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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Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x