Golf Buzz

September 25, 2016 - 10:47pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
arnold palmer
Twitter
After the news of Arnold Palmer's death, tweets rolled in from golfers paying tribute to the King.

The news of Arnold Palmer's passing at age 87 on Sunday evening devastated the golf world.

Here's a sampling of some of the social posts players tweeted out in remembrance of The King:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORE PALMER: Palmer's obituary | Golfers pay tribute to "The King" | Palmer's timeline, history | Remembering The King's greatest wins | Palmer's legacy includes hundreds of courses | Palmer changed the game and won hearts | A look back at Palmer's last Masters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 25, 2016 - 10:18pm
Posted by:
Doug Ferguson
Michael.Benzie's picture
Arnold Palmer
Associated Press
Arnold Palmer brought a country club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner's touch.

Statements by the PGA of America

“We were blessed that Arnold Palmer chose golf as a profession," said Derek Sprague, President of the PGA of America. "Born the son of a PGA Professional, Arnold inherited his father’s boundless passion for growing the game and reaching out to others. The countless lives that he touched, both within our industry and outside the gallery ropes, elevated golf to unprecedented heights. Our game and our country lost a legend today, but Arnold Palmer will forever be in our hearts.”

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“When I think of Arnold Palmer, I think of his natural ability to relate to people, the close bond he had with his father, and how when I first came on Tour, he made young professionals like me feel welcome," said United States Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III. "Like me, Mr. Palmer was born the son of a PGA Professional and was taught by his dad not only the fundamentals, but also how to give back to this great game. He leaves an impact on the game and on sports in America that is unmatched. Tonight our country lost a great sportsman, a great American. As we approach the Ryder Cup this week, our team will keep Mr. Palmer and his family in our prayers and will draw from his strength and determination to inspire us.” 

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press

Alastair Johnson, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, confirmed that Palmer died Sunday afternoon of complications from heart problems. Johnson said Palmer was admitted to the hospital Thursday for some cardiovascular work and weakened over the last few days.

Palmer ranked among the most important figures in golf history, and it went well beyond his seven major championships and 62 PGA Tour wins. His good looks, devilish grin and go-for-broke manner made the elite sport appealing to one and all. And it helped that he arrived about the same time as television moved into most households, a perfect fit that sent golf to unprecedented popularity.

Arnold Palmer brought a country club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner's touch. At ease with both presidents and the golfing public, and on a first-name basis with both, "The King" died Sunday in Pittsburgh. He was 87.Palmer was born Sept. 10, 1929 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the oldest of four children. His father, Deacon, became the greenskeeper at Latrobe Country Club in 1921 and the club pro in 1933.

"If it wasn't for Arnold, golf wouldn't be as popular as it is now," Tiger Woods said in 2004 when Palmer played in his last Masters. "He's the one who basically brought it to the forefront on TV. If it wasn't for him and his excitement, his flair, the way he played, golf probably would not have had that type of excitement. And that's why he's the king."

"Thanks Arnold for your friendship, counsel and a lot of laughs," Woods tweeted Sunday night. "Your philanthropy and humility are part of your legend. It's hard to imagine golf without you or anyone more important to the game than the King."

Beyond his golf, Palmer was a pioneer in sports marketing, paving the way for scores of other athletes to reap in millions from endorsements. Some four decades after his last PGA Tour win, he ranked among the highest-earners in golf.

On the golf course, Palmer was an icon not for how often he won, but the way he did it.

He would hitch up his pants, drop a cigarette and attack the flags. With powerful hands wrapped around the golf club, Palmer would slash at the ball with all of his might, then twist that muscular neck and squint to see where it went.

"When he hits the ball, the earth shakes," Gene Littler once said.

Palmer rallied from seven shots behind to win a U.S. Open. He blew a seven-shot lead on the back nine to lose a U.S. Open.

He was never dull.

"I'm pleased that I was able to do what I did from a golfing standpoint," Palmer said in 2008, two years after he played in his last official tournament. "I would like to think that I left them more than just that."

He left behind a gallery known as "Arnie's Army," which began at Augusta National with a small group of soldiers from nearby Fort Gordon, and grew to include a legion of fans from every corner of the globe.

Palmer stopped playing the Masters in 2004 and hit the ceremonial tee shot every year until 2016, when age began to take a toll and he struggled with his balance.

It was Palmer who gave golf the modern version of the Grand Slam — winning all four professional majors in one year. He came up with the idea after winning the Masters and U.S. Open in 1960. Palmer was runner-up at the British Open, later calling it one of the biggest disappointments of his career. But his appearance alone invigorated the British Open, which Americans had been ignoring for years.

Palmer never won the PGA Championship, one major short of capturing a career Grand Slam.

But then, standard he set went beyond trophies. It was the way he treated people, looking everyone in the eye with a smile and a wink. He signed every autograph, making sure it was legible. He made every fan feel like an old friend.

Palmer never like being referred to as "The King," but the name stuck.

"It was back in the early '60s. I was playing pretty good, winning a lot of tournaments, and someone gave a speech and referred to me as 'The King,'" Palmer said in a November 2011 interview with The Associated Press.

"I don't bask in it. I don't relish it. I tried for a long time to stop that and," he said, pausing to shrug, "there was no point."

Palmer played at least one PGA Tour event every season for 52 consecutive years, ending with the 2004 Masters. He spearheaded the growth of the 50-and-older Champions Tour, winning 10 times and drawing some of the biggest crowds.

He was equally successful off with golf course design, a wine collection, and apparel that included his famous logo of an umbrella. He bought the Bay Hill Club & Lodge upon making his winter home in Orlando, Florida, and in 2007 the PGA Tour changed the name of the tournament to the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The combination of iced tea and lemonade is known as an "Arnold Palmer." Padraig Harrington recalls eating in an Italian restaurant in Miami when he heard a customer order one.

"Think about it," Harrington said. "You don't go up there and order a 'Tiger Woods' at the bar. You can go up there and order an 'Arnold Palmer' in this country and the barman — he was a young man — knew what the drink was. That's in a league of your own."

He had two loves as a boy — strapping on his holster with toy guns to play "Cowboys and Indians," and playing golf. It was on the golf course that Palmer grew to become so strong, with barrel arms and hands of iron.

"When I was 6 years old, my father put me on a steel-wheeled tractor," he recalled in a 2011 interview with the AP. "I had to stand up to turn the wheel. That's one thing made me strong. The other thing was I pushed mowers. In those days, there were no motors on anything except the tractor. The mowers to cut greens with, you pushed.

"And it was this," he said, patting his arms, "that made it go."

Palmer joined the PGA Tour in 1955 and won the Canadian Open for the first of his 62 titles. He went on to win four green jackets at Augusta National, along with the British Open in 1961 and 1962 and the U.S. Open in 1960, perhaps the most memorable of his seven majors.

Nothing defined Palmer like that 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills. He was seven shots behind going into the final round when he ran into Bob Drum, a Pittsburgh sports writer. Palmer asked if he could still win by shooting 65, which would give him a four-day total of 280. Drum told him that 280 "won't do you a damn bit of good."

Incensed, Palmer headed to the first tee and drove the green on the par-4 opening hole to make birdie. He birdied the next three holes, shot 65 and outlasted Ben Hogan and 20-year-old amateur Jack Nicklaus.

Palmer went head-to-head with Nicklaus two years later in a U.S. Open, the start of one of golf's most famous rivalries. It was one-sided. Nicklaus went on to win 18 majors and was regarded as golf's greatest champion. Palmer won two more majors after that loss, and his last PGA Tour win came in 1973 at the Bob Hope Classic.

Tom Callahan once described the difference between Nicklaus and Palmer this way: It's as though God said to Nicklaus, "You will have skills like no other," then whispered to Palmer, "But they will love you more."

"I think he brought a lot more to the game than his game," Nicklaus said in 2009. "What I mean by that is, there's no question about his record and his ability to play the game. He was very, very good at that. But he obviously brought a lot more. He brought the hitch of his pants, the flair that he brought to the game, the fans that he brought into the game."

Palmer combined power with charm, reckless abandon with graceful elegance. Golf no longer was a country club game for old men who were out of shape. He was a man's man, and he brought that spirit to the sport.

It made him a beloved figure, and brought riches long after he stopped competing.

That started with a handshake agreement with IMG founder Mark McCormack to represent Palmer in contract negotiations. Palmer's image was everywhere, from motor oil to ketchup to financial services companies. Even as late as 2011, nearly 40 years after his last PGA Tour win, Palmer was No. 3 on Golf Digest's list of top earners at $36 million a year. He trailed only Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Palmer's other love was aviation. He piloted his first aircraft in 1956, and 10 years later had a license to fly jets that now are the standard mode of transportation for so many top players, even though the majority of them are merely passengers. Palmer flew planes the way he played golf. He set a record in 1976 when he circumnavigated the globe in 57 hours, 25 minutes and 42 seconds in a Lear 36. He continued flying his Cessna Citation 10 until he failed to renew his license at age 81, just short of 20,000 hours in the cockpit.

Through it all, he touched more people than he could possibly remember, though he sure tried. When asked about the fans he attracted at Augusta National, Palmer once said, "Hell, I know most of them by name."

Only four other players won more PGA Tour events than Palmer — Sam Snead, Nicklaus and Woods.

Palmer's first wife, Winnie, died in 1999. They had two daughters, and grandson Sam Saunders plays on the PGA Tour. Palmer married Kathleen (Kit) Gawthrop in 2005.

Palmer was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997, which was caught early. He returned to golf a few months later, winking at fans as he waded through the gallery, always a smile and a signature for them.

"I'm not interested in being a hero," Palmer said, implying that too much was made about his return from cancer. "I just want to play some golf."

That, perhaps, is his true epitaph. Palmer lived to play.

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Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

September 25, 2016 - 9:42pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Arnold Palmer
PGA of America
Arnold Palmer passed away Sunday evening in Pittsburgh, Pa. He was 87 years old.

Sad news shook the golf world Sunday evening when it was learned that legend Arnold Palmer -- "The King" -- passed away in Pittsburgh, Pa., earlier in the day at the age of 87.

Palmer, a seven-time major champion who was three times a runner-up in the PGA Championship -- the only leg of the Grand Slam that eluded him -- was golf's first superstar in the television age of the 1950s.

In 1974, the 62-time PGA Tour winner (fifth all time) was one of the 13 original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Palmer was a legend on and off the golf course and his philanthropic works helped thousands.

In 2004, Palmer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and, in 2009, the Congressional Gold Medal. He was the first golfer to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the second golfer, after Byron Nelson, to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. 

ARNOLD PALMER – By the Numbers

  • 0 - Number of times associated with a losing Ryder Cup Team
  • 2 - Senior PGA Championships
  • 10 - U.S. Presidents who became friends/golf partners
  • 26 - Amateur Victories
  • 96 - Professional Victories
  • 7 - Major Championships won
  • 7- Member or Captain of winning Ryder Cup Teams
  • 22-8-2 - All-time Playing Record in the Ryder Cup
  • 37 - PGA Championship Appearances
  • 121 - Total Major Championship Appearances

MORE PALMER: Palmer's obituary | Golfers pay tribute to "The King" | Palmer's timeline, history | Remembering The King's greatest wins | Palmer's legacy includes hundreds of courses | Palmer changed the game and won hearts | A look back at Palmer's last Masters

Chronology

  • 1929 - Born September 10 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania
  • 1933 - Father gives Arnold his first set of golf clubs when he's three
  • 1938 - Playing regularly with the older caddies on Latrobe's nine hole golf course
  • 1941 - Becomes a caddie at age 11 on Latrobe's course
  • 1947 - Enters Wake Forest University
  • 1950 - Leaves Wake Forest and for his military/wartime service joins U.S. Coast Guard
  • 1953 - Upon leaving Coast Guard, returns to Wake Forest but doesn't complete his degree (he will be awarded an honorary degree years later)
  • 1954 - Wins United States Amateur Championship
  • 1954 - Marries Winnifred Walzer on December 20 (they would have two daughters, Peggy and Amy)
  • 1954 - Turns professional after signing with Wilson Sporting Goods
  • 1955 - Wins his first important professional tournament, the Canadian Open
  • 1958 - Wins his first Masters
  • 1960 - Elected to PGA of America membership Wins Masters for a second time; wins first and only U.S. Open
  • 1960 - Founds Arnold Palmer Enterprises
  • 1961 - Wins his first Open Championship
  • 1962 - Wins third Masters Tournament; wins second Open Championship
  • 1964 - Wins fourth Masters
  • 1968 - Becomes first player in PGA Tour History to reach $1 million in official earnings, on July 21, with a tie for 2nd at the PGA Championship
  • 1970 - Awarded honorary doctoral degree from Wake Forest University
  • 1971 - Becomes president and owner of Latrobe Country Club
  • 1974 - Becomes president of Arnold Palmer Cadillac in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 1980 - Enters Senior Tour and wins the PGA Seniors Championship
  • 1981 - Wins the U.S. Senior Open (first player to claim both U.S. and Senior U.S. Open titles)
  • 1984 - Wins his second PGA Seniors Championship
  • 1992 - Establishes major annual fundraiser for Latrobe Area Hospital
  • 1994 - Plays in his final U.S. Open
  • 1996 - Captains the U.S. team to victory in the President's Cup
  • 1997 - Undergoes surgery for prostate cancer
  • 1999 - Co-authors his autobiography, A Golfer's Life with James Dodson
  • 1999 - Wife, Winnie, dies of cancer on November 20
  • 2000 - Plays in his 1000th Tour event
  • 2002 - Matches his age (73) in the final round of the Napa Valley Championship
  • 2002 - Makes record 48th consecutive start at the Masters (his final Masters Tournament)

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PGA of America historian Bob Denney contributed to this report.

September 22, 2016 - 1:36pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
@PGATOUR
On the first hole in the first round of the Tour Championship at East Lake on Thursday, Phil Mickelson holed a putt for birdie from nearly 100 feet.

It's always nice to start off your round with a lengthy birdie putt (or any birdie putt, for that matter), isn't it?

So, that's what Phil Mickelson decided to do on his first hole in the first round of the Tour Championship at East Lake on Thursday.

Faced with a putt from 94 feet, 7 inches, Mickelson went ahead and did this:

 

 

Are you kidding me? And that thing took FOREVER to get to the hole.
 

September 22, 2016 - 8:43am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rob Labritz
USA Today Sports Images
As we'll see again next week in the 2016 Ryder Cup, it doesn't get much better than match play. PGA Professional Rob Labritz provided some great tips on how you can find success in the match-play format.

Next week, all eyes will be on Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., for the 2016 Ryder Cup.

It doesn't get any better than match play, does it? It's a completely different animal than stroke play.

PGA Professional Rob Labritz has had his fair share of success in match play. As a member of the American PGA Cup team in 2002, Labritz played to a perfect record of 5-0-0. Earlier this year, he also played his way to victory in the Westchester PGA Championship, another match play event.

With that resume, we reached out to Labritz to get some advice on how to set yourself up for success in match play. Sure, chances are you and me aren't ever going to be teeing it up in a Ryder Cup, but these tips will help you at any level of ability when you find yourself in a match play situation.

RELATED: Playing under pressure | Getting out of nasty rough | Breaking 70 | 80 | 90

"When you play a stroke-play event, most people will tell you you're playing against the course instead of an opponent," Labritz said. "Match-play is twofold. Yes, you're still playing the course, but you're also keeping a close watch on what your opponent is doing."

Golf is a game for ladies and gentleman. But there are certain things that don't fly in stroke play that are fair game in match play, specifically gamesmanship -- the tasteful kind.

We're not talking about stepping in your opponent's line, standing in his or her line of vision, making noise when they're about to hit, etc. It's nothing like that. Instead, it's a mental game you can play with your opponent.

"What I like to do is concede a few early putts," Labritz said. "I'll give them a couple of 3 1/2 to 4 1/2-footers, no more than that, depending on how the match is going. As the match goes on, they're probably expecting me to give them putts from that length. But instead, I make them putt. It's a little gamesmanship. Suddenly you're making your opponent think about something he or she didn't think they'd have to think about. More experienced players know exactly what you're doing. But it's almost like talking to your opponent without talking to them. That's one of the tricks I like to use."

If you're playing a match on a course you know well, Labritz offered up another way you can inject some gamesmanship into the proceedings.

"Let's say there are certain spots out there where you know it's OK to miss," he said. "Hit it there. You know it's not an issue, but you're opponent thinks you're wounded when you're not. Match play is all about the games you play out there. If you're out there scrambling your butt off, it's going to drive the opponent crazy."

A common misconception about match play is that you can throw caution to the wind and have the pedal to the metal throughout. After all, making a 10 on one hole in match play doesn't matter -- it's just one hole.

Labritz, however, said you still need to pick your spots.

"I've been successful in match play and it's because I'm the type of player who isn't going to make a lot of mistakes," he said. "I'll make a bunch of pars and sprinkle in a few birdies, but I'm not going to make a crazy number. When you're steady like that, it can really wear down the opponent. It's frustrating when you're thinking, 'this guy's not going to make a mistake.'"

The aggressiveness, Labritz said, comes from gauging the temperature of the match.

"Look, if you find yourself down early, that's a tough one," he said. "It's an internal battle for yourself. If they're playing better than you, you need to step it up and probably get a little more aggressive. And if it's a situation where you're playing poorly and they're beating you by playing average golf, then you really need to step it up. It's hard to do that, but that's what makes match play such a great format. It's all about the inner fight in you. It's wanting to compete and wanting to beat somebody."

So what's the best thing you can do to put pressure on your opponent?

It's pretty elementary, Labritz told us: "If you're hitting first, the best thing you can do to put a little heat on your opponent is to get your tee shot in play."

At the end of the day, match play simply comes down to this, Labritz told us, "Make your opponent make mistakes. If you're not making mistakes, it's going to force them to try and make something happen -- that's what leads to mistakes."  

September 21, 2016 - 9:58am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jim Furyk
@GolfChannel
Jim Furyk received the prestigious Payne Stewart Award in Atlanta on Tuesday night. His acceptance speech was remarkable.

On Tuesday evening in downtown Atlanta, Jim Furyk became the 19th recipient of the PGA Tour's Payne Stewart Award.

The Payne Stewart Award is given to a player whose "values align with the character, charity and sportsmanship that Stewart showed," which includes respect for the traditions of the game, commitment to uphold the game's heritage of charitable support and professional and meticulous presentation of himself and the sport through his dress and conduct.

It would be silly, but if you ever questioned Furyk's popularity amongst his peers, just wait until you see all the players -- past and present -- that filled the room for his presentation.

Players who aren't even in the field for this week's Tour Championship made the trip to watch their friend receive this prestigious award.

And, after watching Furyk's acceptance speech, you can be sure they're delighted they made the trip.

Check out Furyk's remarkable, inspiring speech below, which included this gem just as he started out: "I think I'm going to break the record for the quickest to cry. Stricker is going down tonight!"