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Golf Talk Live - Robert Damron Transcript Segment 1

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WHAT'S IT LIKE GROWING UP AROUND THE KING ARNOLD PALMER? ROBERT DAMRON HAS MORE THAN A FEW STORIES TO SHARE. MEET THE WINNER OF THE VERIZON BYRON NELSON CLASSIC, ROBERT DAMRON, NEXT ON GOLF TALK LIVE.

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PETER KESSLER (MALE):
THE FOLLOWING IS AN ENCORE PRESENTATION OF GOLF TALK LIVE.

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RICH LERNER
ROBERT DAMRON DOESN'T SEEM TOO WALK WHEN HE PLAYS GOLF. IT'S MORE OF A BOUNCE OF THAT OF A KID WHO STUFFED HIS POCKETS WITH CANDY AND

HASN'T A CARE IN THE WORLD. TO BE SURE, ROBERT DAMRON'S LIVED A CHARMED GOLFERS LIFE. DO YOU KNOW ANYBODY WHO PLAYED GOLF WITH ARNOLD PALMER WHEN THEY WERE A YOUNGSTER? WHO'S FATHER COMPETED

AS A REGULAR MEMBER OF THE KING'S GROUP AT BAY HILL? ROBERT'S DAD, BILL, STRUCK IT RICH IN THE KENTUCKY COAL BUSINESS ABD RETIRED IN HIS EARLY 30'S. HE MOVED THE FAMILY TO FLORIDA AND

BOUGHT A HOME OFF THE 10TH HOLE AT THE COURSE THAT ARNOLD BUILT. BILL FELL IN LOVE WITH THE GAME AND HIS SONS FOLLOWED SUIT. NOT UNLIKE ARNOLD, BILL MADE A SUCCESS OF HIMSELF FROM A WORKING CLASS

BACKGROUND AND THE TWO, BILL AND ARNOLD, WITH A LOVE FOR GOLF AND COMPETITION BECAME FAST FRIENDS. BILL BEAT BALLS UNTIL ON THE RARE OCCASION, HE COULD ACTUALLY BEAT THE KING HIMSELF. HE WOULD ALSO WIN

THE INTENSELY COMPETITIVE CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP AT BAY HILL. YOUNG ROBERT, WHO HONED HIS SKILLS WITH HIS FATHER AND BROTHER IN THE LEGENDARY BAY HILL DAILY SHOOTOUT

TOOK NOTICE AND STILL TO THIS DAY, ONE OF HIS PROUDEST MOMENTS REMAINS, THE FIRST TIME HE BEAT HIS FATHER AT AGE 13.

AS A TEN YEAR OLD WATCHING THE PROS PARADE THROUGH HIS BACKYARD FOR THE BAY HILL INVITATIONAL, ROBERT KNEW WHAT HE WANTED TO DO AND STAYED CLOSE TO HOME TO PLAY

COLLEGIATELY AS A THREE TIME ALL AMERICA AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA IN ORLANDO. HE LEFT AFTER THREE YEARS TO PURSUE THE PROFESSIONAL DREAM WITH SEVERAL

TRIPS TO Q-SCHOOL, AND A STOP ON THE CANADIAN TOUR. BY 1997 HE HAD MADE THE SHOW AND BY MEMPHIS LOOKED LIKE HE BELONGED. HE LED AFTER 54 HOLES BEFORE FINISHING TWO BACK OF

SOME GUY NAMED NORMAN. IN FOUR YEARS PRIOR TO THE 2001 SEASON, DAMRON HAD MADE NEARLY TWO MILLION DOLLARS, BUT BILL DAMRON

TAUGHT HIS SON THAT YOU PLAY TO WIN AND ROBERT HAD YET TO DO THAT. THEN, MAY OF THIS YEAR AT THE HOME OF ANOTHER LEGEND, BYRON NELSON, ROBERT DAMRON OUTPLAYED THE BEST

IN THE WORLD, INCLUDING TIGER WOODS WHO'S BRILLIANT FINAL ROUND 63 WASN'T ENOUGH TO CATCH DAMRON. IN A THRILLING PLAY OFF AGAINST SCOTT VERPLANK, DAMRON ANSWERED EVERY CHALLENGE AND NO WHERE DID THEY

CHEER LOUDER THAN BACK AT HIS HOME CLUB. HOW DID ROBERT DAMRON, POCKETS NOW STUFFED WITH CANDY AND GOLD REACH THE PINNACLE OF HIS SPORT? IT'S HELPFUL TO KNOW THAT SO

COMPETITIVE WERE HIS FORMATIVE YEARS, HE STILL HASN'T WON THE CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP AT HIS BELOVED BAY HILL.

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AND GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO GOLF TALK LIVE. RICH LERNER, AND IT IS WITH GREAT PLEASURE WE INTRODUCE YOU TO ONE OF THE RISING STARS ON THE PGA TOUR, ROBERT DAMRON.

GOOD TO SEE YOU PAL.

ROBERT DAMRON
GOOD TO SEE YOU. THANKS RICH.

RICH LERNER
YOU'VE HAD QUITE A SPRING. YOU WIN YOUR FIRST TOURNAMENT. YOU GOT MARRIED. THAT'S PRETTY GOOD.

ROBERT DAMRON
IT'S BEEN A NICE LITTLE STRETCH OF LUCK I'VE HAD. YEAH.

RICH LERNER
I WOULD SAY IT'S A LITTLE BIT MORE THAN LUCK. THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF, OF SKILL INVOLVED.

ROBERT DAMRON
WELL, A FEW YEARS OF SETTING UP THIS LITTLE RUN OF LUCK WE CALL IT.

RICH LERNER
(LAUGHS)
HOW GOOD WERE THOSE GAMES AT BAY HILL AND, AND WHAT WERE THEY LIKE ON A DAILY BASIS?

ROBERT DAMRON
WELL, A LOT OF COMPETITION. YOU KNOW, THERE IS ALWAYS, AND, AND TO THIS DAY THERE STILL ARE PLAYERS IN THE BAY HILL SHOOTOUT THAT ARE BETTER THAN I AM.

WE'VE HAD NAMES LIKE GREG NORMAN, SCOTT HOCH, ARNOLD PALMER, DALE (?) FINSTROM (??), WELL PAYNE STEWART, CORY PAVIN, JUST TO NAME A FEW THAT I CAN THINK OF, FREQUENT THE SHOOT OUT, SO YOU KNOW, THEIR

YOU ALWAYS GOT YOUR HANDS FULL, SO

RICH LERNER
HOW, HOW DOES IT WORK? HOW DOES THE SHOOTOUT WORK?

ROBERT DAMRON
WELL, THERE'S A GUY NAMED LEE HAVER, WHO IS THE COMMISSIONER. THEY CALL HIM THE SHOOTOUT.

RICH LERNER
GOT TO HAVE A COMMISH

ROBERT DAMRON
OH YEAH. GOT TO HAVE SOMEBODY TO, TO KIND OF LAY DOWN THE LAW THERE.

RICH LERNER
SURE

ROBERT DAMRON
SO HE, YOU GIVE HIM YOUR MONEY, HE MAKES THE TEAMS, NO HANDICAPS. IT'S A,B,C,D PLAYERS, E PLAYERS IF YOU HAVE A FIVE SOME AND THEN YOU GO OUT AND YOU TEE IT UP AND, YOU KNOW, THEY,

THEY MAY PLAY AN ACKERGOOD (??) OF A FEW BALLS OR, OR SPLIT THE MONEY UP TO WHERE THE FIRST, SECOND, THIRD BEST BALL GET PAID BUT THE REAL MONEY, I DON'T KNOW IF I SHOULD SAY THIS

RICH LERNER
GO AHEAD

ROBERT DAMRON
IS UH... YOU KNOW THE SIDE ACTION, WHERE, YOU KNOW, YOU GRAB THOSE OTHER GUYS AND SAY HEY, YOU KNOW, I KNOW WE'RE PLAYING THE SHOOTOUT BUT, I WANT YOU FOR A HUNDRED BUCKS OR, OR

WHATEVER IT IS AND SO THERE'S ALWAYS COMPETITION. THERE'S ALWAYS REASON TO TRY HARD OUT THERE.

RICH LERNER
I'VE GOT A SNEAKING SUSPICION, NUMBER ONE, THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF CHATTER WHILE THE GAME IS GOING ON. YOU, YOU DON'T TURN TO A GUY AND SAY KEEP QUIET.

ROBERT DAMRON
NO NO NO

RICH LERNER
I, I, I THINK CHATTERS IN PLAY.

ROBERT DAMRON
YEAH IT'S DIFFERENT THAN ON TOUR.

RICH LERNER
(LAUGHING) IN THIS GAME.

ROBERT DAMRON
YEAH IT'S DIFFERENT THAN ON TOUR. IT'S DIFFERENT THAN ON TOUR. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU KNOW MY DAD WAS ALWAYS TOUGH ON ME WHEN I WAS YOUNG WITH THAT. HE COULD, IF, IF HE

AND I WERE, WERE PLAYING AGAINST EACH OTHER JUST FOR FUN, HE COULD ALWAYS SAY THE RIGHT THING TO MAKE ME GOOF UP

AT THE RIGHT TIME.

RICH LERNER
SURE

ROBERT DAMRON
YOU KNOW AND I THINK I'M A LITTLE TOUGHER NOW BECAUSE OF THAT.

RICH LERNER
I HAVE A FEELING ALSO THAT AT THE SHOOTOUT YOU RAN INTO A COUPLE OF GUYS OR MORE NORTH OF THE AGE OF 45

ROBERT DAMRON
OH, I KNOW

RICH LERNER
WHO COULD STRING 3 WOODS ABOUT 215 YARDS ON A LINE WHO COULD LONG PUTTER YOU TO DEATH AND

ROBERT DAMRON
MHMM

RICH LERNER
WHO COULD UP AND DOWN YOU UNTIL YOU WERE BLUE IN THE FACE.

ROBERT DAMRON
OH

RICH LERNER
YOU SORT OF, THE KIND OF GUYS WHO RENDERED THAT IMPORTANT LESSON THAT THERE'S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO MAKE A GOOD SCORE IN THE GAME OF GOLF.

ROBERT DAMRON
WELL THERE'S NO QUESTION. YOU SEE GUYS WHO, I, I KNOW ONE GUY OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD, IN PARTICULAR, HIS NAME IS BOB HOFF, NEW YORK STATE SENIOR CHAMPION AND HE'S WELL INTO

HIS 70'S, AND, I MEAN THE GUY'S A GREAT PLAYER AND I'VE HEARD FROM HIM SINCE I WAS A KID, HEY, YOU KNOW, YOU GOT TO PLAY IN TOURNAMENTS. AS MANY TOURNAMENTS AS YOU CAN GET IN.

AND I WATCHED THIS GUY AND I'M LIKE YOU KNOW, HE SHOOTS HIS AGE WITH NO PROBLEM.

RICH LERNER
MHMM

ROBERT DAMRON
AND, A GREAT PLAYER AND I WATCH HIM AND I'M LIKE, YOU KNOW, HE, THIS GUY KNOWS WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT, AND

LIKE I SAID, YOU'VE GOT GUYS LIKE, YOU KNOW, DALE FINSTERWALD AND ARNOLD PALMER ALSO THAT, THAT YOU KIND OF ASK, YOU KNOW, HEY WHAT UH, YOU KNOW, WHAT DID YOU GUYS DO TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE? SO, I ALWAYS HAD
MY MOUTH SHUT AND MY EARS OPEN.

RICH LERNER
YOU, SOMEBODY ONCE SAID OF YOU THAT YOU WERE GROOMED FOR SUCCESS BECAUSE YOU WERE AROUND SO MANY OF THOSE GREAT NAMES FROM A VERY YOUNG AGE.

ROBERT DAMRON
MHMM

RICH LERNER
GUYS THAT YOU MENTIONED. FINSTERWALD, PALMER, NORMAN, HOCH, AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON, SO THAT BY THE TIME THAT YOU ARRIVED, YOU WERE NOT INTIMIDATED. IS THAT FAIR TO SAY?

ROBERT DAMRON
OH YEAH. VERY FAIR. I THINK BEING AROUND THOSE GUYS AT HOME MADE IT THAT MUCH EASIER TO, YOU KNOW, WHEN I SHOWED UP AT MY FIRST TOURNAMENT

TO NOT LOOK OVER AND GO, WOW, THERE'S, YOU KNOW, FRED COUPLES, OR THERE'S DAVIS LOVE, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. THEY'RE JUST, BECAUSE I KNEW A LOT OF THEM AND THEY'RE JUST GUYS LIKE ME AND YOU AND YOU KNOW, THEY'RE OUT TRYING TO DO THE SAME THING I AM, SO

I FELT VERY COMFORTABLE. JUST KIND OF AT HOME WHEN I, WHEN I FIRST GOT OUT ON TOUR.

RICH LERNER
HITCH A RIDE WHEN YOUR DAD, BILL, WAS GOING HEAD TO HEAD AGAINST ARNIE, JUST ON ANY GIVEN AFTERNOON? DID YOU GET A CHANCE TO WATCH SOME OF THOSE?

ROBERT DAMRON
I STILL DO. I'LL STILL GO OUT AND WATCH THOSE GUYS GO AT IT. THEY'RE FUN, YOU KNOW, THERE'S, LIKE YOU SAID, THERE'S
A LOT OF CHATTER GOING ON, BUT, MR. PALMER LOVES TO COMPETE. I'VE NEVER

SEEN ANYONE LOVE TO PLAY GOLF AS MUCH AS HE DOES. I MEAN HOW MANY YEARS HAS HE BEEN PLAYING NOW AND HE ISN'T SICK OF IT. YOU KNOW, I GET TIRED OF IT AFTER A MONTH ON THE ROAD SOMETIMES.

RICH LERNER
THAT, THAT'S THE AMAZING THING ABOUT ARNIE, IS, IS HE HAS SUCH A DEEP ROOTED LOVE FOR THE GAME THAT WILL NEVER GO AWAY. I CAN RECALL PULLING UP TO A

PARKING LOT AT A SENIOR EVENT MANY YEARS AGO AND MAYBE 20 CARS DOWN YOU COULDN'T MAKE OUT WHO IT WAS AND THERE WAS GUY AT HIS TRUNK, JUST LIKE ANY SATURDAY OR SUNDAY AMATEUR PLAYER AT THE LOCAL MUNI

PUTTING A CLUB IN THE TRUNK, PULLING ANOTHER ONE OUT.

ROBERT DAMRON
MHMM

RICH LERNER
A LITTLE FIDDLE AND WE PULLED CLOSER AND IT WAS ARNIE

ROBERT DAMRON
SURE

RICH LERNER
AND JUST A LITTLE SNAPSHOT OF WHAT A REGULAR GUY IS BUT HOW MUCH THIS GUY REALLY LOVES THE GAME.

ROBERT DAMRON
IT'S, IT, IT REALLY IS UNBELIEVABLE. HE, HE YOU KNOW HE NEVER RUNS AWAY FROM IT BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE APPROACHING HIM OR, YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY HE HASN'T PLAYED AS WELL AS HE'S USED TO IN THE LAST FEW YEARS

AND, AND HIS ENTHUSIASM DOESN'T
FLICKER AT ALL. IT'S, IT'S JUST AS STRONG AS IT EVER WAS.

RICH LERNER
ALRIGHT, SO YOU TEED IT UP WITH ARNIE FOR THE FIRST TIME AT 13. HOW OLD WERE YOU?

ROBERT DAMRON
IN THERE. 13.

14

RICH LERNER
14, 14 YEARS, YEARS OLD?

ROBERT DAMRON
IN THE SHOOT OUT. I, I

RICH LERNER
DO YOU RECALL AND, AND COULD YOU PULL, COULD YOU GET A CLUB BACK OR?

ROBERT DAMRON
NO, UH

RICH LERNER
COULD YOU BREATHE?

ROBERT DAMRON
NO. I REMEMBER, I REMEMBER, THIS HAS HAPPENED TO ME TWICE WHERE I WAS SO NERVOUS THAT I LOOK BACK DOWN AT THE BALL RIGHT BEFORE I PULLED THE TRIGGER AND I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING.

IT'S KIND OF WHITE, LIKE FUZZY WHITE. EVERYTHING, SO PURE INSTINCT THAT I EVEN LAID THE, LAID THE CLUB ON THE BALL. I, I HOOKED TWO ONTO THE DRIVING RANGE WHEN I FIRST

SAW BAY HILL.

RICH LERNER
WOW

ROBERT DAMRON
AND YOU KNOW, PLAYED OKAY AFTER THAT BUT IT TOOK A FEW HOLES TO CATCH MY BREATH.

RICH LERNER
HOW DID YOUR DAD KEEP YOU HUNGRY GIVEN THAT IN MANY CASES THE COUNTRY CLUB LIFE DOES NOT PRODUCE THE KIND OF DESIRE THAT ONE WOULD NEED TO SUCCEED AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL?

ROBERT DAMRON
WELL, I, I THINK A PARENT CAN ONLY SHOW YOU THE WAY, I THINK UNLESS I HAVE THE DESIRE TO DO IT IT'S JUST NOT GOING TO WORK OUT. THERE'S NO WAY I THINK THAT HE COULD HAVE INSTILLED

IT IN MY HAD I NOT BEEN WILLING TO DO IT ANYWAY, BUT, YOU KNOW, HE KEPT, HE, HE, IT WAS GREAT THAT WE MOVED TO BAY HILL AND, BECAUSE IT GAVE ME THE MEANS. I CAN HIT FROM MY MOM AND DAD'S BACKYARD, I CAN HIT 5 OR 6 IRON

ONTO THE BACK OF THE RANGE, SO IT'S RIGHT THERE FOR ME AND THAT WAS, THAT'S SOMETHING I (??) TO DO.

RICH LERNER
BUT YOU, YOU NEVER VIOLATED ANY OF THOSE RULES OUT THERE.

ROBERT DAMRON
NO, I WOULD NEVER DO THAT.

RICH LERNER
NOW, NOW, YOU WOULD NEVER, NEVER DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

ROBERT DAMRON
OF COURSE NOT.

RICH LERNER
WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A SHORT BREAK WITH ROBERT DAMRON AS OUR GUEST. WHEN WE COME BACK WE'RE GOING TO FIND OUT HOW THE DAMRON FAMILY MADE IT FROM KENTUCKY TO BAY HILL.

IT'S AN AMAZING STORY. WE'LL SHARE THAT WITH YOU WHEN WE COME BACK IN JUST A MOMENT.

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NEXT SEGMENT

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