Memorable API week awaits without Arnie at Bay Hill

By Doug FergusonMarch 10, 2017, 8:08 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - A bottle of Musk Monsieur - the cologne that announced Arnold Palmer was near - is still on his desk at Bay Hill.

Next to it, a plastic cup holds pens Palmer used to sign autographs, too many to count. Even when his health kept him from hitting a ceremonial tee shot at the Masters, he would spend as many as three hours a day carefully putting golf's most famous (and legible) signature on whatever his army of fans sent him.

For the most part, everything was just as Palmer left it when he packed up from Bay Hill Club & Lodge last spring and headed home for the summer in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Only this time, he didn't return.

This year's Arnold Palmer Invitational, the first since the beloved tournament host died last September at age 87, is sure to bring strong emotions for some, stories for all and reminders of the King at just about every turn.

''You always heard his laugh coming out of this office. You always smelled his cologne coming up these stairs,'' said Cori Britt, the vice president of Arnold Palmer Enterprises who handled so many of his corporate relationships. ''Little things like that you miss on a day-to-day basis.''

This will be Orlando's chance to say goodbye - the public and private services in September were in Latrobe - though the buzz word for Bay Hill is ''celebration.''

The tournament commissioned a 13-foot bronze statue of Palmer, similar to the one at his alma mater Wake Forest, which was to be unveiled for the tournament volunteers on Saturday. It was positioned behind the first tee at Bay Hill.

Two stacks of plastic crates filled with trophies, medals and other items that had been in his Latrobe office will be placed around Bay Hill for spectators to see and remember.

An opening ceremony will be held Wednesday on the practice range for players to hit a ceremonial shot and sign the golf ball. And in perhaps the most touching reminder of his presence, Palmer's cart will be stationed behind the 16th tee - his favorite viewing spot - with two bags of clubs on the back, just like always.

''It's a reminder that he's still with us,'' tournament director Marci Baker said. ''The players will be able to see that he's still there.''

Still to be determined is how to handle the finish. For so many years, Palmer would head out to the 18th green to watch the conclusion, and a handshake from the King was as valuable as the prize money or the silver sword that goes to the winner.

Among the options are for the defending champion, the family or even this year's tournaments hosts to do the honor. Curtis Strange, Peter Jacobsen, Graeme McDowell, Annika Sorenstam and former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge have been asked to serve as hosts.

''We'll be taking some of the Arnie's responsibilities for the week and representing him, which is impossible to do,'' McDowell said. ''How are you supposed to do that? It's impossible to fill those shoes. It's a massive void.''

Tiger Woods, an eight-time winner, will not play this year because he says his back needs more rest and treatment.

Some players, such as Robert Damron, have gone on Twitter to single out those who have not signed up for the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year, even though early commitments have come from 14 of the top 25 in the world, including four of the top six.

Tournament organizers are more interested in who's playing rather than who couldn't come. They're more interested in the future.

''You play this year and then never play again? I have as much an issue with that,'' Paul Casey said. ''I want to see a legacy.''

Palmer once joked in 2013 that he would break Rory McIlroy's arm if he didn't play. McIlroy showed up two years later and was treated to a meal and has been back ever since. It was particularly important last year because of Palmer's health.

''I played the last couple of years because I knew it might be the last time he would be there,'' McIlroy said. ''Obviously, he's passed and you want it to be a great tournament, a great memory. But look, there's going to be guys who miss it for personal reasons and scheduling reasons, and that's understandable. ... I just hope they're not vilified.''

Bay Hill always will be linked to Palmer. It was in 1965, the same year that Walt Disney announced he was buying 27,000 acres to build a theme park in Orlando, that Palmer played an exhibition at Bay Hill. He loved it so much that he set out to buy it. Palmer took full ownership in 1975, and his tournament moved there in 1979.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.