AUGUSTA, Ga. – During his pre-tournament news conference on Tuesday, Tiger Woods told the story of playing Augusta National’s Par 3 course with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus in 1995, when Tiger – still an amateur – made his first start in the Masters. Here’s Tiger’s account:
“I said, ‘Well, I don't have any cash.’ He says, ‘Don't worry about it. Just play hard.’
‘I said, all right, here we go.
“We go and play. We have a great time. I'm pretty chatty out there. I'm trying to gain as much intel as I possibly can, and I'm asking them on every hole, what do you do here, what do you do here, what do you do here, and I'm pretty sure they got sick and tired of me.
“We get to 18, and Arnold makes a nice putt for birdie on 18 for all the skins, basically. And I could see Jack is over there, a little ticked about it. He says, ‘Enough of this. Why don't we go get him on the par 3 course?’
“I said, ‘Well, Jack, I don't have ‑‑ my tee time is much later.
"Just come with me.
"Yes, sir. How are we going to get on there?
“He says, ‘Don't worry about it." We walk over there, we are on deck, just out of the blue. OK, this is nice. We get around and play the par 3 course, and probably the most nervous I think I had ever been was the last hole on the par 3 course.
“You think it's just a simple 9-iron shot, no big deal. Arnold almost holed it, Jack almost holed it, and now it's my turn. I was just trying to go for dry land, and somehow I was able to hit on dry land and I was pretty stoked about it.”
According to the Facebook page of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard, tournament host Arnold Palmer was released from Dr. P. Phillips Hospital early Monday and was home resting.
Palmer, 82, was taken to the hospital shortly before the end of his tournament on Sunday. The golf legend had been taking a new medicine and having some issues with his blood pressure, so doctors were monitoring it throughout the day.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO -- Arnold Palmer wasn't at the 18th green at Bay Hill on Sunday, as is his custom, to congratulate Tiger Woods on his seventh victory at tournament that bears the legend's name.
Instead, the 82-year-old Palmer was at the nearby Dr. P. Phillips Hospital and will remain there overnight. He has been taking a new medicine and having some issues with his blood pressure, so doctors were monitoring it throughout the day.
About 15 minutes before the competition ended, Palmer had undergone another routine test. During that test, though, the doctors decided he should head to the hospital.
"It wasn't anything to do with any ailments or any discomfort he felt," Alastair Johnston, the COO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises said. "The blood pressure was at a level where the doctor involved suggested that he go immediately to get more intensive evaluation at the hospital."
Johnston met with the media after Tiger Woods' press conference. He said he had just talked with Palmer's daughter, Amy, and the outlook was positive.
"I think the blood pressure situation is starting to ameliorate and improving," Johnston said. "And nobody is overly concerned about the prognosis, although he is going to remain in the hospital overnight for observation."
Graeme McDowell, who finished second to Woods and was playing with him in the final group on Sunday, said he was looking for Palmer when the two walked up to the 18th green.
“I was surprised to see him not around, and when we just heard the news on the side that he had been taken to the hospital, of course we were very upset and certainly praying that everything is going to be okay,” McDowell said. “That really puts a little bit of a dampener of the spirits on 18th green when Tiger is going to pick up his trophy.
“There's going to be a lot of thoughts going out to Mr. Palmer. … He is what is special about this tournament, himself, being the great host and MasterCard being great sponsors. Between them they put a fantastic events on and I love it and say I say, our prayers are with Mr. Palmer right now.”
Palmer’s grandson, Sam Saunders, thanked his Twitter followers for the positive thoughts they sent the family’s way. “For all concerned my granddad is doing fine and will be good to go tomorrow. Thank you for all of your nice comments and concern,” Saunders tweeted at 8:20 p.m. ET>
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Sang-Moon Bae is in the midst of a sensational rookie season on the PGA TOUR, with zero missed cuts in seven stroke-play starts, a quarterfinals effort at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and a spot in the Transitions Championship playoff last week won by Luke Donald.
Fans of the 25-year-old South Korean might have trouble building a bag like his, however. Bae’s driver isn’t available in the United States, a rarity considering equipment manufacturers love to promote TOUR players’ equipment to consumers.
Bae used a Callaway Legacy Black driver at the Copperhead course, finishing T19 in driving distance. The Legacy Black is one of the company’s high-end offerings in Asia and Australia, with a forged titanium face and traditional pear shape.
KINGSPEAK: Arnold Palmer had his annual session with the media Wednesday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, and offered his two cents on the belly putter.
“Well, you're opening up a big subject there. Of course, I don't think there's ever been a club made that I know of that has not been in my bag,” Palmer said, drawing laughs. “May not stay long, and the long putter is one of them. I'm not a fan of long putters.
“I suppose that if I were playing, and a long putter, being totally legal, and would help my game, I might use it. But I'm opposed to it personally. I just think that there shouldn't be a place in the game for anchoring a club against the body, which is what the long putter does.
“So, technically, and principally, I am against it. But would I use it if it were going to enhance my game in the competition? I might.”
COMING BACK: For Jim Furyk, another part of the playoff at the Transitions, the event marked his highest finish since winning the 2010 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and FedExCup title.
He credited a pair of Callaway products for helping get him back on track, the Razr Fit driver and Hex Tour ball.
“I switched drivers at the end of last year in December. Started working with a Callaway driver right before Chevron (World Challenge) and enjoyed -- I liked what I saw. Started working with a different golf ball with actually Phil (Mickelson), when I played with him at The Presidents Cup, started using his golf ball and really liked it.
“Basically what I was seeing was a combination of the two products, I was creating more spin on the golf ball, and I got away from that a little bit last year. The ball launched a little bit higher and had a little less spin; I could hit it far, but I'm not a high-spin guy and because I'm a guy that wants to hit a lot of shots, hit it right-to-left, left-to-right, hit it low, hit it high, and I need spin to do that and that's how you control the golf ball.
Last year he played with a TaylorMade ball and driver, saying multiple fitting sessions and product demos simply didn’t stick and that the parting with the company was “amicable”
“I had made some mistakes and in what I was doing with my equipment and I made mistakes fitting myself equipment that I could have done better. And it was a product of maybe trying to get a little bit longer, maybe trying to find new ways to improve and maybe then hurting my strengths, if that makes sense. Trying to make my weaknesses better but in doing so, hurting your strengths, which is rule No. 1. You don't do that.”
WINNER’S BAG: Luke Donald at the Transitions
DRIVER: TaylorMade RocketBallz (9.5 degrees) with a UST Mamiya Accra XC65 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade Rocketballz (15 degrees)
HYBRID: Mizuno Hi Fli CLK (17 degrees)
IRONS: Mizuno MP-59 (3-PW)
WEDGES: Mizuno MP T-11 (54, 60 degrees)
PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot XG #7
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
The host of the Arnold Palmer Invitational meets the media Wednesday at Bay Hill.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO -- Years ago at a now-defunct Champions Tour event in Charlotte, Arnold Palmer stood behind his car chatting with a young reporter.
The trunk was open, and there must have been 50 golf clubs laying inside. As he talked, Palmer kept picking different ones up and wrapping his tanned fingers around the grip like he was sampling dishes at a buffet.
Palmer said Wednesday there's probably never been a club made that didn't find its way into his bag at some point during his career. Not that it necessarily stayed there very long -- and that includes the belly putter.
Therein lies the conundrum. Palmer isn't a "fan" of the long putter but he wouldn't go so far as to rule out using one.
"I suppose that if I were playing, and a long putter, being
totally legal, and would help my game, I might use it," Palmer
said. "But I'm opposed to it personally. I just think that there
shouldn't be a place in the game for anchoring a club against the
body, which is what the long putter does.
"So, technically, and principally, I am against it. But would I use it if it were going to enhance my game in the competition? I might."
Here are some other nuggets from his annual press conference at Bay Hill in advance of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
ON TIGER WOODS: "I'm watching him swing and I'm watching him play, and I see some moments of the old fashioned Tiger that is very good. ... So you know, if I were making a prediction, I would say, look out, because one of these days, he's going to come back and play pretty good golf."
ON BUBBA WATSON: "I think he brings back some of the memories that I've had of people like (Seve) Ballesteros and some of those people that were kind of loose and wild, but good, great players. I think that that is a very exciting thing, and I think we need more of that excitement. Phil Mickelson gave us a little of that style of play over the years. I feel that that's good stuff. Even the ... Gene Littler style of down the fairway, on the green and a putt; we have them, but that's part of the game. That's what it's all about; the excitement of seeing a guy miss a shot and make a comeback shot, I think that's the fun of the game."
ON CADDIES PICKING UP SHAG BALLS IN THE OLD DAYS: "Well, you have the same thing now, but you have it in the form of a flagstick out there or a target. But in the older days, we had caddies with the bag out there and they picked up the balls. So we were hitting to a target all the time. I had a caddie that caught the ball with a baseball glove all the time. Gary Player used to tell the story about, he says, 'Arnie hits it so good, the caddie hits it here with the glove, here with the glove. Sometimes it hits him right on the head, and before he gets up, he hits him again.'"
ON HITTING THE CEREMONIAL FIRST TEE SHOT AT THE MASTERS: "I don't think that everybody understands what it's like to stand on the first tee at Augusta and hit the beginning shot. That is something that other than winning the Masters or being there when it's counting, that's one of the big thrills of all time; to see the people; to have the Chairman introduce us all; and get into it and start the Tournament is something that I've enjoyed. I didn't think I ever would when they talked about it in the beginning, but I guess age has a lot to do with that."
ON THE CHEERS AT AUGUSTA NATIONAL: "I think one of the biggest cheers I ever heard was when I've hit it over the green at 16 and I was under the TV tower and (Jimmy) Demaret was talking up on top of the tower, and he was describing what my shot was going down the hill. ... And I waited a little bit, and he kept talking ... and finally I decided, oh, well, what the hell, I'll just go ahead and play the shot. But what he had said was, 'He has no chance from here. If he gets it up and down, it will be a small miracle.' Well, when I hit it, it rolled down and went in the hole. That cheer, people seemed to know what was going on. They couldn't hear him, but they just seemed to have a feeling for the tenseness that was going on. And when it rolled in the hole, that was one of the big cheers I've ever heard."
ON RORY McILROY: "I think he has done a wonderful job with 22 years old and starting a career like he has just gotten launched onto. I had a letter from him as I mentioned earlier, and talking about coming up and having a talk with me. I'm not sure that I know exactly what he wants me to tell him or what he wants to hear from me, but I look forward to seeing him and talking to him. And of course, as I said, I'm sorry that he isn't here. But he also mentioned in the letter that he will be here to play in the years to come."
Click here to read the full transcript.
Wake Forest alum Webb Simpson discusses his close association with Arnold Palmer, dating back to his days as a Demon Deacon.
All interviews will be streamed live on PGATOUR.COM.
Wednesday, March 21
Arnold Palmer, 10 a.m. ET
Justin Rose, after pro-am
Ryo Ishikawa, 11:30 a.m. ET
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods tinkered with some new clubs prior to this week’s Australian Open.
Woods, a longtime loyalist to Nike’s Victory Red blades, tried out a VR-S Forged long iron in Sydney. It’s a perimeter cavity-back weighted iron that allows for higher trajectories, which in turn helps shots stop quicker on fast greens.
The VR-S Forged irons are not available to the public yet.
FOREVER THE KING: Arnold Palmer made his 20th career hole-in-one at Bay Hill earlier this week at his Bay Hill Club and Lodge, using a new Callaway Razr XF 5-iron for the first time. He holed out from 163 yards in a fivesome of friends that had 50 aces collectively.
CALC’S CHANGE: At the Champions Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship last week, Mark Calcavecchia had a pair of new Ping G20 drivers overnighted from the company in Arizona after an errant first-round drive where he thought he felt the clubhead come loose.
“I thought the head was loose, but it was probably my head that’s loose,” Calcavecchia joked.
The always-quotable Calc later riffed about driver specs when pressed for more details about the replacement G20.
“They gave me one I think with a little less torque. It's got some numbers on the side of it. I get this question all the time from amateurs. What torque do you use? How many grams? I say, I don't know. I grab a driver, if it feels good, I'll go with it. I'm really not technically up on specifications.
“The other one said 60, which I know is the grams. It says 3.4, then stiff. This one says 2.9. I'm guesstimating that's the torque. It feels a little bit stiffer, so maybe the torque is less or more. I don't know.”
FROM THE BOSS: Loren Roberts of the Champions Tour, long one of the best putters in the game, was asked last week at TPC Harding Park about whether he had ever picked up a long putter.
“I was in my hometown of St. Louis, one of the members there had one. I messed around with it a little bit,” said Roberts, the 1994 PGA TOUR leader in putting average. “If it was outside 20 feet, I couldn’t get it near the hole. And I’m a speed putter. I don’t think it would work for me.”
A who's who of the golf world convened at Wake Forest on Monday for the annual Wake Forest Golf Pro-Am.
Not only was the legendary Arnold Palmer in attendance, so were the men who finished 1-2 in the final FedExCup standings -- Bill Haas and Webb Simpson.
Simpson arrived in Winston-Salem after nearly making The McGladrey Classic his third win in six starts, losing in a playoff to Ben Crane. He took over the lead for the money title on Sunday and heads for a showdown this week with No. 2 Luke Donald at the season-ending Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
Haas won his last start in a playoff, fueled by a stunning up-and-down from the water beside the 17th green, to capture both the FedExCup and TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
As a result, both are prime candidates for PGA TOUR Player of the Year honors. That list also includes Donald and Keegan Bradley, the rookie who counts the PGA Championship among his two wins. Mark Wilson, Bubba Watson, Nick Watney and Steve Stricker also won twice this season.
Palmer knows where his vote -- errr, make that votes -- would go.
"I'd make Bill and Webb co-players of the year," Palmer to PGATOUR.COM's John Dell, who covers golf for the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal. "Of course, I'm a little biased toward the Wake guys. But they are both great guys, and I'm so happy to see them doing so well."
Regardless of who their peers choose to win the Arnold Palmer Award, Haas thinks to have Demon Deacons finishing 1-2 in the FedExCup is special.
"I think when you think about that and look at it, that's pretty amazing," Haas said. On Saturday, he got to lead the Wake Forest football team onto the field prior to its game with Virginia Tech.
To read Dell's story, click here.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Just as the fans loved seeing Arnold Palmer play in the Wells Fargo Championship pro-am on Wednesday so did the PGA TOUR pros.
"Arnie is the king, and what he's done for the game of golf we're benefiting from now," said Phil Mickelson, who, in a move that would have made Palmer proud, signed autographs for nearly 45 minutes after his pro-am round.
"Here we are 50 years later when he was dominating in the '60s that we're able to capitalize on what he really brought the sport to and certainly what Tiger has done for us in the last 15 years, too.
"But to have him out here, it means a lot, because we still look up to him as the epitome of what a golf professional should be."
Dustin Johnson agreed.
"I hope I'm still walking when I'm 81," Johnson said, when reminded of Palmer's age. "I think it's great. He's a great ambassador for the game. He's a super nice guy, and he's been a great champion for a long time. I think it's very nice for him to come out here and do this."