QA with Arnold Palmer

By Erik PetersonMarch 23, 2010, 9:32 pm
arnold palmer

Arnold Palmer has 62 PGA Tour victories, including seven major championships. His golf course design business, Arnold Palmer Design, includes more than 250 original golf courses in 24 countries. In Sept. 2009 his company completed a wall-to-wall renovation of Bay Hill Golf Club in Orlando, Fla., host of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

How are course changes at Bay Hill coming along?
It’s coming along very, very well. We were concerned about the weather and the coolness but we’re going to have close to 80 degrees today so that wish is being taken care of and I’m thankful for that.

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How will the changes affect scoring for the tournament? Will we see a more difficult Bay Hill?
I’m not sure I can really give you a total on that, but I do think that the course will be better. Now, whether that means scoring will be better, I’m not so sure. In difference to what we’ve had over the years, the golf course is right there in front of you. You’re able to really see everything, including all the sand traps and all the greens, and we’ve added to the greens a little. We’ve put a new grass in the greens, we’ve done an awful lot of work, and to have it come out as well as it has, we’re extremely pleased with that. And with the warm weather now, things will start really turning for us.

Which holes will play most differently?
We have gone back to No. 4 will be a par 5 again, and No. 16 will be a par 5, and of course that will make par for the round 72. We think that will kind of add a little more interest, with the possibility of making eagles and birdies, and particularly coming in on the last three or four holes, it should be pretty exciting.

Which holes will be the key?
I think 16,17 and 18, certainly, but you can put 15 into that as well. There’s the possibility that we take the tee back across the road, which would make 15 a little longer and the green being rebuilt as it has with the run-off on the right side, that will make that hole pretty interesting.

What does it mean to you to have Bay Hill open to the general public?
We’re really not open to the general public. We are a resort, and, of course, if you’re staying in the hotel then you can play golf, and that is kind of the way that works. We have a lot of people come to play and they stay here and enjoy themselves very much.

Are you happy with Bay Hill’s place in the Orlando golf landscape?
We love it. And, of course, I think golfers do, too. It’s obvious by the number of people that come and enjoy the golf course. It’s fun for our members. It’s fun for the hotel guests. And, of course, I’m getting a very positive reaction from the people who are coming though and staying in the hotel and playing the golf course.

How much golf do you play these days?
I play, but not very often any more. My game has really kind of gone away. I guess it comes with my age, but it’s fun. It’s fun to go out on occasion and be able to play the golf course and play with my friends, and that’s about all the golf I play anymore.

How often are you able to shoot your age?
As I get older and older that becomes a little easier. I always thought it would be very easy, but I can assure you it’s not.

How old were you when you first shot your age?
I think it was in a practice round when I was 65, but officially I shot 66 on my 66th birthday in a tournament in Washington on the Senior Tour.

I understand you’ve been working more closely with your grandson, Sam, lately as he makes the transition into the PGA Tour. What sort of Tour life advice have you given him?
I’m just trying to bring him up to speed on what to expect by playing the Tour and how to treat it, and he’s done very well. I’m very proud of Sam and his golf and, of course, we’ll look forward to increasing his role as a Tour player.

Is he going to play your event?
He is. He will be one of my sponsor’s exemptions.

I might get in trouble for mentioning this, but with Sam’s T-17 finish at the Honda Classic he earned $68,000, which is more than you earned in any single event during your career. I’m curious to know if you’re going to send him a bill for your instruction to balance that out a little bit.
Well, actually I may charge him, but I haven’t decided on that yet. (Laughs) But, if he keeps making money the way he is, instead of my sponsoring him, he’ll be sponsoring me.
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Rahm (62) takes early lead at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

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The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."