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Palmer Discusses Cuts and Controversy

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The King held court Wednesday at his home course, the Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla.
 
On Arnold Palmer's mind - Tiger Woods' 'slump,' the lingering effects of the ERC II driver controversy, the record scoring this year and the possibility of making the cut in this week's Bay Hill Invitational, which Palmer serves as host.
 
On the fact that Tiger hasn't won a PGA Tour event in his last eight starts, Palmer said: 'I had slumps. Did it bother me? At first. It bothered me that the media said that I was in a slump. I felt like I was still playing pretty good golf, and I'm sure Tiger feels the same way.
 
'Compared with what he's done, Tiger's in a slump and I agree with (the media), but he may win the next six tournaments he plays, too.
 
'I think it's good for the game. I don't think it's hurting Tiger that much that he has not won. I think his confidence level will probably come up and he will win. Of course, you know, if he stands in the food line, I'll help him.'
 
On the prospects of someone setting a new scoring record this week, Palmer responded with a laugh: 'If they shoot 29-under-par things are going to be changed next year. I can promise you that.'
 
On why we've already seen the 72-hole aggregate and relation-to-par records broken; as well as the 90-hole scoring record topped, Palmer, a course architect, replied: 'We talk about equipment and we talk about all of the things that are making the scoring better, and I can tell you that you walk out on the golf course - and at any golf course we play today, the conditions are absolutely perfect. You couldn't ask for better playing conditions.'
 
Of course, on everyone's mind were Palmer's thoughts on the ERC II driver, which Palmer endorsed despite the fact that the United States Golf Association declared it illegal.
 
'I can honestly say right now that I think I was right and I still think I'm right,' said Palmer. 'Having the Benedict Arnold signs and the traitor signs - that kind of hurt me a little, but I've gotten over that.
 
'Now, you can fault me for saying that this club can't be used in competition, and I agree with you, it can't and it shouldn't be. But to say that it's cheating a guy to go out and hit a club that lets him enjoy the game a little bit more, I think that's a little farfetched. I think that's carrying it a little too far.'
 
Finally, Palmer, who shot his age, 71, at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, discussed his chances of making the cut this week.
 
'That would be a victory for me,' said Palmer, whose last cut made on the PGA Tour came in 1993. 'And the same thing is true at Augusta, because, you know, it's been a long time since I've made the cut in a PGA Tour event. That is probably going to drive me off, not doing that.
 
'So, my goal is to make the cut and have fun doing it. But I'm not going to clutter the field. I'm not going to show up very often playing in regular tour events. I don't want to take the spot of a younger player.'
 
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