Golf Talk Live - Arnold Palmer Transcript Segment 1
WHEN HE WAS 30, HE WAS WINNING MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS AGAINST YOUNG CHILDREN. NOW THAT HE'S 70, HE STILL OUT-DRIVES THE KIDS. AND SOMETIMES TO AMUSE HIMSELF, HE LETS ONE OF THEM WIN A SKIN.
VISIT WITH ARNOLD PALMER FOR A WHILE FOR HIS PAL, GARY PLAYER, DROPS BY TO WREAK HAVOC ON THE PROCEEDINGS ON GOLF TALK LIVE.
IT BEGAN AS A FAINT RUMBLE.
LIKE A SMALL ROCKSLIDE IN THE ALLEGHENY MOUNTAINS OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA WHERE HE WAS BORN, HE WON THE U.S. AMATEUR, AND MET AND MARRIED WINNIE IN 1954.
HE HAD NO MONEY, AND THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE HE LOVED ENOUGH TO TRY.
BUT ARNOLD PALMER HAD DREAMS. AND HE BEGAN TO MAKE THEM COME TRUE.
PALMER LEARNED WHAT LITTLE HE DIDN'T ALREADY KNOW ABOUT WINNING AND WINNING ON TOUR. HE TESTED THE COMPETITION AND ADAPTED TO THE DEMANDS OF EACH NEW COURSE AS HE AND THE TOUR CHASED THE WARM SUN AROUND THE COUNTRY.
THE WINS MULTIPLIED, AND MONEY AND ENDORSEMENTS RUSHED IN
THERE WAS A CHISELED LOOK TO HIS FACE AND BODY AS THOUGH HE HAD BEEN CARVED FROM THOSE MOUNTAINS BACK HOME.
AND AS WE GREW TO KNOW HIM, WE SETTLED ON HIS BASIC DECENCY, WIN OR LOSE, AS THE FOUNDATION OF HIS STRENGTH, AS THE SOURCE OF HIS APPEAL.
WE FELL IN LOVE WITH HIS STYLE, WITH HIS 'LET'S GO FOR IT TODAY' ATTITUDE 'AND IF WE BLOW IT THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW.'
THERE'S AN UNWAVERING SET OF VALUES, AN UNQUENCHABLE THIRST TO WIN, A CLEAR TRAIL FOR US TO FOLLOW.
AND THERE'S A FRIEND WHO WANTS ONLY TO BREAK YOUR HEART AND YOUR WALLET WITH THE MAGNIFICENCE OF HIS GAME.
WELCOME TO GOLF TALK LIVE AS THIS NIGHT AND THIS GUEST MARK THE BEGINNING OF THE SIXTH YEAR OF THE GOLF CHANNEL.
I'M PETER KESSLER AND OUR GUEST, THE MOST CELEBRATED PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME, ARNOLD PALMER.
I'M SO GLAD TO SEE YOU, ARNOLD.
AND I APOLOGIZE FOR NOT ACCEPTING YOUR INVITATION TO COME OVER AND LOSE ALL MY MONEY OVER AT BAYHILL.
OH, IT'S OPEN.
I APPRECIATE THAT. I'M GONNA WAIT TILL YOU'RE 80 AND THEN I THINK I'LL BE READY.
OH NO, WE'D - WE'D DO IT BEFORE THAT.
ARNOLD, I'M SO SORRY ABOUT WINNIE. ALL OF US ARE.
AND I THINK WE WANT TO KNOW THAT YOU'RE DOING OKAY AND THAT YOU'RE GONNA BE OKAY.
(ARNOLD GESTURES BUT SAYS NOTHING)
REMEMBER WHEN SHE USED TO COME TO THE SHOW AND SHE FOUND US SO FASCINATING THAT SHE'D NEVER PAID ATTENTION TO ANYTHING WE EVER DID.
SHE WOULD READ A BOOK. SHE WOULD WRITE A NOTE. SHE WOULD CONDUCT BUSINESS. SHE WOULD KNIT. AND AT THE END OF THE SHOW, SHE WOULD COME AND COLLECT YOU.
AND SHE'D BE MAD AT ME.
(ARNOLD POINTS TO HIMSELF BUT SAYS NOTHING)
THE FIRST TIME I WAS AT YOUR HOME, THERE WAS A JAR WITH A RED LIQUID IN IT AND THE LABEL SAID 'MUDDLE MIX'. AND WINNIE POURED SOME OF THAT INTO A GLASS WITH SOME OTHER LIQUID.
AND I HAVEN'T BEEN THE SAME SINCE, AND THAT WAS ALMOST 6 YEARS AGO. WAS ANYTHING IN THAT LEGAL?
EVERYTHING WAS. AND IT'S A . IT'S A POTION THAT IS VERY GOOD AND KEEPS YOU YOUNG. NOW YOU MIGHT TRY IT SOME MORE, PETER.
DID YOU BRING IT WITH YOU?
NO, NO, NO, NO. I DIDN'T MEAN THAT UH - WELL, YOU MIGHT.
HOW DID SHE PUT UP WITH YOU?
THAT'S AMAZING. UH .
I, YOU KNOW, WAS . EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED UH SHE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH.
THERE WAS SO MUCH COMMOTION AROUND YOU ALWAYS. BUT YET THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT WINNIE THAT LET HER HANDLE ALL OF THAT IN STRIDE WITHOUT COMMOTION AND MAGNIFICENTLY. WHAT WAS IT?
WELL SHE - SHE KEPT HER COOL. SHE UH . (WIPES TEARS FROM EYES)
SHE UH KNEW ME. AND SHE KNEW HOW TO HANDLE ME. AND THAT WAS IT.
SHE HAD AN AWFULLY FULL LIFE WITH VERY LITTLE REGRETS, DIDN'T SHE?
WELL, WE HAD A GREAT LIFE. AND UH, PART OF THAT WAS THAT THE THINGS THAT WE DID UH .
WE WERE OPPOSITES TO A DEGREE. UH, SHE WAS NOT A GOLFER REALLY. SHE ENJOYED WATCHING AND SHE ENJOYED SEEING THE GAME. AND THERE WERE A LOT OF THINGS.
SHE DID A LOT OF THINGS THAT I DID NOT DO. SHE READ A LOT. UH, I READ SPARINGLY,
OBVIOUSLY. AND DON'T LAUGH.
UH, AND SHE TOOK CARE OF EVERYTHING FOR ME. SHE UH, SHE KNEW THE RIGHT TIMES AND THE RIGHT PLACES. AND SHE KNEW WHAT TO SAY AT THE RIGHT TIME. UH .
SO I . AFTER 45 YEARS, YOU GET TO BE DEPENDING ON THAT. YOU KNOW, YOU SORT OF GO ALONG WITH IT. AND .
AND IT WAS GREAT. UH .
AND TODAY, IT'S A LITTLE EMPTY OUT THERE. BUT IT'S GETTING BETTER AS TIME GOES ON. AND UH, SHE WOULDN'T WANT IT TO BE ANY OTHER WAY. UH .
GET ON WITH IT.
SEEMS LIKE ONE THING THAT'S GOING PARTICULARLY WELL LATELY IS YOUR GOLF GAME SEEMS A LITTLE BIT BETTER.
WELL (SIGH) . YES. AND - AND SHE WOULD SAY 'IT'S ABOUT TIME.' (CHUCKLE)
UH, FORGET THE YEARS AND ALL THAT STUFF. UH, IT'S STILL VERY IMPORTANT. AND SHE KNEW THAT TOO. AND UH,
I FEEL BETTER ABOUT IT. I FEEL UH, MAYBE THAT I'M . AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN AND I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH I'M GONNA PLAY. BUT UH,
IT'S CERTAINLY BETTER. UM, I'M HITTING THE BALL . I GOT INTO A RHYTHM, A TIGER WOODS RHYTHM, HOW'S THAT?
THAT'S A GOOD RHYTHM. I THINK HE STOLE IT FROM YOU.
AND - AND, OF COURSE, I COULD - I COULD DO A UH - A UH GOLF ACADEMY FOR YOU RIGHT NOW AND . BUT SERIOUSLY UH,
I - IN THE LAST, OH, MONTH OR TWO, I'VE BEEN HITTING SOME BALLS AND . AND I FEEL LIKE UH - AND I WATCH TIGER, AS A MATTER OF FACT.
AND . AND UH, MAYBE IT'S BROUGHT BACK SOME OLD FEELINGS ABOUT MY GOLF GAME THAT CERTAINLY ISN'T GONNA THREATEN HIM
BUT MIGHT THREATEN SOME OF THOSE OLD GUYS OUT THERE IN THE TOUR A LITTLE BIT, I HOPE. BUT GETTING THE CLUB BACK AND GETTING IT UP THERE AND THEN GOING AHEAD AND RELEASING IT.
I MARVEL AT TIGER WOODS' ABILITY TO RELEASE THE CLUB THROUGH THE BALL. I DON'T - I HAVE NOT SEEN A PLAYER .
MAYBE NICKLAUS, UH, MAYBE PLAYER A LITTLE BIT, BUT I'M NOT SURE THAT I'VE EVER SEEN ANYONE RELEASE THE CLUB THROUGH THE BALL WITH THE CLUBHEAD SPEED THAT TIGER DOES.
AND IT'S FREE. IT'S FLOWING. AND OF COURSE, IF HE HAS A SECRET UH, IT'S HIS ABILITY TO MENTALLY HANDLE IT, BUT AS WELL, TO GET THAT CLUB THROUGH THE BALL ON-LINE AS FAST AS HE DOES.
NOW WINNIE KNEW THAT GOLF WAS GONNA BE THERAPY FOR YOU. GOLF HAS ALWAYS BEEN WHAT YOU TURNED TO. WHAT INSTRUCTIONS DID SHE GIVE YOU ABOUT PLAYING GOLF? WHAT DID SHE TELL YOU TO DO?
WELL, THERAPY WAS MAKING ENOUGH MONEY TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE UH, PETER (CHUCKLE). I MEAN, SHE KNEW WE NEEDED TO DO THAT. AND UH,
OH, WE HAD A GOOD TIME DOING THAT. AND ... AND FROM THE BEGINNING UH, IT WAS TOUGH. IT WAS - IT WAS . YOU KNOW .
GOLLY, WE USED TO SIT AROUND AND WATCH THE GUYS TODAY PLAYING GOLF AND - ON THE TOUR AND SEE THESE MILLION DOLLAR FIRST PRIZES AND ALL THAT STUFF.
AND WE USED TO LAUGH UH OVER A COCKTAIL OR UH JUST IN THE EVENING TALKING ABOUT THE GAME. AND WHEN UH I WAS WINNING TOURNAMENTS IN THE EARLY DAYS AND I WAS .
IF EVERYTHING WENT WELL AND I WON 2 THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR WINNING THE TOURNAMENT, UH, THAT WAS GREAT. BUT IF I FINISHED FOURTEENTH, I WON A HUNDRED DOLLARS. AND FIFTEENTH WAS THE LAST MONEY PLACE.
WE FELT LIKE WE WERE IN THE MONEY AND IT WASN'T BAD. UH, AND WE . WE DID ENJOY THAT. WE USED TO SIT AND JUST THINK ABOUT
MY GOODNESS UH, YOU KNOW, THERE WERE A 154 PLAYERS PLAYING FOR UH .
15 MONEY PLACES IN THOSE DAYS. FIRST PLACE WAS MAYBE 2 THOUSAND DOLLARS AND LAST PLACE WAS FIFTEENTH, MAYBE A HUNDRED DOLLARS.
NOW I KNOW THAT WE'VE HAD SOME INFLATION. AND I KNOW THAT THE TOUR HAS MADE SOME GREAT STRIDES. BUT THAT'S PRETTY UNBELIEVABLE WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT.
IN 1960, YOU WON THE SAME NUMBER OF GOLF TOURNAMENTS THAT TIGER WON LAST YEAR. YOU WON 8 PGA TOUR EVENTS AND 2 MAJORS TO HIS 1 MAJOR.
HE WON ALMOST 7 MILLION DOLLARS LAST YEAR, WHICH WAS MORE THAN JACK WON IN HIS WHOLE CAREER, AGAINST YOUR 75 THOUSAND IN 1960 FOR THOSE 8 VICTORIES.
WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SAY JACK WON IN HIS WHOLE CAREER?
BECAUSE I WAS JUST TRYING TO PUT THE 2 OF YOU IN A CATEGORY WHERE TIGER WOULD .
WELL, IT WAS A HELL OF A LOT MORE THAN I WON IN MY WHOLE CAREER.
I DIDN'T - I WASN'T THE ONE WHO SAID THAT. YOU SAID THAT.
NO, YOU SAID IT. (LAUGH)
I'M GETTING OUT OF THIS ONE. I'M GETTING OUT OF HERE. WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.
Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers
CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.
Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.
While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.
“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”
Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.
“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”
Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close
CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.
McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.
“I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”
The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.
“There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”
He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.
“I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”
Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence
CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.
Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.
Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.
It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.
“If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”
Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.
“It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”
Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection
CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.
Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.
Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.
“It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”
Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.
“I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”
Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.
“If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”