Quips and quotes from the King at Bay Hill

By Will GrayMarch 18, 2015, 5:43 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – The list of those who can bring a PGA Tour media center to a stand-still on a Wednesday is a short one.

Arnold Palmer is not only on the list, but near the top.

Palmer strolled into the interview room at his Bay Hill Club & Lodge for what has become an annual State of the King. He answered questions for more than 30 minutes, with topics ranging from current course conditions at this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational to recollections of events six decades prior.

Palmer, as always, did not disappoint.

He took command while announcing anticipated design changes, with Bay Hill closing this summer to install new greens on all 18 holes of the championship course:

“I may change (No.) 16. That’s one hole that’s really the weak spot of the golf course right now. As you all know, it’s a very weak par 5 and I will lengthen it a little and maybe change the green a little.”

He lamented a recent fall at his home, but remained committed to making his annual appearance on the first tee at the Masters next month alongside Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player:

“I have a dislocated shoulder, and maybe this week or next week I’m going to start hitting the ball. I have every intention of hitting the first drive at Augusta.”

He shared details of a discussion with Tiger Woods, who called Friday to tell Palmer that he would not be playing in this week’s event:

“He simply said that he just couldn’t present himself ready to play when he isn’t, and he’s going to work on his game and get through it. I told him how much we would miss him, and how sorry we were that he wasn’t coming because his record at this golf course is the best record in golf on any single situation such as his.”

He began to tear up when asked to describe his favorite trait about grandson Sam Saunders, who lost in a playoff at the Puerto Rico Open two weeks ago:

“He’s finally maturing into a professional golfer and he will continue to mature and as time goes on, he will do better. I have every confidence in him to play the Tour, and play it well, and thus far he has indicated that that’s going to work.”

He recalled with vivid detail his first time in Orlando, a trip in 1948 with his Wake Forest teammates that nearly led to him transferring to Rollins College, located just up the road from Bay Hill:

“We all voted to stay at Rollins because we were playing the girls’ golf team, and for the next two days we played the girls’ golf team. That was a hell of a lot more fun than playing the men’s golf team.”

He offered sage advice on the game in general, building upon words of wisdom he once learned from his father Deacon:

“If you are really serious about playing golf and playing good golf, stick to the basic fundamentals. Sure, there’s going to be a little change here and a change there, but you don’t want to make them. You want to stick to the things that you started with, and you learned, and you know how to apply them.”

Throughout the interview, Palmer showed that his wit is as sharp as ever. At one point, the media center microphone was producing more static than words of a question being asked, an issue that Palmer quickly addressed:

“Put that mic away and talk to me.”

Problem solved.

And when his most recent phone call with Woods was described as an hour long, Palmer set the record straight, using language you can get away with when your name is on the tournament signage:

“Well first of all, whoever told you it was an hour is full of sh--.”

And while his shoulder remains on the mend, Palmer closed this latest session by once again flashing his trademark grin, offering a self-assessment at 85 years young.

“Well … I’ll be old one of these days.”

Long live the King.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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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.


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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.


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Finances


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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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