Hogans Remark Spurs Groggy Arnie

By George WhiteApril 5, 2004, 4:00 pm
Arnold Palmer arrived in Augusta for the 1958 Masters totally exhausted. Two weeks before, he had won the St. Petersburg Open. One week before, he had to go to a Monday playoff before losing to Howie Johnson at the Azalea Open. He didnt pull into Augusta until the wee hours of Tuesday morning ' only to find that close pal Dow Finsterwald had arranged a game for Arnie that day.
 
Finsterwald and a very groggy Palmer teamed up to play Ben Hogan and Jackie Burke. Thanks to Finsterwalds brilliant play, the duo won $55 each. Arnold, as would be expected, could just barely find the energy to get around the hilly elevations of Augusta National.
 
An excerpt from Palmers autobiography, A Golfers Life, tells what happened next: Hogan said to Burke, loud enough for the nearby Palmer to hear, Tell me something, Jackie. How the hell did Palmer get an invitation to the Masters?
 
Palmer, though unseen, was furious. That really stung me, he said. And it stung him enough to go out and win the tournament.
 
Palmer opened the tournament with an under-par round of 70, followed by a 73 which placed him in a tie for sixth. Saturday he zoomed into a first-place tie with Sam Snead when Arnie recorded a 68.
 
Snead shot a 79 Sunday and was never a threat. However, several other players were whistling shots near the flags, and by the time he reached the 12th hole, Palmer was in a tight battle.
 
Heavy rains Saturday night had caused tournament officials to institute a local rule for the day: balls which plugged in the soft turf were to be lifted and replaced without penalty.
 
Palmer, playing the par-3 hole, found himself facing just such a situation. His shot found the steeply sloped area in back of the hole, plugging into the hill.
 
Palmer requested relief from the official on the hole ' but was denied. Palmer was noticeably angry. He dug out the ball with a swipe of his pitching wedge, chipped the ball onto the putting surface, and made a 5.
 
But he then replayed the ball as he felt the rules allowed. He dropped, chipped and sunk the putt for a 3.
 
Palmer would leave the hole for the officials to decide. On the very next hole he saw a green cart approaching, carrying the unmistakable figure of Bobby Jones. Arnies heart leaped to his throat, but he continued playing, hitting a beautifully arched 3-wood onto the green of the par-5 13th. He sunk the eagle putt from 25 feet, then carefully waited to see if Jones had a message for him. Jones didnt ' he was merely watching the action.
 
Palmer then parred No. 14. And on 15 he got the news ' the rules committee had decided to record his score as a 3 on No. 12 instead of a 5.
 
Instead of being tied for the lead, he now led by two shots. Arnie parred 16 and 17, then coaxed in a birdie at the 72nd hole for a score of 73. He had one-putted six greens. Now there was nothing he could do but wait for the 12 players still on the course.
 
Doug Ford and Fred Hawkins both made strong finishes, and as they stood on the final tee, Palmer was ahead by one shot. And both reached the green with good birdie chances ' each lying about 12 feet from the cup.
 
But both missed their putts, and the 28-year-old became the second-youngest golfer to win the trophy, following only a 25-year-old Byron Nelson. Nelsons age has since surpassed by both Seve Ballesteros and Tiger Woods.
 
An interesting sidelight is that Arnolds wife, the late Winnie Palmer, was entrusted with the task of making out the check for Palmers caddy, Nathaniel (Ironman) Avery. In the confusion of the victory celebration, she wrote the check for $1,400 ' she thought. But she mistakenly added one more zero, and the amount read $14,000. She was able to retrieve it before Avery left the premises. The $14,000 was more than Palmers first-place prize of $11,250.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.