Notes The King Saw Tigers Magic Chip Coming

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Arnold Palmer was watching the final round of the Masters from his Florida home at Bay Hill when Tiger Woods, clinging to a one-shot lead over Chris DiMarco, went long on the par-3 16th and looked as though he would be lucky to get par.
 
``There's a good chance he doesn't get this inside DiMarco's ball,'' CBS Sports analyst Lanny Wadkins said.
 
The King must have been smiling.

He had seen it all -- and heard it all -- four decades earlier.
 
``I was sitting in my living room describing it to my wife,'' Palmer said. ``I told her I had been in the same position.''
 
The year was 1962, and there were a few differences.
 
Instead of leading, Palmer was three shots behind Dow Finsterwald and two behind Gary Player when he went over the green on the 16th.
 
``Mine was a little higher,'' Palmer said. ``If you're looking from front to back, I was considerably right of where Tiger was. (Jimmy) Demaret was up on the tower and I could hear him talking. He was being dramatic. I heard him say, 'If Palmer gets this up and down, it will be a miracle. It's really difficult, the green is really fast' -- all those adjectives. I wanted to look up and tell him, 'Hold it for a minute.'
 
``I pitched it and it rolled down, much the same as Tiger's did,'' Palmer said. ``It didn't have the same break, but the pin was almost in an identical position. And I won the tournament.''
 
Verne Lundquist made the call for CBS when Woods chipped in.
 
``Oh, wow!'' he said. ``In your life, you have ever seen anything like that?''
 
Well, anyone watching in 1962 probably did.
 
Then again, Palmer's ball did not hang on the edge of the cup for two full seconds, adding to the drama of the shot. And while Woods and Palmer won the Masters in a playoff, the ending was quite a contrast.
 
Equipped with a two-shot lead, Woods bogeyed the last two holes and beat DiMarco in sudden death with a 15-foot birdie on the first extra hole.
 
Palmer, still two shots behind after his chip-in, hit an 8-iron to 15 feet for birdie at No. 17 and got into a three-way playoff when Finsterwald dropped a shot on the 17th. Palmer shot 68 in the 18-hole playoff Monday to beat Player (71) and Finsterwald (77).
 
CHANGES TO THE OLD COURSE
The Road Hole bunker on the 17th at St. Andrews will be slightly wider for the British Open. That should make it easier for balls to catch the side and tumble in, although some believe the extra width will make it easier to get out of the bunker, ruining the most notorious bunker in golf.
 
``I completely disagree,'' Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson said. ``The Road Hole bunker has never been the same from one Open to the next. To say it has been ruined from what it was is completely false. I think that bunker has improved from what it was.''
 
The bunker fronts the green on the 455-yard hole and has vertical sides. David Duval took four shots to get out in the final round of 2000 British Open, tumbling to 11th place.
 
Along with the Road Hole bunker, the R&A has lengthened the Old Course by 164 yards to a distance of 7,279 yards by extending tee boxes on five holes. The par-5 14th now measures 618 yards, the longest for a British Open.
 
``We are restoring rather than changing the course,'' Dawson said. ``Modern equipment and the greater athleticism of the game's leading players has led to many of the Old Course hazards being taken out of play. We are not trying to change the character of the course, just trying to reinstate the challenges, decisions and hazards players had to contend with in the past.''
 
Tiger Woods won in 2000 at St. Andrews and did not hit into a bunker all week.
 
PRICE IS RIGHT
Nick Price won't have to worry about qualifying for the U.S. Open. The USGA said Tuesday the three-time major champion has accepted a special exemption.
 
The U.S. Open will be played June 16-19 at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. Without the exemption, Price would have had to finish in the top 50 after the Memorial to avoid qualifying. He currently is No. 72.
 
Price, 48, earlier this year was presented the Bob Jones Award by the USGA in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
 
THE ROAD MORE TRAVELED
Ernie Els is spending his second week in China this week at the BMW Asian Open, and the South African is starting to sense criticism for his global travels.
 
He changed his schedule this spring, adding the Qatar Masters the week after the Dubai Desert Classic (he won them both) before returning to the PGA Tour to play the Bay Hill Invitational and The Players Championship going into the Masters. Els said a bout with the flu might have contributed to his swing getting out sync at Augusta National.
 
He finished 47 at the Masters at 10-over 298.
 
``I guess there is a good argument on that, and it's easy to blame it on the schedule,'' he said. ``It seems like especially in America, the journalists have been playing a lot on that. But I've done what I am doing for 12 years now, and my record is not too bad. We can sit and argue about this for hours, and I will listen to what you have to say and I will tell you what I am saying. So that is that.''
 
Els' schedule leading to the U.S. Open is busy, but manageable in a private jet. He plans to take next week off, then play the Byron Nelson Championship, a week off, the BMW Championship in England, a week off, then the Memorial, Booz Allen Classic and the U.S. Open.
 
DIVOTS
David Duval's wife, Susie, gave birth to the couple's first child on April 21. Brayden Brent Duval was 21 inches long and weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces. Mother and son were both healthy and already home in Denver. ... A victory this week by Vijay Singh will make him the first player since Johnny Miller in 1975 to defend PGA Tour titles in consecutive weeks. ... Tiger Woods is the only player in the top 10 in driving distance who has won on tour this year.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Annika Sorenstam has taken five weeks off from the LPGA Tour only one other time in the last 10 years. That was last fall, and she won the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic in Tulsa, Okla., by five shots.
 
FINAL WORD
``I think we will see a lot of him this year, without question. He's strong, he's playing good. He's right where he wants to be.'' -- Arnold Palmer, on Tiger Woods.
 
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