Arnie: Sharing personal stories of Palmer

By Jason CrookSeptember 10, 2014, 10:00 am

Golf Channel interviewed more than 100 people in making the "Arnie" documentary. Here are several interviewees who know Palmer in various capacities, sharing their favorite personal stories.

David Marr, son of Dave Marr, on Palmer as U.S. Presidents Cup captain: "One day, he felt like the team needed a little more bonding than had been going on. ... He told the bus driver to pull over at this sports bar. Tiger (Woods), Davis (Love), Fred Couples pile into this sports bar. There’re two or three people in the bar and see the U.S. Presidents Cup team piling in the door, and here comes Arnold in as well. They had this unbelievable half an hour of pingpong and pinball and just bonding. ... Arnold realized we’ve got to get back to the bus and this guy came over and stopped him for an autograph. He said ‘Sorry, no autographs; I’m not signing.’ If you know Arnold, that’s an unusual thing for him. Everyone piled back on the bus. Arnold gets on and says, 'You know what, I got to hit the bathroom, one quick sec.' He went back in and signed that autograph for that guy.”

Writer Dan Jenkins: "We thought Ken Venturi was what Arnold became. Venturi had won four tournaments on Tour his first year out. ... Jay Hebert, of all people, looked up at me and said, ‘Ken Venturi is not the next great player.’ I said, ‘He’s not? Who is?’ He said, ‘Arnold Palmer is.’ I asked why and he said 'Because the guy makes six birdies and six bogeys and one day he’s going to eliminate those bogeys,' and he did. Jay was right.”

Dana Wallace, server at Latrobe CC: “He’ll say ‘Are you OK?’ He always knows your name - he takes the time to know your name - he always asks how you’re doing and if there’s anything he can do for you.”

Zimbabwean Nick Price on Palmer helping him obtain permanent residence in the U.S.: “Arnold wrote me the most beautiful letter about vouching for my credibility to get my green card, so it wasn’t too difficult to get my green card when he wrote the letter.”

Writer Chris Rodell: "There was a story we were doing and one of the questions was about Gary Player bragging about his fitness regimen. I asked (Palmer), ‘Gary Player’s out there saying that he has this great fitness regimen; he doesn’t drink alcohol; he doesn’t eat bacon and he does all these push-ups.’ I saw Mr. Palmer rolling his eyes and I asked him, 'What is your fitness regimen, Mr. Palmer,' and he goes, 'Well I drink a hell of a lot of Ketel One Vodka.' He starts with that and then he gets back on track later and goes ‘But I think it’s important for people to have good exercise; Gary’s doing the right thing.’ It’s still gnawing at him in the middle of the next question; he interrupts me and he says, 'Oh, and Gary Player eats bacon when no one’s watching.’”

Meeting Arnie: Personal stories about the King

Click here for the full collection of 'Arnie' stories

Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench: "We were downtown in Minneapolis at a pairings party. Maybe we’d been over-served, but I wasn’t driving so that’s the best part about it. I’m sitting in the back (of the vehicle) with Arnold Palmer and all of a sudden woop, woop, woop, here comes the blue lights. These police officers come up and said, ‘Can we have … Arnold Palmer? Jesus Christ, it’s Arnold Palmer! Come and see.’ (The officer) says, ‘Where do you guys wanna go?’ and they got in front of us and we went. It was like Arnold Palmer had once again walked on water.”

Baseball announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson: "I remember Arnold had to go get some gum surgery up in Latrobe and he came back (to Bay Hill) and couldn’t swing the club 'cause of the stiches. We were on the 17th tee and he comes out in his golf cart and he’s got his putter with him. We have to wait, and we’re the last group of the day, so we watch him go to the 16th green. He wants to play so bad and he can’t. … That was one of the most indelible pictures that I can remember: Arnold Palmer by himself on the 16th green, late in the day. The man who made golf and he’s pissed because he can’t play."

Biographer Thomas Hauser on Palmer trying to win the 1962 Colonial: "He was reading a putt at a crucial moment in the tournament, and some little boy made some noise and Arnold stepped away and stopped. Then went back, addressed his putt again, and the boy started to make noise again. The mother put her hand over the son’s mouth to shut him up, and Arnold stepped back again, looked over, went over, and actually patted the boy on the head and said, ‘Hey, don’t choke him; it’s not that important.’ That was Arnold."

Gabe Monzo, executive director at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pa.: "We’re standing on No. 2 (at Latrobe CC). Short hole, about 90 yards long. Needless to say, I hit it about 50 yards. I had a pitching wedge in my hand and I looked up and Mr. Palmer is standing behind the green. It took me five shots to get to that green from 50 yards out. I walked up to the green and he put his around around me and says, ‘Gabe, I’m real proud of you.’ I said, ‘Why is that, Mr. Palmer?’ He says, ‘Because I know you’re not golfing; you must be working hard.’”

Arnold Palmer Invitational tournament director Scott Wellman: "I walked him to his car. He got in his car, he turned on the engine, and another gentleman came up to the car, knocked on the window with his young son and said, ‘I’m sorry, Mr. Palmer, but could you give my son an autograph?’ Arnold turns the car off, signs the autograph, and the gentleman said, ‘Thank you so much, you’ll never know how much this means to me.’ And Arnold looked at him in all sincerity and said, ‘No, sir, thank you for asking me for the autograph.’ That’s Arnold Palmer.”

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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.'"

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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.