Palmer Done with Competitive Golf

By Associated PressOctober 13, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 Administaff Small Business ClassicSPRING, Texas -- An aching back and too many bad shots finally convinced Arnold Palmer to end his competitive career.
 
Palmer withdrew after playing only four holes of the Administaff Small Business Classic on Friday, then told his loyal fans at the end of the round that he was retiring from tournament play.
 
Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer sheds a tear after announcing his decision to step away from competition.
Palmer made the tearful announcement with a large group of 'Arnie's Army' huddled around.
 
'I made every move in the bag today to make a good shot and I wasn't very successful,' Palmer said. 'That's not surprising. It just didn't come today. It's been working its way into my repertoire. It's tough and it's emotional for me because it's my life.'
 
Palmer, 77, has played less frequently in recent years. He had played in only one other Champions Tour event this year. He hit two balls into the water on the par 4, 440-yard No. 4 hole Friday, playing in a threesome with Lee Trevino and John Mahaffey.
 
He played the rest of the round but did not keep score.
 
'I've been doing this for a long time and, first of all, to stand out there and not be able to make something happen is very traumatic in my mind,' Palmer said. 'The people, they all want to see a good shot and you know it and you can't give them that good shot. That's when it's time.'
 
Palmer played his final PGA TOUR event at the 2004 Masters, a record 50th consecutive start at Augusta National. His first victory at the Masters in 1958 is where 'Arnie's Army' was created, a time when television began to take an interest in golf and had the charismatic Palmer to bring the masses to the game.
 
Known universally in golf as 'The King,' Palmer joined the PGA TOUR in 1955 and won the Canadian Open that year for his first professional victory. He won the last of his 62 PGA TOUR titles in the 1973 Bob Hope Classic, and he last won a Champions Tour event in 1988 at the Crestar Classic. He's fourth on the PGA TOUR victory list with 62, won 10 times on the 50-and-over tour -- including five majors -- and also won the 1954 U.S. Amateur.
 
Palmer did not play his first Champions Tour event this year until last month outside Baltimore. He continued to play the Administaff Small Business Classic because of a relationship with the company.
 
Palmer said he would play in some charity events 'but now there are no more thoughts of tournament golf.'
 
Palmer said he would spend more time with his other business pursuits.
 
'It isn't that I'm not busy,' Palmer said. 'I've got a lot to do. I'm going to concentrate on building golf courses now and really spend a lot of time doing that. I've got quite a few on the books ready to go. That's going to be my next major passion.'
 
Trevino grabbed Palmer's ball after the final hole and asked him to sign the ball and Palmer's glove.
 
'When he putted out, I grabbed the ball and I had the Sharpie in my back pocket and then while he had the Sharpie, I said sign that glove too,' Trevino said. 'We didn't take his shoes.'
 
Trevino knew early in the round that Palmer was having trouble playing.
 
'After the third hole he was ready to throw it in,' Trevino said. 'I said, `I'll get a cart, you don't have to play.' He said, `No I can't go. I can't leave, but please don't put a score down.''
 
Palmer said he finished the round because he owed it to his fans, a trait that followed Palmer throughout his Hall of Fame career.
 
'My toenails were aching,' Palmer said. 'I took a bunch of pills and I made it and I feel fine now. I'm still aching. I'm glad I did the 18 holes. I sat down a couple of times and I wasn't sure I'd get back up.'
 
Jay Haas shared the first round tournament lead but his thoughts were with Palmer.
 
'I think the fans have kept him going for a long time,' Haas said. 'We will certainly miss him. He's The King. You wish he could keep on going but all things must end.'
 
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.