Palmer Opens Door to Viewers

By Randall MellNovember 18, 2010, 10:11 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. – Arnold Palmer makes his entrance.

When he steps off the stairs of his condo at Bay Hill early in the morning, his 9-year-old yellow lab, Mulligan, at his feet, you can almost swear the clouds stop rolling to hold their position and birds cease their chirping.

Palmer’s still a commanding presence.

Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer won 62 times in his PGA Tour career. (Getty Images)
He’s still a phenom in the sense that at 81 his appeal hasn’t faded.

We saw it in the excitement he generated at the Administaff Small Business Classic’s pro-am last month in one of his rare tournament appearances these days.

We saw it in this year’s release of the Sports Q Scores, where Palmer was the highest-ranked golfer with a 39 rating, putting him ahead of Jack Nicklaus (36), Tiger Woods (30) and Phil Mickelson (24) on Marketing Evaluations’ annual “likability” rankings.

We’ll also get to see it in Golf Channel’s “12 Nights at the Academy,” a special instructional series that begins Nov. 29. Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Greg Norman are in the formidable lineup that features Palmer in the anchor spot in the series finale on Dec. 10.

On a spectacular winter Florida morning last week, Palmer recorded his appearance from his condo’s two-car garage, which is so much more than a garage. It’s also his work shop, a miniature version of the special warehouse he built at his Latrobe, Pa., home. There are at least 50 golf shoes stored here in Orlando, dozens of golf clubs in racks above his work bench and lined up against the walls.

“This is just a smattering,” Palmer says during a break in the TV shoot. “It’s all in Latrobe. The place there’s huge.”

Palmer estimates he has 10,000 clubs stored in Latrobe, though not all his treasures are there. The driver he used to famously reach the first green in the final round at Cherry Hills when he made his triumphant charge to win the U.S. Open 50 years ago is on display at the club there. Some of his treasures are on loan to the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla.

“That’s coming back this year,” Palmer says. “It will go to Latrobe.

“I’m thinking of maybe taking a barn I have up there and turning it into a museum.”

For 12 consecutive nights the game’s biggest names will each host their own instructional show, sharing stories and experiences from their careers. 12 Nights at the Academy premieres on Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. ET, with a new episode airing each night through Dec. 10.
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Palmer’s equipment is special to him, so special that most of those 10,000 clubs in Latrobe are catalogued on a computer filing system.

His garage in Orlando is more than his workshop. It’s a retreat. He’ll hop onto his golf cart most every morning with Mulligan in tow, drive up to his office at his Bay Hill Club and Lodge and read his mail, write letters and tend to his business interests. He ventures back to his garage to escape.

“You see Arnold in here all the time, tinkering,” says a neighbor who stops by briefly before the TV shoot.

Palmer’s an equipment junkie. He loves trying out new clubs. On this morning, he’s fascinated by the Lamborghini forged composite shaft on a new Callaway driver.

“I won the Shell Houston Open one year with three sets of irons,” he tells Golf Channel’. Kelly Tilghman during taping of “12 Nights at the Academy.”

Palmer also loves to work on his own equipment, and he’s got special tools for the job in his Orlando garage. Above the work bench is a street sign that reads: “Arnie’s Drive.” There’s a machine on the bench to grind his irons and a sander. There’s an anchored vice grip to hold the clubs in place.

You’ll get a peek inside Palmer’s garage during “12 Nights at the Academy.” Tilghman’s interview takes place in the garage, where Palmer will show you how he changes the grips on his clubs. He does more than that. He shows Tilghman exactly how his father, Deke, taught him to put his famous hands onto a club as the grip he learned to play with.

Palmer shares a lot of insight with Tilghman, including his thoughts on how important it is for a player to create a style. He’ll tell you it’s among the lessons he passed onto his grandson, Sam Saunders, who is making his way into professional golf. Palmer told Tilghman finding a style is so important to a player’s purpose and confidence that it ought to seep into the way he walks.

While Palmer still enjoys going to his office to write letters to fans and do business, you know it’s here, in his workshop and garage, that he does his best thinking, that he finds much of the wisdom that shows up in those letters and in his business.

There’s something important to Palmer here you can’t see, but you can feel it. There’s solace.

“When I need to be alone and do my thing, this is where I go,” Palmer says. “It’s nice to get down here. It’s very quiet. Nobody knows where I am, unless I tell them. I get away from everything, and I can do what I want in there. Same thing up in Latrobe. I just close the doors.”

But during “12 Nights at the Academy,” he’ll open those doors for you. He’ll welcome you inside.
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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.

Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)