Tiger Will Wear a Different Crown Than The King

By Adam BarrOctober 10, 2003, 4:00 pm
The old man with the youth in his eyes tees up a ball on the green and faces back down the fairway.
 
On the green? says a bystander.
 
His green, someone else says.
 
He hitches a little, sets up, waggles the driver, grimaces briefly as if wishing for the momentary return of that youth that still lives in his eyes, and swings. The ball sails back down the fairway on a trajectory any of us would be pleased to own. But its not good enough for him. He wants it to be like 1964. He feels like he can do it the way he did in 1964.
 
Oh, and by the way: He left not a mark on that green.
 
Arnold Palmer has made his mark in many other ways over thousands of days like this one. The occasion is a commercial shoot at the Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Fla., and Palmer, the star of the commercial, is also the clubs founder and owner. The impromptu drive was a time-killer between takes. Now that the film crew has reset and the next shot is ready, Palmer changes shirts (even in October the humidity here is still stifling) and heads toward the camera.
 
His eyes still smile as if they simply dont know any other way. Even he has been unable to dodge the inevitable heartbreak episodes of advancing age: He is a widower and a prostate cancer survivor (indeed, part of todays commercial shoot concerns Palmers efforts to increase prostate cancer awareness, thereby saving the lives of more men.)
 
But the smile remains in the eyes, and everyone from sound guy to camera operator to P.R. girl is drawn to his natural friendliness. No question: Whatever he feels he has lost off his drive, Arnold Palmers human appeal ' and commercial viability as an endorser ' refuses to decay.
 
Those of you rushing to the discussion boards or the e-mail to excoriate me for praising Palmer ' how can I say this politely? Save it. Every time I write something nice about Palmer, I hear that it is because he allegedly signs my paycheck. But while he is indeed the chairman of the board of The Golf Channel, he has no influence over my work. I cover golf business news; Palmer continues to make golf business news ' thats all the motivation I need, or have.
 
Besides, praise isnt really the objective here. Rather, it is to note that at 74, Palmer is 30 years past his last regular PGA Tour win, still an endorsement blockbuster, and probably the last of a breed.
 
Timing had a lot to do with Palmers endorsement success. If you trace the explosion of television-driven mass culture in this country back to the advent of the Beatles in 1962, then Palmers first Masters win of four, in 1958, couldnt have been scheduled any better. Palmer helped golf on television, and golf on TV helped him.
 
Then there was the personal touch. Legions of people have testified about how Arnold looked right at them, reached out his hand to shake their hands. He made a personal bridge every time he extended an arm over the ropes. (As a matter of fact, it was because of the crowds Palmer brought to golf tournaments that organizers even had to use ropes.)
 
It wasnt an accident. Palmers father Deacon instilled gentlemanliness in him from an early age, and made sure the lesson stuck. And the late Mark McCormack, realizing that no athlete can win all the time or forever, positioned Palmer as a winner at life, as McCormack liked to put it.
 
It worked. And because it worked, Palmers appeal has survived the onslaught of a speedy, impatient culture, including the immense popularity of other sports stars. Palmer continues, to this day, to be among the top 20 athlete-endorsers in the world, according to Forbes magazine.
 
The young man with the fire in his eyes, who is No. 1 on that Forbes list and who makes a habit of winning Palmers PGA Tour event at Bay Hill each March, has teed up a new era of endorsement power. But those who thrill to the golf expertise of Tiger Woods sometimes sigh that whatever his gifts, Woods will never be another Palmer. The less charitable blame Tiger for this, saying he should be warmer, more personable ' more like Arnold.
 
But its not Tigers fault that in being himself, he is something different from (or less than) the hero we remember Palmer to be. Its not that Tiger doesnt have the ability to build those same bridges Palmer built ' Woods has been unfailingly polite in my contacts with him, and he has a wicked, dry sense of humor that is often the hallmark of extreme intelligence. He runs a charitable foundation, and he has put a great deal of money where his mouth is in that regard. He is a good example for children.
 
But although Woods is the best opportunity for Palmer-like stardom since the generation that brought us Palmer, Nicklaus and Player, the world into which Tiger was born is irrevocably changed.
 
Was 1964 kindler and gentler? Perhaps. For certain, there were not as many concerns about security. There were less people vying for an athletes time. Sports stardom earned respect, but not deification. We had not yet coined the term stalker. The commercial machinery that had been built by Palmers time didnt yet have the privacy-destroying capability is does today.
 
Within the unfriendly confines of these challenges, Woods has done pretty well. His handlers know his presence, image and likeness are assets that must be protected. But the charitable goals remain. And although it might be a stretch to believe Woods fathers mid-1990s prediction that Tiger will outdo Gandhi, its perfectly reasonable to believe Woods will use his extraordinary focus and will to do some lasting good in the world.
 
Kind of like his annual host at Bay Hill. Between swings, Palmer brought smiles to the faces of millions, and continues to do so. And while we wont see him on the Nobel Prize list this week, we owe him a lot.
 
Woods may be able to accomplish the same thing. But it might be a lot to ask if we expect him to do it the same way.
 
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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.