Champion's Club?
Arnold Palmer: It was in my Jet Commander. I got a call and had to explain to the FAA what I did. I didn't really violate any aviation rules, but I was low enough that I scared some cattle. I had the whole British team on board with me at the time. They all threw up.
Q: The Euros have so much exuberant camaraderie and when the Americans try to duplicate it they come off looking stiff. What would you advise to get them to loosen up?
AP: The European team spends a lot of time traveling together on the European tour. They stay at the same hotels and they have a camaraderie that comes from the nature of the travel. It puts them together and consequently they all become buddies and friends. They know each other. The American guys are less inclined to travel together. They usually fly airplanes to the tournaments. They're not put in any atmosphere where they are together constantly, as the European team is. It keeps the Americans from ever getting really close. It's not something that's planned. It's just the nature of the beast.
It's tough. They can make an effort to get together and play together, and that would help their attitude as far as competitiveness is concerned.
Q: What is it about the Ryder Cup that causes some players like Colin Montgomerie to become so surprisingly dominant when they can't seem to close in the big ones during medal play? Would you pick him for your team?
AP: I know Colin, but I don't know him well enough to forecast his nature. He's certainly played will in the Ryder Cup and has played well in general for a lot of years. I'd sure pick him for the team. He's a player of great renown and has proven he has the ability to compete at the top level at the Ryder Cup.
Q: There has been some talk that the Ryder Cup might stretch to four days of competition and adopt the Presidents Cup format. Would you agree with this?
AP: If four days would be better, then that's fine. I suppose that would have to be determined by the officials and the networks. I think the galleries would support it.
Q: Paul Azinger was expected to set up Valhalla to suit a long-hitting American team. But with the likes of Justin Leonard and Ben Curtis among the eight automatic qualifiers, should he re-think that strategy?
AP: I think Justin and Ben are good enough players that they can handle any situation on any length golf course.
Q: What effect will the absence of Tiger Woods have on the Ryder Cup?
AP: It certainly is a downer, but on the other hand I could take a positive attitude and say the other players will spine up and show they have the ability to carry the flag without him.
Q: Do you believe Padraig Harrington's back-to-back majors will give the European team any significant boost?
AP: I don't think it's going to make a great deal of difference. Having won three majors in the last year is certainly a positive. I talked to him the other day and he's certainly a very nice young man. I give him all the due I can, but I don't think winning any major will have any influence at the Ryder Cup. I'd met him before, but didn't get to spend as much time with him as I did the past days. I got him to commit to playing Bay Hill and I'm very pleased about that. And it didn't take a bit of arm twisting. He was very, very willing to tell me he'd be at Bay Hill, and we'll be glad to have him.
Q: Padraig's an investor at White Oak. How's that course coming along?
AP: He's going to have a house there. It's an Irish property owned by the famous Irish rally car racer Austin McHale. It's in the North Carolina foothills with a lot of stones and streams. It's very attractive. They've done a very fine job. We're all very enthused with how White Oak's going to turn out.
Q: When he lost to Harrington at last year's Open, it took Sergio Garcia the best part of nine months to rediscover his form and confidence. How long will it take him to recover from this latest disappointment and will the Ryder Cup help in that respect?
AP: I think he'll do very well. I think Sergio's a great player. Some guys, it just takes a little longer. I was one of them. I was older when I started winning. I think Sergio has a great chance to be an outstanding player as time goes on. I think he needs to just slow down and really get to it, and I think that's going to happen.
Q: How big an advantage is it to have the Ryder played in your home country?
AP: Not much. I think most of the guys who play on either side have enough experience to understand the circumstances. They're veterans or they wouldn't be on the team. The crowds won't affect them.
Q: What will you be doing during the week of the Ryder Cup?
AP: I'll certainly watch it and I'll certainly be very interested in it. I've toned down my travel and am going to fewer events unless I've been asked participate in a charity event. I'm really becoming more of a homebody and not traveling so much. I've been enjoying watching the Olympics, too. I think those two American gals that won the gymnastics gold and silver are really attractive and are wonderful athletes. It's been fun to watch.
Q: What ingredients does a course need to be a Ryder course?
AP: Heritage and tradition are certainly important, but I don't think things like that matter much to the audiences. I don't think an older golf course with lots of heritage and tradition is going to make a difference when it comes to playing the matches.
Q: Are there any courses you are currently constructing that could be future Ryder Cup venues?
AP: I think all of them would be outstanding venues. Some would be less likely to host because of the venue or the surroundings wouldn't be appropriate, but we've built some great quality courses that would be outstanding for Ryder Cup purposes.
Q: Which was harder to arrange, persuading the PGA of America to stage the 1975 event at Laurel Valley, or helping your course at The K Club become the host venue in 2006?
AP: In each case, it required an effort that I was more than happy to make. I was very pleased to have the world see the Ryder Cup at the K Club and participate in it. And even though I wanted the Americans to win and they didn't, I think it was extremely successful. Same with Laurel Valley with the opposite outcome where I was pleased to be the captain and have it at my club, which is something that doesn't happen very often.
Q: Golf is, for the most part, an individual's sport. How does a Ryder captain build a team dynamic?
AP: Sometimes I think we talk too much publicly. I think we need to deal with the individuals on a more private basis. The hype for the Ryder Cup is very important and it's important for the press to get enough to do their big stories. But I also think it's important for the players to have a confidence among themselves. And, more importantly, they have to have the confidence, the knowledge and the feeling that they can win. If they go with the attitude that they're the underdogs and are not as good as the opposing team then they're in trouble and I think that's been the case as of late.
Q: You were the last playing captain of the U.S. team, are there any current players that you think could fulfill that dual duty, or is the modern captain's role just too large a job?
AP: I'd like to think there's still room for a playing captain. I think it adds a little intrigue to the matches. I'd like to see Paul Azinger play his way onto the team. I think that would be wonderful. And I think that would certainly be possible. Most of the recent captains have been in the twilight years of their PGA Tour careers, but I'd like to see it happen again someday with a younger captain.
Q: This year Azinger has four picks. Do you think that makes his job easier or more difficult?
AP: I think it gives him more of an opportunity to select guys that he knows are hot and are playing very well. I suppose I would consider that a plus.
Q: What's the off-course Ryder Cup experience like for the teams? Do you think it's changed from when you were playing, and if it has, then how?
AP: I enjoyed watching the guys and encouraging them. I wanted to be there to add some confidence to their mind set to help pull them together. That was important to me, to get all the guys in a frame of mind where they were really starting good and could keep that momentum going. I'm sure that still goes on.
Q: How was it possible that you won The Masters in 1958 (and several other tournaments) but weren't selected for the 1959 Ryder Cup team?
AP: I wasn't earning points because I wasn't a PGA member. I was still in my apprentice period and back then that lasted for five years. They changed all the rules right away after that, but it was too late for '59. Had that same system been in place in 1997, neither Tiger Woods nor Justin Leonard would have qualified to play at Valderama.
Q: What was you worst Ryder Cup moment?
AP: (ponders) I don't know that I'd ever had a worst moment at the Ryder Cup. Every team I played on won. I didn't like losing, but when I did lose matches to Peter Oosterhuis or Peter Allis, with whom I had some great matches, it was after I'd done my best. And sometimes that's going to happen.
Q: What was your greatest Ryder Cup moment?
AP: The first Ryder Cup I played on when they played 'God Save the Queen' and 'The Star-Spangled Banner' were certainly touching moments. I was very proud. Then there was the time in '67 on Hogan's team where Julius Boros and I were getting trounced in a four-ball against Hugh Boyle and George Will. I looked up and saw Jackie Burke. He said, 'Well, Palmer. Let me see you get out of this one.' I said, 'C'mon, Jackie, give me a break.' He says, 'I'll give you a break. I've heard about all your charges. If you win this match I'll hand make you a beautiful clock.' Well, that clock's sitting on the shelf in my workshop over there. That was special.
Q: Who was your toughest ever opponent in all the Ryder Cups in which you played, and why?
AP: I think they're all tough. Anyone who earns his way onto the Ryder Cup is good and capable of kicking anybody's rear at some point or another.
Q: If you could re-play one shot from your prestigious Ryder Cup history, which one would it be and why?
AP: No, I can't think of a single shot that had me saying, 'Gee, I'd love to have that one back.' That would really take some very deep thought and that kind of deep thought isn't there anymore (laughs).
Q: Who do you think will win at Valhalla, and why?
AP: I think it's a toss-up. It's going to be tough. I suppose if I had to give one team an edge, I'd give it to the European team. Both teams have some very fine players, but the Europeans have some players with the real hot hand and will be difficult to beat.
Posted by scurry at 07:37 AM
Arnold Palmer Forward to the 2008 Ryder Cup
September 18, 2008
Courtesy of Victory at Valhalla Arnold Palmer's Guide to the Ryder Cup 2008
THE RYDER CUP has been a marvelous event over more than eight decades, and it particularly pleases me that its prestige on both sides of the Atlantic continues to grow. It is now without question one of the most important occasions, not just in golf but the whole of sport.
Unfortunately, the U.S. team has been on the receiving end of some sound beatings during our past three encounters with Europe and all patriotic American golf fans, including myself, are keeping fingers crossed that fortunes will be reversed at Valhalla.
The absence of Tiger Woods, will be a blow to captain Paul Azinger––but the Ryder Cup is a team event and if his team-mates rally round, pull together and play the course they can emerge victorious. Each one of them is going to have to stand up and be counted.
Quite a few rookies will be turning out for the U.S. this time and I think that can only be a good thing. Some of them may be inexperienced, but playing without fear will be the key in the pressure-cooker arena of Valhalla.
It is quite clear we can expect another strong display from the Europeans. I have been particularly impressed by Padraig Harrington, but there have been some other standout performances this season from the likes of Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter. It's going to take quite and effort from our Americans if they are to regain Sam Ryder's iconic trophy.
Some of my fondest golfing memories are from the Ryder Cup, both as a player and as a captain, and it was therefore a matter of considerable pride that the 2006 matches were staged over the Palmer Course at The K Club near Dublin. Despite the weather––and they had plenty of it that week––the course held up well and delivered a memorable, if ultimately one-sided spectacle.
Enjoy this magazine. I hope it provides you with an insight into the event, its history and the players, and prove to be a useful companion to the three days of the Ryder Cup.
I hope that in terms of the quality of golf and the ethics of fair play that the 37th installment in this historic series lives up to the standards set by so many of its predecessors.
Whatever the result, my fervent wish is for the game of golf to be deemed the winner.
~ Arnold Palmer
Posted by scurry at 09:30 AM
Five guys, one question: What's your favorite Palmer story?
May 26, 2008
Frank Nobilo, Robert Trent Jones II, Chi Chi Rodriguez and others tell their favorite Palmer stories.
Five guys, one question: What’s your favorite Arnold Palmer story?
A U.S. Open always draws experts from diverse fields to what for one week is the absolute center of the golf universe.
That makes it a good time to ask a variety of golf industry people -- players, architects, golf journalists -- about the one story they like to tell about golfing icon Arnold Palmer above all others. Here are some of their answers:
• Frank Nobilo, former PGA player & current commentator The Golf Channel: “You could say that Arnold Palmer kept me from quitting golf. It was back in 1995 at the Masters and I was playing dreadfully. I’d shot an 81 the day before and had thought about withdrawing. I was really about my game. I told my coach I was planning on quitting and he said, ‘Man, you couldn’t if you wanted to. You’re scheduled to golf tomorrow with Arnold Palmer.’ What was I going to do? Let Arnold Palmer play Augusta as a one-ball? So I showed up the next day determined to do my best. He didn’t know me from Adam, but Arnold greeted me on the first tee with the warmest handshake and twinkle in his eye. Just that look let me knew he was out there to have fun and I was invited to be a part of it. And what a time it was. Neither one of us was going to nudge our way onto the leader board, but it was a lively round and I got to have my own mini-Masters with Arnold Palmer.”
• Bubba Watson, professional golfer: “My favorite Arnold Palmer story? That was the day I got to meet him and shake his hand. Yeah, he probably shook a couple hundred other hands that day, but I spent the next week showing people that hand that shook the hand of Arnold Palmer.”
• Chi Chi Rodriguez, World Golf Hall of Famer: “People on tour used to complain that Arnold Palmer got preferential treatment. I’d ask them, ‘Do you want preferential treatment, too? Then start treating everyone the way Arnold Palmer does.’ When I came on tour in 1960, he was the man who came up and offered his friendship. He treated me with great respect. He’s old school like that. He treats everyone with respect. And, man, I loved the way he played the game. Some guys went for the pin some of the time, but Arnold always went for the pin. Still does. Man, you could put the pin thousands of feet below sea level on the deck of the Titanic and Arnold would scramble to find a scuba suit and get diving. He’ll always go for it. That’s why I like Sean O’Hair this week. He plays like Palmer. Had O’Hair hit a 9 iron instead of a wedge into the 17th at TPC everybody would be talking about him as a favorite here at Oakmont. Keep your eye on him.”
• Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: “My favorite Palmer moment may have came during the end of an interview I did with him a few years ago. He’d just gotten married and was a happy newlywed. I figured I’d ask him about if he used Viagra or not. I was a little reluctant to ask because I knew we’d get a lot of letters from people saying I was an impudent young jerk with no manners -- and I was afraid he might react that way, too! But I asked him and he came to life. He got a big smile on his face and said he didn’t need it. That he was still charging. I think the interview would have gone much better if I’d have asked him that first. He welcomed the question and was happy to talk about his virility. We got some letters complaining about the question, but Mr. Palmer didn't mind one bit.”
• Robert Trent Jones Jr., architect of more than 240 courses in 40 countries: “I could tell you tons of stories, but it would always come back to his warmth and generosity. The think I like about him, too, and this may surprise some people, are the courses he designs. I’m a big fan. Some marquee players design courses for their own ego, They never can get it through their heads that the key to designing courses is drainage, drainage, drainage. You need to spend 10 years working on bulldozers or hire people who have done the nitty-gritty. Arnold’s been smart enough to surround himself with the best people in golf, starting with Ed Seay and Erik Larsen. They're wonderful course designers and great people, too. Really, Arnold's building himself a nice legacy apart from his competitive career with the great courses he and his team have put together. My favorite Palmer designs? I like Orchid Island Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida. I think they did a tremendous job at PGA West in La Quinta and Tralee Golf Club in Ireland has some brilliant holes out on the dunes.”
Posted by crodell at 06:23 PM
Miller says beating Palmer tougher than Tiger
June 13, 2007
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
Arnie & Oakmont
May 14, 2007
A Beaut of a Brute
By Chris Rodell
as originally seen in KINGDOM MAGAZINE, issue 7
A look of grave concern creases Arnold Palmer’s face when asked his advice on how an average golfer can achieve a good score the day he’s scheduled to play Oakmont Country Club. “Well, I suggest you start by playing someplace else,” he says.
In fact, telling golfers who’ve been scarred by the brute that you’re scheduled to play golf at Oakmont is like telling a priest you’ve been dispatched to retrieve Satan’s pitchfork. They call you crazy. Try to talk you out of it. Say small prayers on your behalf.
As well they should. For all its stark beauty, Oakmont is one hell of a golf course: 7,255 yards, nearly 200 penal bunkers and greens so lightning fast the busybody U.S.G.A. crews preparing the course for the 2007 U.S. Open will be tasked to slow . . . them . . . down.
The rich Palmer legacy resonates at Augusta where he won four times, at Cherry Hills where the charge was born, and at St. Andrews, Royal Birkdale and Troon where Palmer is credited with inventing the fabled British Open as we know it.
But no major tournament venue is more closely associated with Palmer than Oakmont, and no course dished out more pain and poignancy than the course he grew up dreaming of conquering. When towheaded boys fantasize about winning the World Series with a final swing of the bat, it’s always Yankee Stadium. When those boys are western Pennsylvania golfers, the dreams are of snaking in the winning putt on the 18th green in the shadows of Oakmont’s gabled clubhouse.
For Palmer, the dream came true at a very young age.
“I was just a kid when I beat Jack Benson there to win the 1949 Western Pennsylvania Amateur,” he recalls. “Oakmont is so full of tradition from the locker room to men standing and laughing in the wooden floored barroom. The course is always in excellent condition. It just really resonates with all that’s great about golf. At 18, it was such an unbelievable thrill to win there.”
That win, however, is an asterisk in Palmer’s career at the course that is just one hour on the Pennsylvania Turnpike west of his Latrobe home. It was at Oakmont where the symbolic changing of the guard took place in 1962 when Jack Nicklaus beat Palmer and an often belligerent crowd of Palmer stalwarts to win the U.S. Open. And in 1973, Palmer stood on the 12th green as the final leader of that year’s U.S. Open when he was stunned to see Johnny Miller had posted a record-setting 63 to vault to victory. And it was at Oakmont in 1994 that Palmer closed the door on his U.S. Open career before a crowd so adoring that tears spilled down the old golfer’s face as their 18th green ovation washed over him.
In fact, tears are Oakmont’s only water hazard. It is a heartbreaker. Forty-four years after the watershed tournament, Palmer still sounds mournful when talking about the ‘62 Open and how he let it get away.
“I used to putt those greens pretty well when I was younger, but in ‘62 Nicklaus beat me on the greens by 17 shots . . . 17!” he says, sounding as if he could snap a stout-shafted putter in half at the mere recollection. “I’ve never played the greens when they weren’t like lightning. Never played it once in my life when the stimpmeter reading was under 11.”
Had it not been for Oakmont, the word “stimpmeter” might never have even been introduced into golf’s vernacular. It was here at the 1935 U.S. Open, that renowned amateur Edward Stimpson noted the diabolical greens were so fast that only one man, eventual winner and western Pennsylvania resident Sam Parks Jr., was having success putting. Stimpson left determined to create a device that would measure the consistency of green speed so golfers everywhere could prepare. Thus, the birth of the stimpmeter.
Golfers at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot skated across greens that stimped at 12.5. Oakmont members breathe sighs of relief when they stimp in the neighborhood of 13. The course will be unrecognizable to golfers who last played it in 1994. A massive tree removal program uprooted more than 3,000 magnificent hardwoods to restore the once leafy landmark to its barren, foreboding look of its 1903 introduction.
Bob Ford is Oakmont’s head professional and has golfed there with Palmer many times. Not once, he says, has Palmer stepped out of character and looked backward. Not once did he stop to dwell on the past.
Until last summer. Ford says Palmer had stopped by on July 11, 2006, to play a round prior to the Major League Baseball All-Star festivities occuring that day at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.
“That’s the only time I’ve ever played with him that he even got the slightest bit reflective,” Ford says. “Never once did he look back or mention past tournaments until that recent summer day.”
Ford says Palmer stood at the side of the par 5 ninth green and recalled how he’d been at that spot in 1962 in two. He told Ford how he’d been just off the green, right next to the flag with idealistic thoughts of birdie, maybe -- cross your fingers -- a pivotal eagle. But Palmer, chagrined, recalled how the greens took a bite out of his ambitions and he stalked off with a discouraging bogie.
“Then on 12th green, he said how he stood there in 1973 and had been head-to-head in the lead with Julius Boros when both looked up at the leader board and saw Johnny Miller had posted his record-setting 63 on the rain-damped greens,” Ford says. “He couldn’t believe it.”
As the round continued, Ford says he was struck by how nostalgic Palmer was going through the years and rounds that are indelibly etched into the history of one of America’s most legendary courses.
“I got the feeling that maybe he thought it was one of the last times he’d ever play there, and it saddened me to think Arnold Palmer was having those thoughts,” Ford says.
But in the end, it won’t be those wistful moments Ford says he’ll recall from an otherwise ordinary round with an extraordinary gentleman. It won’t be Palmer talking about tournaments and titles that got away four decades ago. It won’t be the echoes of the cheers and the reciprocal love between a hometown boy who’d gone global and the fans who loved him so fiercely for both his successes and failures.
No, Ford says the recollection he’ll most cherish happened before the round even started. And the unlikely instigators were some scrawny youths clinging to a fence separating the Oakmont pool from the nearby first tee.
“We were getting ready to tee off and we heard these kids applauding,” Ford says. “We turned around and a bunch of the boys had climbed out of the water and were hanging on the fence to watch Arnold Palmer tee off,” he says. “They hadn’t even been born when he won his last tournament, but they were cheering him like he was Tiger Woods.
“He smiled, waved, turned to me and said, ‘Bob, that’s what keeps bringing me out after all these years.’ It made me tingle all over. That’s what I’ll always remember most about that day. That’s the memory I’ll cherish forever.”
Posted by crodell at 03:32 PM
Palmer dines with Queen, gives putting pointers to the Supremes
May 08, 2007
Arnold and Kit Palmer made one of the most demanding cuts of the 21st century on a sun-kissed Washinton evening. They were among the 130 A-list guests invited to fete Queen Elizabeth II at the White House on May 7.
The truly regal affair was widely considered to be the most spectacular dinner in official Washington in the past 10 years. Palmer’s name on the guest list added a dash of grit and grace to a roll that included Vice President Dick Cheney, Nancy Reagan, Peyton Manning and violinist Itzhak Perlman.
The Palmers received elegant gold-rimmed invitations (hand-penned by a calligrapher and then engraved) in April. The gala dinner May 7 is the highlight of a two-day extravaganza in which Palmer dined at the head table with President George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth, gave putting lessons to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at the highest court in the land, and was feted as one of just six life-time Tour Achievement winners at the new clubhouse at the TPC at Sawgrass.
“Even for Arnold Palmer, the last two days have been remarkable,” says Palmer spokesman Doc Giffin. “Both Arnold and Kit had a splendid time at the White House dinner honoring Queen Elizabeth. It was a very special evening and they were thrilled to be invited.”
If it was a national A-list that scored one of just 130 invitations to the dinner, then Palmer has vaulted to the A-list of the A-list. He was chosen to sit at the main table with both President Bush and Queen Elizabeth and guests Nancy Reagan, Alma Powell (wife of Colin Powell), Tricia Lott (wife of U.S. Sen. Trent Lott), Ashley Manning (wife of Indianapolis Colt quarterback Peyton Manning), CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz, and Chief Justice Roberts.
The five-course dinner included “spring pea soup with fern leaf lavender,” “saddle of spring lamb” and three different wines. The dinner was the first, and probably will be the only, white-tie event of the Bush presidency.
The Palmers were up early to enjoy another memorable meeting the day after the dinner. Kit Palmer, who is a personal friend with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, accepted her friend’s invitation to see the Supreme Court. While there, Palmer gave putting lessons to a trio of renown rules sticklers who might be hiding snazzy golf shirts beneath their black robes.
“He was putting on the carpet in Chief Justice Roberts’s office and giving some pointers to Roberts, Kennedy and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who, incidentally, is the only Supreme Court Justice to ever score a hole-in-one,” Giffin says.
From there, the Palmers flew to Jacksonville, Florida, where Palmer was set to attend a black-tie dinner at grand opening of the new clubhouse at the TPC at Sawgrass, home of the Tournament Player’s Championship. Palmer, one of just three living recipients of the Tour’s Lifetime Achievement Award, will address the gathering.
Besides Palmer, only five other men have ever been deemed worthy of the award since it was first bestowed in 1995. The others are Pete Dye, Jackie Burke Jr., Byron Nelson, Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen.
Following the whirlwind two days, the Palmers flew to Bay Hill Club in Orlando to do one of the few things he enjoys more than dining with royalty.
Palmer golfed with friends.
Posted by crodell at 04:08 PM
Palmer Tee Shot Opens '07 Masters
April 05, 2007
Arnold Palmer returned to The Masters Thursday to hit the ceremonial first tee shot, an honor previously bestowed upon revered champions such as Sam Snead and Byron Nelson. Dave Anderson of The New York Times writes: “His ball won’t go as far and probably not as straight as it did when he was winning the Masters every other year from 1958 to 1964, but who cares? Arnold Palmer will be on the first tee at Augusta National again, and that’s enough for anyone who remembers seeing him here when real soldiers at nearby Fort Gordon were the original enlistees in Arnie’s Army.”
"I was very impressed with all the people who came rushing through that gate when it opened," Palmer said. "It seemed like 20,000 people out there."
Palmer told reporters the competitive fires still burn, 52-years after as a rookie he played his first Masters round with the great Gene Sarazen.
“You realize it’s over, and it’s been my life for over 50 years,” he said. “It’s a hard pill to swallow. I’ll sit at home and watch on television from time to time,” referring to even the best of today’s touring pros, “and think, ‘You know, I could have done that better.’ ”
To view a video clip of the '07 tee shot visit www.masters.org
Posted by crodell at 09:43 AM
From small town to big time for Palmer
March 15, 2007
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -Even now, Arnold Palmer has a hard time realizing how far his tournament has come.
Tanned and relaxed, he stared out at some four dozen people, most of them media, a bank of cameras at the back of the room. To his side was the new trophy with a statue of Palmer lashing away with his driver.
The winner also will get $990,000, about half as much as Palmer made in his 50 years on the PGA Tour.
The name of the tournament has a nice ring: The Arnold Palmer Invitational.
"My daughters are responsible for that,'' Palmer said Wednesday. "While I was playing, I would have never allowed it. That was first stipulation for not making any name change. I liked the Bay Hill Invitational logo. But when I stopped playing, that sort of opened the door for the possible name change.''
He remembers being asked to host the tournament at Bay Hill in 1979, and "it's worked out pretty well.''
"The first tournament was $100,000, and that was about the average on tour in those days,'' he said. Of course, this year we're $5.5 million. That's reasonable progress in 29 years.''
There has been progress all around him.
Palmer hails from Latrobe, Pa., and he used to travel to south Florida to practice in the winter when he first turned professional. But the Miami area was too crowded for his tastes, so he began scouting areas up and down the coasts of Florida.
It was by chance in 1965 that the Orlando Chamber of Commerce invited him to an exhibition at Bay Hill, along with Jack Nicklaus, Dave Regan and Don Cherry. He fell in love with the course, and asked about buying it from 10 partners, a process that took some time.
Still, it was just what the King wanted.
"The only thing out here was orange groves, snakes, a few birds, but a lot of wonderful freshwater,'' Palmer said. "It was quiet. It was about a 15- or 20-minute drive to downtown, which was great. It was a small town.
"Well,'' he paused to smile, "you know the story from there.''
A few years later, Disney scooped up some 27,000 acres and announced plans for a theme park. Palmer's friends figured he knew what he was doing, but even Palmer wasn't sure how much the town would grow, how it would become a tourist mecca.
"I was really looking for a quiet place to just do a nice golf course ... and here we are,'' he said.
He has a golf course that has hosted the PGA Tour for almost three decades.
And the name isn't the only change.
Wanting to make Bay Hill more of a challenge, Palmer has changed par 5s at Nos. 4 and 16 into par 4s, making the course play as a 70. The 16th used to be the last spot among the final five holes where players could think about making birdie.
"Now the party's over after the 13th,'' Joey Sindelar said. "That last hour will be torture.''
Still, the biggest difference will be the scores to par.
"I would probably predict that the scores will be much the same as they have been in past years,'' Palmer said. "I don't think we'll see a lot of major changes. The only thing that we'll see that might be a little different is that the players won't be as many under par as they have been in the past.''
One thing that has become difficult to predict is how Tiger Woods will fare at Bay Hill.
The tournament has attracted one of the strongest fields of the year, with Jim Furyk and Adam Scott the only players missing from the top 10 in the world. Masters champion Phil Mickelson is back for the first time since 2002, while Ernie Els is playing Bay Hill for the 15th consecutive year.
Woods once played so well at Bay Hill that some suggested calling it the Tiger Woods Invitational.
But that's misleading.
True, he captured Palmer's tournament four straight years through 2003, when he won by 11 shots. And when people were speculating over his seven-tournament winning streak on the PGA Tour, some tended to chalk up an automatic victory at Bay Hill simply because Woods has won so often.
But it has been a classic case of feast or famine.
Woods has finished 20th or higher four times at Bay Hill. Among regular PGA Tour events, The Players Championship is the only other event where he has finished so far behind so often. In the 14 tour events he played as an amateur, majors included, the only time he failed to break 80 was in 1994 at Bay Hill.
And when he teed off Thursday, he was trying to end a streak of 11 consecutive rounds at Bay Hill without breaking 70.
"This week, all I have to do is shoot under par and I do it,'' he said. "It's one of those weird things. As I said, I feel comfortable on this golf course, but for some reason I just haven't played well. I haven't put it together.''
Posted by scurry at 01:33 PM
The NEW ArnoldPalmer.com - Version 2.0
March 06, 2007
This is what happens when old school goes high tech. This is what happens when one of the most storied lives -- not just in golf, but in all America -- is given the most lavish and loving consideration that only a medium like the world wide web can bestow.
Because there have been many splendid biographies written about Palmer. They highlight the 92 tournaments, including six major championships, he’s won. They detail how the son of a Latrobe, Pennsylvania, greenskeeper became a confidant of presidents, kings and Hollywood royalty. But not until ArnoldPalmer.com 2.0 has the common fan of this uncommon man had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the daily doings of someone who’s stood arm and arm with history for the past 60 years.
ArnoldPalmer.com 2.0 breaks down the Palmer life into day-by-day increments. “On This Day . . .” in the Experience Timeline gives you a daily update on one significant headline-making event in world of Palmer. Pretty neat, eh? Sure, but we weren’t satisfied settling for one item per day. Thanks to the genius of Palmer assistant Doc Giffin, we had access to more than 50 years of newspaper and magazine clips that detail Palmer’s meetings with presidents, the time in 1970 when Johnny Carson tabbed the golfer to be his “Tonight Show” stand-in, to when the lives of at-risk infants were saved in Arnold Palmer hospitals.
Every day mingles insight, warmth and glory. Take June 23. That was when President George W. Bush presented Palmer with the Presidential Medal of Honor (2004), coincidentally, 11 years to the day after Palmer was still basking over being honored by President Bill Clinton with the first National Sports Award (1993) and the same June 23 day Palmer won the 1985 Senior T.P.C. Championship earning $36,554.
Or try July 29, a day when Palmer won three different tournaments in three different states over three decades for an escalating first place prize of $3,800 (1956), $11,000 (1963), and $20,050 (1971).
Or better still, just try your birthday. See if Palmer had one of his 19 aces on the day you were born. Hint: if you were born in September, your chances are really good. Tell your buddies. Make it a game you can play while you’re waiting to tee up: Who’s birthday is more meaningful in the life of Arnold Palmer? “On This Day . . .” is home to more than 1,200 fascinating options to consider.
And that’s not all. Every career stat, decades of candid photographs, Palmer quotes, quizzes and quips are all here. It’s maybe the only place on the web you can spend hours learning about a genuine hero who broke world records in aviation and at the same time help fight prostate cancer. Because as any student of Palmer knows, life isn’t just about being good. It’s just as much about doing good.
Because this is is the place where every future Palmer biographer will begin his or her detailed and illuminating work. In fact, spend any time here and you’ll be qualified to author a fine Palmer biography all of your own.
For those of you who aren't familiar, Arnold Palmer and his trademark 4-color umbrella, are also a major fashion brand overseas. In Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malasyia and Indonesia the Arnold Palmer name represents a posh and stylish fashion label centered around the american icon. By navigating to the brands section you're able to click a country and see their latest fashion look-books, store locations and licensees. Yes, there are Arnold Palmer stores in Japan!
But with all due respect to learned researchers, this site wasn’t constructed with work in mind. Like Palmer and the game he loves so much, ArnoldPalmer.com 2.0 is pure fun. Dig in, click around. The answer to every question you’ve ever wanted to ask Palmer during a friendly round of golf is within these pages. So run your cursor over this home page. Discover the links that’ll take you inside on a journey of discovery.
All there is to do is act like Arnold Palmer.
Posted by scurry at 02:13 PM
Palmer's Past Repeats Itself
February 18, 2007
Arnie's Career Similar to Tiger's
By: Larry Bohannan
The Desert Sun
LA QUINTA - Every golf tournament wants him in its field. Every sponsor wants him in their tournament or their commercials. Every television broadcast hopes to focus its cameras on him.
That might sound like the career of Tiger Woods, the brightest - and some say the only - star in golf today. But it happened 15 years before Woods was born, and the player in demand was Arnold Palmer.
Palmer, golf's biggest and most successful star at the dawn of the television age in the late 1950s, may be the only golfer who can grasp the kind of external pressure Woods is receiving from fans and media these days. They want Woods to play more PGA Tour events, revive lagging television ratings and generally push the sport to greater heights. It was no different in Palmer's heyday.
"Was there pressure? Sure, there is a lot of pressure. Jack (Nicklaus) had the same thing. Everybody does," Palmer said sitting in his La Quinta home inside Tradition Golf Club, site of one of his eight desert course designs. "And of course a lot of us were very conscious of that. But you have to live your life. You can't stop and go play everywhere. You would ruin your existence."
Palmer, 77 and now retired from competing in official PGA Tour or Champions Tour events, fueled the boom in golf's popularity in the 1960s. His dramatic comebacks - he rallied from seven shots back in the final round to win the 1960 U.S. Open - his go-for-broke style and his blue-collar work ethic brought new fans and excitement to a sport that was too often perceived as staid or elitist before his arrival.
Like Woods today, there was often a sense in the early 1960s that if Palmer wasn't in a tour field, the event didn't matter as much. Now 47 years after his seminal 1960 season of eight wins including the Open and the Masters, Palmer might be forgiven for looking at the modern PGA Tour pro with a "We did things different in my day" attitude. Instead, Palmer said he sometimes wishes he had been able to force himself to cut back on his tournament appearances and play a schedule more like Woods.
"Maybe I should have (taken weeks off) a little more. It might have enhanced my position on the tour a little bit," said Palmer, who averaged 29 tournament starts a year from 1955 to 1961. "You know, it's difficult. I was so grateful for the fact that I was there and could do what I was doing. I wanted to do everything I could do to enhance it and make it better for everyone else."
By contrast, Woods has averaged 19 PGA Tour starts in his first 10 seasons on tour and has never played more than 21 events in a year. Woods played 15 in 2007, the minimum required for full tour membership, though he took 10 weeks off because of his father's death. Still, Woods has 55 career victories, fifth on the tour's all-time wins list. Palmer is fourth with 62 wins.
Palmer said he felt similar pressure but in less-public ways.
"The commissioner would call you sometimes. I've had occasions when that happened. But not to the point where they called and said 'You've got to play.'" Palmer recalled. "Deane Beman might call and say, 'Arnie, it would really help us if you would consider playing in an event.'"
Palmer said he received similar calls from Joe Dye, the commissioner before Beman. Woods has certainly had similar conversations with people behind the scenes, Palmer said, but Palmer doesn't criticize Woods or any player for playing fewer than half of the tour's available events.
"I played a lot, as you know. And I tried to accommodate. But there was a time when I played so much just trying to accommodate, I wore myself out," Palmer said. "And I got sick, mentally and physically. That doesn't mean that I was literally sick, but I felt awful and my game was not good."
Palmer recalled arriving in Fort Worth, Texas, for the Colonial tournament one May after having played a heavy schedule of tournaments early in the season.
"I was exhausted. I got sick. And that was a case where I wanted to be excused from the tournament," Palmer said. "I was on site and sick, but they kept me and they wouldn't let me go. And I understood."
Some things have changed significantly over 40 years of golf - primarily money. When Palmer won eight tournaments in 21 starts in 1962, he earned a record $128,230 for the season. The winner of today's Nissan Open will earn $936,000 for the week.
"You can't help but look at the money. They have got it. I mean, if you finish second or third in a tournament, you are set for the year, financially," Palmer said. "So that definitely has to have an effect."
Palmer said many players in his era played week to week just to make ends meet. A missed cut and no paycheck for a week could be a disaster for a struggling player.
"I won $75,000 in 1960. Well that was the top. Down the list not very far, you find out you were winning $20,000 or $25,000, even for a medium-type player," Palmer said. "You could barely make it on the tour. Your expenses were getting close to what you were winning. That made a lot of guys play a lot more than they otherwise might have played."
There were differences in the two players' careers. Palmer didn't turn pro until he was 25, while Woods was a pro at 19. And while Woods is generally considered unchallenged for the top spot in the game, Palmer's career spanned the winning eras of Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Billy Capser and Palmer's greatest rival, Jack Nicklaus.
For the demands to ease on Woods, and for tournaments to feel comfortable without Woods in the field, Palmer says the competition needs to step up.
"Golf needs someone to challenge Tiger. He is so good and he is, right now, just my opinion, out there by himself," Palmer said. "It's kind of like how (Byron) Nelson was in his day. I think Tiger will continue to play and play a very dominant game."
On the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, which Palmer won five times: “It was a week off for me, just to be playing there. And the people like Ernie (Dunlevie) and the people that were running the tournament were all buddies. It was a week I wouldn’t miss for anything. Today, it would be the same situation for me. Tiger hasn’t had the experience. Had he, he might feel differently.”
On Woods’ dominance of the tour: “You can’t help but admire everything he does. It’s like at the British Open last year. He looked up at the leader board, saw he was three shots back and made three birdies in a row. That’s the kind of guy he is. He’s tough.”
On playing internationally, something he did often early in his career: “I had a couple of goals in my life about playing. One was to win as many countries’ championships as I could. When I started, I won the Panama Open, I won the Colombian Open, the U.S. Open, the British Open, the Canadian Open. One of my goals was to win as many national opens in the world as I could. And I tried for a while. But then I got curtailed, because of the travel and all the things, I just couldn’t do.”
On playing nearly every PGA Tour event at one time or another: “I skipped a lot of tournaments, but I played them all at one time or another. I kind of had a thing about that. Like the PGA. I never won the PGA, but I wanted to. The same thing applied to the (regular) tournaments. Palm Springs, L.A., Phoenix, Tucson, I wanted to win at least one time in every city in America. That was something I pursued. I did reasonable.”
On his best wins: “There is one thing that I always liked, and that was when there was a full field when I won. I wanted everybody there. And I think Tiger feels the same way. I think he likes the full field, he likes the competition and he doesn’t want a soft field. And I felt that way.”
Posted by scurry at 05:17 PM
And the winner is . . .
February 02, 2007
. . . Colts, 31-24. That's Arnold Palmer's prediction. "I take the Colts for two reasons: Peyton Manning at quarterback and the Colts are a faster team," he says.
For those disposed to placing a small wager, Palmer looks for a 7-point spread which matches the line predicted by USA Today expert oddsmaker Danny Sheridan. Sheridan's over/under of 48 1/2 means Palmer thinks the smart money will bet "over."
Why listen to a golfer when making a Super Bowl wager? Palmer is the 2003 Super Sage Award winner given annually by Scripps Howard news service to the celebrity that comes the closest to accurately predicting the winning score. Palmer won the year Tampa Bay beat Oakland, 48-21, to win Super Bowl XXXVII.
Past Super Sage Award recipients include Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, actor Dennis Farina ("Law and Order") and Palmer's long-time congressman, U.S. Rep. John Murtha (D-Johnstown). Youth actor Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) has the longest winning streak in the celebrity poll's 17-year history, having accurately predicted the winner seven consectutive times.
Posted by crodell at 02:27 PM
Hoffman matches Palmer at 1st Hope
January 23, 2007
Congratulations to Charley Hoffman on becoming only the second player ever to win the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on his first try. He can only hope he eventually matches the success at the Hope of the man whose name he now joins in the record books.
Arnold Palmer won The Hope on his first try in 1960 and went on to win it again in 1962, ‘68, ‘71 and ‘73.
“As my record might suggest, The Hope became one of my favorite spots on tour,” Palmer says.
Perhaps Palmer’s best memory of the tournament has nothing to do with what happened on the course. It was at the Hope in the early 1970s that Palmer was summoned to a mini-summit with President Richard M. Nixon. A U.S. Marine helicopter picked up Bob Hope, Palmer and their spouses and flew them over the mountains to Nixon’s Western White House at San Clemente north of San Diego.
On hand with Nixon was Vice President Gerald Ford, foreign policy adviser Henry Kissinger and a host of top level national security officials. “It seemed the president wanted to pick our brains, of all things, about how to end the war in Vietnam,” Palmer told author James Dodson in the Palmer biography, A Golfer’s Life. When Palmer’s turn came to express his opinion, Palmer sheepishly told the Commander-in-Chief to “get this thing over as quickly as possible, for everyone’s sake. I mean, why not go for the green?”
The golf pro’s advice got a round of laughs from people who were unaccustomed to the levity.
So, again, congratulations to Hoffman. May The Hope be the first of many tour victories and lead to -- who knows? -- presidents seeking your advice on worldly matters.
After all, stranger things have happened.
And congratulations to 1996 Bay Hill Invitational champion Paul Goydos for winning Sunday’s Sony Open in Hawaii. His opportunity to become a repeat champion at Bay Hill begins March 12 at the newly renamed Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
Posted by crodell at 10:05 AM
Death of Byron Nelson Saddens Arnold Palmer
September 26, 2006
Arnold Palmer expressed his deep regret on the death of Byron Nelson when informed this afternoon (Tuesday, September 26.) His comments:
"I was terribly disturbed to learn that Byron Nelson has passed (away). He was one of the great people of all time, in addition to being one of the greatest players who ever lived. His record speaks for itself. I don't think that anyone will ever exceed the things that Byron did by winning 11 tournaments in a row in one year. But, I suppose that is not the most admirable thing that he did, although it was certainly tremendous. He was a fantastic person whom I admired from the time I was a boy. He just did nothing during his long life but make great contributions to the game of golf and life itself."
Posted by dgiffin at 04:36 PM
Mister Palmer’s Neighborhood
April 24, 2006
ArnoldPalmer.com would like to introduce writer Chris Rodell. In this story Chris shares with us what it's like to live a stone's throw away from the legend himself on Arnold Palmer Drive. "Mr. Palmer's Neighborhood" will be printed in the 6th issue of Kingdom Magazine available this June. Look to hear lots more from Chris this summer on ArnoldPalmer.com.
The saucy old widow lady next door surprised me when she said she spent a lot of time watching televised golf. Then she about shocked all the hairs off my head when she confided the reason why.
She used to spend hours and hours with her hands in Arnold Palmer’s pants.
“He always paid me,” she said matter-of-factly. “To me, he was just another customer. His office called a while back, but I told them I don’t do that kind of thing anymore.”
She was Palmer’s seamstress, something I’d never known in the 12 years she and I had lived next door to one another on Arnold Palmer Drive one half mile from Latrobe Country Club and the humble home of Palmer himself.
Her casual mention and my giddy reaction -- I dashed inside and phoned five friends who assumed my breathless tone meant I’d just sired healthy quadruplets -- are sound indicators why I’ll never fit in as a year-round resident of the birthplace of the venerable gent, who in 1955 won the Canadian Open, the first of 92 illustrious victories.
My father served his country as a U.S. Navy chaplain’s assistant. It’s almost impossible to conjure a less perilous title -- Army pillow tester? -- for a World War II veteran. That’s why his stories as a foot soldier in Arnie’s Army struck his sons as more stirring than his days dusting Bibles on behalf of God and Uncle Sam.
He got sunburned at Oakmont in ‘62. Stiff new golf shoes blistered his feet on a long march following Palmer at Firestone in ‘75. He caught hell for spilling beer on the couch reaching for Kleenex to mop away tears when Palmer crossed the Swilcan Burn for the last time in ‘95. I was raised with a reverence for the man I still, out of respect, refer to as Mr. Palmer that is unsurpassed by statesmen, philanthropists and medical innovators.
But that’s not why I moved to tiny Youngstown (me and the 391 other locals are always snobbishly informing strangers that Mr. Palmer’s Latrobe Country Club is actually in Youngstown, 15696, not Latrobe, 15650).
I was a newspaper reporter in a small Latrobe bureau office that was right next to a friendly tavern that served 50-cent Rolling Rock drafts. The buildings were a well-struck 3-wood from Latrobe Brewing Company. When my wife-to-be and I were searching for an area home, it seemed prudent to move to a place that, in those days of Y2K computer bug hysteria, assured convenient access to a brewery that served good, cheap beer.
But the real reason is the same as why Palmer still resides here and why he’s still active with the club, Arnold Palmer Motors and the local airport that bears his name: I’d grown fond of the folks. They are tough, no-nonsense people who work hard and play hard.
We moved into 505 Main Street and I began a career of freelance writing general feature stories for various national magazines. It wasn’t until the local council changed my address to Arnold Palmer Drive that I began to concentrate on golf writing. Palmer isn’t tiny Youngstown’s only claim to fame. The rest of Main Street was renamed in honor of another famous resident, the late Mister Fred Rogers, a schoolmate of Palmer’s. In fact, I can leave my front door turn left and be on Arnold Palmer Drive or turn right and stroll down Fred Rogers Way.
Alas, my golf game tends to trend after Mister Rogers. It’s gentle, unfailingly polite and is something grown up meanies make vicious fun of. But that hasn’t stopped me from seizing the Palmer connection. “I may never be the best golf writer,” I reason, “but I can be the only one on Arnold Palmer Drive just down the street from Latrobe Country Club and Arnold Palmer himself.”
Even before employing that little professional conceit, I was awestruck every single time I had a brush with Palmer, a small town neighbor who wouldn’t know me from the Biblical Adam. I’d slow the car to a crawl when I’d see him teeing up on the club’s roadside 122-yard par 3 second hole -- he’s aced it four times -- in the hopes I’d see some magic.
A courteous motorist, he once waved me through a stale yellow light. I must have run five senior citizens and a school bus full of frightened toddlers off the road on my mad rush to the bar to spill the news to my buddies.
And I was among the small gallery at Laurel Valley Golf Club for the Pennsylvania Classic two weeks after September 11, 2001, and saw him make deliberate and bracing eye contact with every one of us while his forgettable partners teed off. In those still-fragile days, his lingering eyes seemed to convey encouraging strength. I understood that day the messianic charisma that’s inspired a nation for more than 50 years.
I remember the sunny Saturday morning outside the Youngstown Post Office, a small town social center, when my wife and I were approached by a striking autumn haired woman with a soft spot for golden retrievers like the one tugging at the end of our leash.
“He is magnificent!” she gushed, luxuriously kneading both hands deep into Casey’s fur. “Oh, you must have him come and meet our Prince! Please call. It will be so much fun!”
We promised we would. After she’d skipped away, my wife asked the identity of the bubbly stranger.
“That’s Mrs. Winnie Walzer Palmer,” I said. “She married young Arnold on December 20, 1954, the same day as my own father and mother were married. When my old man heard the coincidental news and sent them an anniversary card, she responded the next few years with ones of her own.”
I called a few weeks later, but was told she wasn’t feeling well. It was 1998. We didn’t know it, but she was suffering from the cancer that would defeat her in November 1999.
I’m mystified by reporters who treat their frequent dealings with Palmer the way I used to treat the poor schlubs who were appointed to the local municipal authority board. I understand a certain professional detachment is necessary to cover a subject, but this isn’t some politician seeking our dollars and votes. It’s not some preening movie star posing as an action hero out to charm the ticket-buying public. This is Arnold Palmer.
Thus, I’m terrified that someday I’ll be called upon in a professional capacity to interview Mr. Palmer because I know my most pointed question will be along the lines of, “What’s it like to be so great? And, please, try be honest . . . unless you don’t feel like it.”
I’m convinced my story would read, “It’s been five hours since I was privileged to sit down and meet the great Arnold Palmer. My right hand is still tingling from his introductory greeting. My fair and balanced conclusion is as such: this man is far too accomplished to have to submit to silly questions from impudent reporters like myself.”
Such gushing would earn widespread ridicule from industry colleagues. I’d be finished, unemployable, a lonely ghost rattling through the cobwebbed house with no prospects and nothing but time to dream in vain of better days that would never dawn.
On the bright side, that would leave me with plenty of time to learn how to work a sewing machine. I understand the neighborhood could use another seamstress.
Posted by scurry at 04:32 PM
Three the Hard Way - Bay Hill Club & Lodge 17th Hole
March 11, 2006
17th Hole, 223 Yards, Par 3
Through the years I was never able to persuade my father to take a share of the spotlight he so richly deserved…and now he is gone. Milfred J. (Deacon) Palmer was responsible for getting me started in the right way in sports and life in my formative years.
I remember when I was a little boy, four or five year old, how I would ride on the tractor with him as he mowed the fairways of Latrobe Country Club. Her was the course superintendent at Latrobe for fifty years. We lived right on the course.
When the Depression came, the Club needed a course superintendent more than a gold professional, so the officers made him both. He was the pro for more than forty years. Pap and his men even built the back nine at Latrobe and, in my opinion, it’s a better nine than the front.
When I was filming the television show that led to the writing of this book, I was stuck for a guest as Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida, where I wanted to play the seventieth hole, a par-three that doesn’t have to take a back seat to any in the world.
Bay Hill was designed by the late Dick Wilson, whom I consider the finest of all golf architects. His subtle nuances around the greens catch the most wary player, and he had the ability to lay out a course that utilized every bit of natural terrain.
The seventeenth is a fully carry over the water, with a long, shallow trap guarding the front right two thirds of the green. Bunkers are also well placed to the left and back of the green. The green is wide and fairly shallow, with the toughest pin placements on the right side behind the water and trap. The tees are elevated.
Through the years I was never able to persuade my father to take a share of the spotlight he so richly deserved…and now he is gone. Milfred J. (Deacon) Palmer was responsible for getting me started in the right way in sports and life in my formative years.
I remember when I was a little boy, four or five year old, how I would ride on the tractor with him as he mowed the fairways of Latrobe Country Club. Her was the course superintendent at Latrobe for fifty years. We lived right on the course.
When the Depression came, the Club needed a course superintendent more than a gold professional, so the officers made him both. He was the pro for more than forty years. Pap and his men even built the back nine at Latrobe and, in my opinion, it’s a better nine than the front.
When I was filming the television show that led to the writing of this book, I was stuck for a guest as Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida, where I wanted to play the seventieth hole, a par-three that doesn’t have to take a back seat to any in the world.
Bay Hill was designed by the late Dick Wilson, whom I consider the finest of all golf architects. His subtle nuances around the greens catch the most wary player, and he had the ability to lay out a course that utilized every bit of natural terrain.
The seventeenth is a fully carry over the water, with a long, shallow trap guarding the front right two thirds of the green. Bunkers are also well placed to the left and back of the green. The green is wide and fairly shallow, with the toughest pin placements on the right side behind the water and trap. The tees are elevated.
This hole has fond memories for me. A whole gang of us were playing a rainy-day eightsome and we had all kind of little matches going among us, We came to this hole and I asked my caddy, Tom, what club to hit.
“A three-iron,” Tom replied.
I hit a three-iron and hit it pretty good. It went in the water. I asked Atom what he was doing to me and took a two-iron out of the bag.
“That's too much club,” Tom said. I hit the two-iron, which bounced short of the pin and went in the hole. I looked over at Tom with a smile. “No, suh, Mr. Palmer, you hit that fat,” Tom said, not giving up. “I still say it’s a three-iron.”
All I know is I made three the hard way.
There are also one or two alligators in the lakes at Bay Hill that are often seen sunning themselves. And a female skin diver retrieves the many golf balls hit in the water from time to time.
One day, former Vice President Agnew, who has visited Bay Hill, hit a golf ball in the water. When he walked up to the edge of the hazard, she popped out of the water and handed him his ball. He was astounded.
On the day Pap and I went to play the seventeenth, I think that Deacon was a little nervous.. I tried to relax him but really didn’t have to. He smashed a good three-wood about forty feet from the pin. I’ve never seen a happier expression in my life. I hit a two-iron and was on the green, too, only about eight feet from the cup.
When Pap knocked the putt in for a birdie deuce, you’d think he had been a television star all his life. He calmly walked over, picked the ball out of the hole, and looked at me. “You’re away.” He said. Remarking to myself that “I’d better make mine or I’ll never hear the end of it,” I worked pretty hard on my putt and got it in the cup for my birdie. Still, I was mighty proud of Pap for rising to the occasion as he did.
While Latrobe Country Club was Deacon’s whole life, he came to admire Bay Hill as much as I have since I first played an exhibition match there back in the early 1960s when it was first opened. I had always like that part of Florida, which has the state’s most rolling terrain, many of its lakes, and yet is far enough south to have comfortable golfing weather year ‘round.
I was so attracted to Bay Hill that,. In the mid-1960s, I and a small group of associates began negotiations that led to out purchase of the Club in 1969. It has become my winter home in Florida. My father and mother, Doris, who also had a great influence on my early life, enjoyed spending parts of the winter at Bay Hill. What irony that Pap was at Bay Hill playing golf when he dies February of 1976 shortly after competing a day on the course.
Let me give you another example of how fortunate I was to have such parents when I was a boy. Once I was playing in some kind of a junior tournament in western Pennsylvania and hadn’t yet learned to curb my youthful temper. I was playing badly and throwing an occasional club. When it was over and we were in the car heading home, I realized that the atmosphere was decidedly cool. Before long, Pap turned to me and, in no uncertain terms told me: “If you ever throw a club again, I’ll take them away from you. This game is for gentlemen, and gentlemen learn to control themselves.” It was a very important lesson that has been so valuable to me all my life, and I say the same to any youngster, or adult, for that matter, on whom this shoe fits.
Despite its length from the back tee, the seventeenth is not overly difficult for the low handicapper, unless the wind is in his face (it often is.) It’s more a matter of selecting the right club because of the rather shallow depth of the green. Otherwise, he has quite a bit of room to the right or left. Our low man should be on with a long iron or, high handicapper on that championship tee unless you want him to admire the rather spectacular view across the water from that chute.
From the front tee, which reduces the length to about 160 to 170 yards, he can reach the green with a decent long iron or wood, even if he has that usual slice. So long as he maneuvers the shot to avoid the bunkers, he can make the almost flat green and usually muster a par. Even when the pin is to the right behind the water and the long front trap, he is wise to play to the left side, since a sizable apron lies on that side beside the water short of the green. He should be able at least to make a bogey from there.
Our high handicapper might as well take a bucket of balls to that tee and keep swinging with his driver until he gets across. There is really no place for him to lay up-water to the right and several tall pines to the left short of the green that block that route. Maybe the high man ought to take the example of the ‘gators and the skin diver and swim the ball across. Seriously, a bit of such frustration on that hole should convince out high handicapper that if he is going to play the game, he has better improve. He should head for the pro shop and some lessons.
~ Arnold Palmer
Posted by scurry at 11:51 PM
The Master's was his Domain
April 08, 2005
"Augusta and this golf tournament have been as much a part of my life as anything other than my family." - Arnold Palmer, at his farewell press conference in 2004.
After slashing his way to four Masters wins, Arnold Palmer is about to become a Masters spectator for the first time in 50 years. "It's traumatic," admits Palmer, who has an open invitation to hit the tournaments ceremonial first ball on April 7 but is leaning against it.
Palmer is uniquely wise to all things Augusta, and he gave us some thoughts on The National from his desk at Bay Hill in Orlando. On people-watching: "You can't beat the terrace outside the clubhouse." On the menu: "I like a good strip steak with a nice glass of wine." On making speeches in the winner's circle: "If you get to the Butler Cabin, you're not going to worry about what you're going to say. You're just one happy dude."
Because he's played 150 rounds in 50 Masters-and because he's the Kind-we asked Palmer for a hole-by-hole tour of the famed course, and to recall the shots that won him four green jackets.
The Shot: 3-wood approach on 13
Palmer had eight Tour winds entering the 1958 Masters, but many in the media were still skeptical that he had the game to win a green jacket. With Bobby Jones on hand to watch, Palmer "smoked" his 3-wood approach to 18 feet (this was minutes after the embedded-ball Rules controversy on the 12th hole involving Ken Venturi). Palmer drained the eagle putt and went on to a one-shot victory. The new King was crowned.
"They said anybody who hit it low like I did would never win The Masters-1958 proved otherwise, and that kind of ignited all my success at Augusta. I hit a lot of 3-woods into 13 over the years, but that one was maybe the best of them all."
The Shot: 27-foot birdie putt in 17
Trailing Ken Venturi by a stroke, Palmer twice backed off his birdie putt before finally ramming in the 27-footer. ("I couldn't look," said Palmer's wife, Winnie. I didn't see it, but I heard it-it sounded like the best putt of the tournament.") He then birdies the final hole, thanks to a 6-iron to six feet, to capture his second green jacket.
"There was commotion and excitement [around the green]. The pin was back- right, and I was on the front-center of the green going slightly to the right and up the hill. About 27 feet. That ball was going-really moving. I didn't have many putts die in the hole in my career. I jumped into the air."
The Shot: Tee shot on 12
Palmer got off to a lackluster start in his 18-hole playoff with Gary Player and Dow Finsterwald but caught fire on the back nine, citing his tee shot here as the spark.
"I found myself trailing Player by three shots at the turn, but I hit an 9-iron to the front-left pin and almost made a one. It was kick-in length. That sent me off. I birdied 13-I hit a 3 wood to reach it in two-and shot 31 on the back nine. My 68 beat Player by three strokes."
The Stroll: Victory march up the 18th fairway
Palmer realized a Masters dream in 1964. "One of my great ambitions was to walk up the 18th hole at The Masters and feel comfortable. In my first three wins, I was on edge [coming to 18]. In '64 I was leading by six and playing with my great friend Dave Marr. He was contending for second place. When we walked off the 18th tee I said, "Is there anything I can do to help you?' And he said, 'Yeah-make 12.'"
The Palmer mystique is rooted in his humanity. We see ourselves in him, both in his triumphs and failures. He won four green jackets, but it could have easily been six. The King recalls the two that got away.
The Defending Champion 1959
Palmer led with seven holes remaining, but drowned his tee shot in Rae's Creek when the wind knocked down his well-struck 6-iron. His third, a pitch from near the hazard, trickled over the green into an indentation. It took Palmer three to get down from there for a triple- bogey 6. (He made the same score the final time he contended on Sunday at The Masters, in 1972.)
"I didn't do very well, that about all I remember. Art Wall won the tournament, didn't he? [He did, closing with a Palmer-like charge of birdies on five of the last six holes for a 66 and a one-shot win.] I don't want to remember the gory details. I have enough of those memories."
Greenside Bunker Blunder 1961
Clinging to a one-stroke lead over Gary Player, Palmer striped his drive down the middle of the 72nd hole, then accepted congratulations from a fan. Big mistake. His 7-iron approach missed wide right into a sand trap. From there, Palmer skulled his explosion shot over the green, failed to get up-and-down and ended up making double-bogey 6. Player got up-and- down from that same bunker to win.
"That bunker shot is the shot from my career that I'd like to have over again," Palmer says. "I hit a bad approach and tried to revamp it by gambling on the shot out of the trap. I could have flipped it out onto the green and taken a chance on it trickling down to that Sunday pin and caught it a little thin. I didn't get it down, made 6 and lost The Masters."
Photo Caption: Not even this last-second field goal attempt could salvage a Masters disaster.
Golf Magazine, April 2005, pgs. 165-169.
Posted by scurry at 10:57 AM
Arnie Says Goodbye
April 09, 2004
By Richard Mudry
Augusta, Ga. - Playing before a bevy of family, friends and long-time Patrons, Arnold Palmer said an emotional goodbye to the Masters Tournament Friday with his record 50th Championship.
Palmer, 74, was given a hero's sendoff along the fairways of Augusta National Golf Club, receiving warm applause and hearty cheers from appreciative Patrons.
The four-time Masters Champion was moved by the applause that greeted him on every tee, along every fairway and at every green.
With tears welling in his eyes periodically throughout the day, the charismatic golfer strolled down memory lane on his last competitive round over the 7,290-yard, par-72 layout. His score mattered not to those watching him bid adieu to a tournament that made him famous and that he helped grow as well.
"Augusta and this golf tournament has been about a part of my life as anything other than my family and most of you know that," he said afterward.
"I don't think I could ever separate myself from this club and this golf tournament. I may not be present, I may not be here, but I'll still be part of what happens here only because I want it to be. I've had such a great life and enjoyed it so much."
Palmer's departure left tears in its wake, tears from Sam Saunders, who caddied for his famous grandfather during the 68th Masters, to his two daughters, many grandchildren and finance Kit Gawthorp.
Plenty, said Palmer.
"A lot," said Palmer, showing the facial strain of his emotional week. "Sometimes I just get tired and the emotion overrules and runs away with me. I'm not upset about it. You know if I can't handle it that's my fault."
Everywhere he walked along the rolling fairways this week, Palmer saw friends, most made over the course of his 50 years at The Masters.
Those tender moments were about the only thing that Arnold Daniel Palmer couldn't handle in his life.
He handled victory or defeat with equal grace and dignity. He beat prostate cancer and returned to play the following year at The Masters. He handled the loss of his wife, Winnie, to cancer with the dignity one expected of a golf icon.
Palmer said he will return yearly to the Champions Dinner to remain a part of the Masters and will seriously consider a role as an honorary starter, perhaps as early as 2005.
But there will always be the memories, wonderful memories, for a man with a trunk full of them.
"I've thought about how many times I've walked up that 18th fairway," he said, rewinding his reel of highlights back to 1955, his first Masters appearance.
"I can think of the four times that I won The Masters. I can think of a couple of times that I didn't win that I felt like I should have won. I can think of the fans that have support me and listened to them, and, of course, they all have something to say, or most of them have something to say about what I'm doing when I'm walking up that fairway."
Arnold Palmer never met a fan he didn't like or a fan that didn't like his blue-collar style.
He never failed to sign an autograph or look a person in the eye whether he was on the fairway playing golf or in an entirely different arena of the business world.
He was a legend who walked among us, said Gary Player, himself a larger-than-life former Masters Champion.
"He gave of himself," said Player. "If you give to the fans, they give back. A lot of athletes are aloof. But Arnold was always aware of the man in the street."
And that can be no greater testimony for anyone.
Posted by scurry at 06:14 PM
Love for Palmer
He looked tired, but you could see in his features that Arnold Palmer had made peace with the idea that after 50 Masters, after 150 rounds, he had competed for the last time.
"I'm not going to make a big, long speech today," Palmer said. "I'm through. I've had it. I'm done. Cooked. Washed up. Finished."
A smile crept onto his face, as it usually has when he is at the Augusta National Golf Club.
"Augusta and this golf tournament has been about (as much) a part of my life as anything other than my family," Palmer said. "I don't think I could ever separate myself from this club and this tournament. I may not be present, I may not be here, but I'll still be a part of what happens here, only because I want to be."
Statisticians will remember that Palmer shot his second consecutive 84 on Friday. But the golf fans who have revered him for so long stopped worrying about what Palmer shot a long time ago.
Among those fans was one Davis Love III. He has finished second in two Masters. On Friday, he shot a 67 and won a crystal vase for the low score of the round, a trinket he has won five times. Love is tied for sixth at two-under 142, four shots back of Justin Rose.
Yet one of the fondest memories of Love's 15 Masters occurred Wednesday, when he played a nine-hole tune-up with Palmer.
"He came out on the range," Love said. "I could tell he was looking for somebody. I said, 'Are you going to play?' The guy he was going to play with, I guess, had already taken off. I said, 'Well, you can come play with me.'"
Practice rounds are informal. But still, can you imagine, not waiting around to play with Arnie? At Augusta National? In his 50th and final Masters? Love understood how special the opportunity was.
"So I blew Freddie off," Love said with a grin, referring to his good friend Fred Couples.
In 1964, when Palmer won his fourth and final Masters, he shared the first-round lead with two other major championship winners, Gary Player and Kel Nagle; Bob Goalby; and Davis Love, Jr., who wasn't even sure he would be able to complete the tournament because his wife expected to deliver a baby at any moment.
Davis Jr. finished tied for 34th. The following day, Davis III was born. He turns 40 on Tuesday.
Love lost his father in a plane crash in 1988.
"He talked about my dad," Love said of Palmer. "It's just amazing, the little things he remembers, that my dad qualified through the U.S. Amateur to get here in '55, and Arnold remembered, and he remembered the matches that he won."
Palmer remembered because he won that 1954 U.S. Amateur at the Detroit Country Club. In 1955, he, too, played in his first Masters, and tied for 10th. Palmer had turned pro.
For that top-10 finish, he earned $696.
"He's been good to me since I was a very small child," Love said, "so it was an honor to get to play with him in his last Masters."
Love needed a taste of vintage Arnie to get back into this Masters. When you shoot a 75 in the opening round, you've got to set aside all the bromides about being patient in a major, accepting par, blah-blah-blah and force yourself back into the tournament.
It's usually easy to spot the golfers who fire at the Augusta National pins -- they're the ones cleaning out their lockers on Friday evening. But Love went out and made an eagle and five birdies on his way to a 67. The eagle, his first at Augusta National in six years, came on a 50-foot bomb at the 500-yard 15th hole and got his name back on the leaderboard.
"Hopefully, I can build on that eagle and say that, hey, I can play these holes aggressively and make some birdies and some eagles," Love said.
It is the coda by which Palmer played throughout his career, most famously on these grounds. Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson said Wednesday that, "after Bobby Jones founding this place, I guess Arnold has meant more to the Masters than anyone."
That may come as a surprise to the ghost of Clifford Roberts, the co-founder of the club and the man who ran this tournament with an iron fist until his death in 1976. And it may come as a surprise to those who favor Jack Nicklaus, winner of six green jackets. But Palmer is as much a part of Augusta National as pimiento cheese sandwiches and pollen. He and the tournament nurtured televised golf, which in turn made them the two biggest attractions in the sport.
Nicklaus, after shooting a second consecutive 75 to miss the cut by two shots, said he didn't know if he would return next year for his 45th Masters. Nicklaus received a rousing ovation at No. 18, especially after he stiffed a pitch within two feet to save par.
Nicklaus took off his hat and waved at the patrons. As he bent down to fix his ball mark, a woman yelled, "That's a gimme!"
Nicklaus looked up at her and said drily, "Someplace else."
The Golden Bear may or may not come back. Palmer has made up his mind. He hasn't made the cut since 1983. He hasn't shot a round of par since 1985. He hasn't broken 80 since 2001.
And no one cares.
They applauded him as he left the first tee, "they" including the fans on the other side of the adjacent ninth fairway. He doffed his visor no more than several hundred times.
Perhaps the only living thing at Augusta National unimpressed with Palmer on Friday was the snake he nearly stepped on as he took a shortcut through the ditch on the 13th hole.
"I don't know whether it was a moccasin or not," Palmer said, and he turned to the press conference moderator, Billy Payne. "I'm going to guess it was, wouldn't you, Billy?"
Payne, a fellow member of Augusta National, never broke his deadpan.
"We don't have snakes here," he said.
After the laughter subsided, Palmer said, "Well, if I had felt a little tired, I didn't then. I came out of there and I was flying."
His feet barely touched the ground when he walked up the 18th fairway as well. The gallery applauded him for 90 seconds as he approached his second shot.
"I thought about how many times I've walked up that 18th fairway," Palmer said. "I can think of the four times I won the Masters. I can think of a couple of times I didn't win and should have ... Whether it be making a 6 at the last hole to lose the Masters (in 1961), or whether it be hitting a 7-iron in about four feet to make a putt to win the Masters (in 1960), all of those things go through my mind."
Palmer waved goodbye two years ago, when Johnson decreed that no Masters champion over 65 would be allowed to start. Johnson might not back down to Martha Burk, but he acquiesced on this issue.
"That farewell was created by other people than me," Palmer said. "I never really felt that that was the end. I was more obliging than giving up."
That may be the first time that the words "Palmer" and "giving up" have ever appeared in a sentence together. He may view this battle that no one ever wins as a defeat. But he gave up on his terms.
"The fact is that one of the things I wanted to do was what I did today," Palmer said, "and that was finish 50 years at Augusta."
Forty years after his fourth and final Masters victory, Palmer walked off No. 18 for the last time.
Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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