Palmer still reigns at Bay Hill

By Doug FergusonMarch 25, 2010, 4:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Fans entering the Arnold Palmer Invitational walk through a tent filled with moments and memories of the King, from the winners of his Bay Hill tournament to the tournaments he won in a career that made him one of golf’s most enduring figures.

Five players sat on bar stools late Wednesday evening during a chat with sponsors, all sharing stories of when they first met Palmer.

Kevin Stadler recalls being a 10-year-old in awe of meeting this larger-than-life figure. He used to come to Bay Hill with his father, former Masters champion Craig Stadler.

Daniel Chopra is a member at Bay Hill. He remembers first joining the club, seeing Palmer for the first time, shocked that Palmer knew who he was and that Palmer would walk over to introduce him.

“I haven’t met a lot of royalty,” Chopra said. “But that’s what it felt like.”

The Arnold Palmer Invitational gets under way Thursday with a strong field – Steve Stricker, Ernie Els and Jim Furyk among 11 of the 13 winners on the PGA Tour this year. That list doesn’t even include Phil Mickelson, a past winner.

Most of them put Bay Hill on the schedule because of Palmer, who owns Bay Hill.

Missing is the figurative owner – Tiger Woods.

It will be the first time that Woods has missed the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the only regular PGA Tour event he had never missed as a pro. Woods, who hasn’t played since a sex scandal over the Thanksgiving holiday, decided instead to make his return at the Masters.

“I will say we are disappointed Tiger isn’t here to play,” Palmer said.

That was all he had to say Wednesday, preferring to keep his opinions private at the moment. A reporter had asked it was time for the media to move on, and Palmer repeated those words.

But not for long.

When he gave a public apology before a worldwide television audience on Feb. 19, Woods said he needed to make his behavior “more respectful of the game” when he returned. Palmer then was asked how Woods might do that.

“I don’t think that’s my position to say,” he said. “I think it’s up to him to do and say whatever he feels he needs to do to redeem the situation, put it in the proper place. My opinion, as I said, I was going to keep to myself. But I suppose the best thing he could do would be open up and just let you guys shoot at him, and that’s just my thought.”

That chance will come April 5 at the Masters, as Augusta National sent out an interview schedule that featured Woods speaking at 2 p.m. on Monday of the Masters.

In the meantime, Palmer is more interested in his tournament, particularly his course.

Palmer had the entire crew from his design company revamp all the greens, replacing the sand base 18 inches deep, changes the strain of grass and altering the contours to allow for more hole locations.

The tee boxes were upgraded, and one was moved. The tournament tee for the 15th hole is now located on the other side of Bay Hill Boulevard. It measures 467 yards, eliminating the chance to cut the corner of the dogleg.

The scorecard certainly is different. After experimenting as a par 70 the last three years, Palmer thought it was better for Bay Hill to return as a par 72, restoring the fourth and 16th holes to par 5s to create more excitement at the end of the round.

“It’s not as quirky,” Stephen Ames said. “The changes are great. It’s more playable for everybody, not just the big hitters.”

The focus often shifts to the Masters this time of the year no matter what’s going on with Woods. Bay Hill always has been part of the critical buildup to the first major of the year.

But with Palmer as the host, and a course the players might find more agreeable, the tournament is getting its equal share of attention. That’s the way Stewart Cink is looking at it.

“I would like to drive the ball really well here and putt really well here and then I can go home saying, ‘I can’t wait to play in the Masters.’ And then I have to wait seven days, and that will probably go away,” he said.

“So I just want to play Bay Hill for Bay Hill, and try to have a great finish here, maybe win, and just get myself some confidence going into the Masters.”

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Highlights: Tiger birdies six of his first seven

By Nick MentaSeptember 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

Tiger Woods entered Saturday tied atop the board and wasted little time taking the outright lead at East Lake.

Woods moved clear of the field with this birdie at No. 1, whipping the Atlanta crowd into an early frenzy.

Following a 4-foot par save at the second, Woods moved ahead by two and reached 9 under par when he played this approach from 144 and sank this 8-footer for birdie at the third.

One hole later, Woods reached double digits at 10 under par when he poured in a bending 21-footer that just crept over the lip.

He made it four birdies in his first five holes when he bombed a 320-yard drive, wedged to 7 feet, and converted again.

He looked in danger of not capitalizing on his first crack at a par-5 after he came out of a fairway wood on his second shot, but a splash from the bunker and a make from 6 feet gave him his fifth circle in six holes.

He went Vintage Tiger at the seventh, playing this fairway bunker shot from 172 yards to 5 feet, setting up his sixth birdie in his first seven holes and advancing him to 13 under, five clear.

Iowa State Cyclones cheerleaders pause at a memorial in the Jacobson Building honoring Celia Barquin Arozamena, at Jack Trice Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Ames, Iowa. Getty Images

Iowa State honors Arozamena before football game

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 4:57 pm

AMES, Iowa - Iowa State honored slain golf star Celia Barquin Arozamena with an elaborate ceremony ahead of the Cyclones' game against Akron on Saturday.

Iowa State's band used a formation that spelled out Barquin's initials, and both teams wore a decal on their helmets in her memory.

A tribute to Barquin played on a video screen before a moment of silence, and fans were also asked to wear yellow, one of Iowa State's main colors and a nod to Barquin's Spanish roots. Most of the roughly 60,000 fans in attendance complied with yellow and with golf shirts on a chilly morning in central Iowa.

"I think it's fantastic. The tribute is amazing. But ultimately, it would have been perfect if she could have been here for her tribute, which was going to happen anyway." said Ed Hamilton, a retired police officer from nearby Ankeny, Iowa.

Barquin, the Cyclones' first conference champion in 25 years, was finishing up her degree at Iowa State and working toward her ultimate goal of becoming a professional golfer.

A memorial honoring Celia Barquin Arozamena at Jack Trice Stadium. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

Barquin competed in the U.S Women's Open earlier this summer, and coach Christie Martens said she was approaching "the pinnacle of her career."

"Iowa State fans are very loyal. We haven't had too many winning football teams over the years. Yet the fans turn out. There's a great loyalty here -- but it spills into other sports as well," said Iowa State fan Kent Hollrah of Denison, Iowa.

Collin Richards, also 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in Barquin's death. Police said Richards stabbed Barquin and left her body in a pond on the course, where it was found after other golfers noticed her abandoned bag.

Cyclones coach Matt Campbell also wore an Iowa State golf hat on the sideline to show solidarity with his colleagues.

"Be with all of us today Celia, your legacy will forever live on & we are forever grateful for your impact. Much love from your Cyclonitas," Iowa State linebacker Willie Harvey tweeted earlier Saturday, using the nickname that Barquin had for her teammates.

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Tiger, Bryson testing each other's golf balls ahead of Paris

By Rex HoggardSeptember 22, 2018, 4:21 pm

ATLANTA – The U.S. Ryder Cup team won’t arrive in Paris for next week’s matches until Monday, but one pairing already seems to be penciled into captain Jim Furyk’s lineup.

Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau have become regular practice-round partners, and when Furyk made both captain’s picks, it added to the notion that they would be paired during the team sessions in France. On Tuesday at East Lake, Woods and DeChambeau teed it up yet again.

Both Woods and DeChambeau play Bridgestone golf balls, although they use different models.

“The two are very similar, they are very numbers-oriented and that translates to their feel on the course, but they get fitted to two different golf balls,” said Adam Rehberg, Bridgestone Golf’s ball-fitting manager.

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Woods plays the company’s Tour B XS, which is softer and spins more, while DeChambeau plays the Tour B X, which is designed to take spin off shots.

Although DeChambeau played a version of the company’s golf ball that was close to what Woods now plays earlier in his career, he appeared to be preparing for a pairing next week during Tuesday’s practice round.

“I’ve seen some chipping of the other’s ball during practice rounds, getting used to it,” Rehberg said. “There’s been some sharing of golf balls internally between those guys. It’s almost like the worst kept secret in golf. It seems they are going to be paired up one way or another.”

The rules for the Ryder Cup were changed in 2006. They allow for foursomes teams to change golf balls between holes but not during a hole, which explains the duo’s interest in becoming comfortable with the other’s golf ball, particularly around the green and for chip shots.