A Trip Down Memory Lane


USGAFAR HILLS, N.J. -- Having a new addition to the USGA Museum dedicated to him on Tuesday brought back memories of Walter Hagen, Dwight Eisenhower and Bobby Jones for Arnold Palmer.
Not to mention a question about Tiger Woods and his surgically repaired left knee.
Palmer had a similar knee operation about 20 years ago, and he was playing golf again in less than two months.
So with the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego a week away, Palmer believes Woods should be good to go following his April 15 surgery.
I havent had really any problem with it since, Palmer said of his knee during a news conference before The Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History was officially opened.
I think that, as far as hes concerned, he is physically so fit that I would think his condition will allow him to get back into it, the 78-year-old Palmer said of Woods. I dont see theres any real reason why it should prevent him from doing anything he wants to do.
Palmer was rarely injured in his career, a remarkable feat in that he never seemed to hold back with his swing.
During the dedication ceremony, former LPGA star and current television analyst Dottie Pepper noted that she has a book written by Palmer called: Hit It Hard.
Palmer said he prevented injuries by exercising and staying in good shape.
I cant say that I didnt have some injuries, Palmer said. I had what I thought was a hip problem. It became kind of ugly in 1969, when I had to withdraw from the PGA Championship. I did everything I could to find out what it was and how to correct it, and actually never did.
It was the only major Palmer missed during his career.
It was also the only negative note on a bright, sunny day that belonged to Palmer, the man whose go-for-broke style created a golfing boom in the 1960s.
The 16,000-square-foot addition to the museum features 5,000 square feet of galleries, a research room and state of the art storage areas for the museums 42,000 artifacts, 20,000 library volumes, more than a half-million photographs and several thousand hours of film.
This is a major championship for me, said Palmer, who won the 1960 U.S. Open, two British Opens and four Masters titles.
Palmer toured the museum and recalled many of the people who influenced his life. He noted that when he won the British Open at Royal Birkdale, the first person who telephoned him was golfing legend Walter Hagen.
And the fact that I was a pallbearer in his funeral, not many people know that, Palmer said.
Palmer was humble about his legacy to golf.
Well, its difficult for me to answer, he said. As Ive heard said by other people before me, the game of golf has been has just been an unbelievable experience and life for me. I just hope that when I leave, I leave it better than I found it.
Surprisingly, Palmer downplayed the idea that his rivalry with Jack Nicklaus made him a better golfer.
I think the road to success is the competitor in most people, he said. You can be a great athlete and not a competitor, and you wont do very well. If you have the competitive spirit along with the athletic talent, then youve got the thing that will make it that much (better).

Related Links:
  • USGA Museum Fact Sheet
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