Golf’s most beloved figure, Arnold Palmer, dies at 87

We lost one of the greats this week with the passing of “The King” Arnold Palmer, truly a sad time for all golf fans.

Arnold Palmer points to his name on the press ten scoreboard showing his four under par total for 72 holes for the National Open tournament in Denver, Colo., June 19, 1960.  Palmer won the tournament with a score of 280.  (AP Photo)Arnold Palmer points to his name on the press ten scoreboard showing his four under par total for 72 holes for the National Open tournament in Denver, Colo., June 19, 1960. Palmer won the tournament with a score of 280. (AP Photo) (AP Photo)

By Adam Schupak

Arnold Palmer, a seven-time major winner who brought golf to the masses and became the most beloved figure in the game, died Sunday in Pittsburgh from heart complications. He was 87.

Palmer, a native of Latrobe, Pa., had been admitted to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he was scheduled to have heart surgery Monday, according to thePittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Reaction poured in from “Arnie’s Army” of admirers in the world of golf.

“We loved him with a mythic American joy,” said Palmer biographer James Dodson. “He represented everything that is great about golf. The friendship, the fellowship, the laughter, the impossibility of golf, the sudden rapture moment that brings you back, a moment that you never forget, that’s Arnold Palmer in spades. He’s the defining figure in golf.”

No one did more to popularize the sport than Palmer. His dashing presence singlehandedly took golf out of the country clubs and into the mainstream. Quite simply, he made golf cool.

“I used to hear cheers go up from the crowd around Palmer,” Lee Trevino said. “And I never knew whether he’d made a birdie or just hitched up his pants.”

Golfweek subscriber Bob Conn of Guilford, Conn., in a letter to the editor, captured the loyalty and devotion that the public felt for Palmer.

“If Arnold Palmer sent me a personal letter asking me to join the cleanup crew at Bay Hill, I would buy a green jumpsuit, stick a nail in a broom handle, grab some Hefty garbage bags and shake his hand when I arrived.”

It wasn’t just the fans. His fellow competitors revered him, and the next generation and the generation after that worshipped him. When reporters at the 1954 U.S. Amateur asked Gene Littler to identify the golfer as slender as wire and as strong as cable cracking balls on the practice tee, Littler said: “That’s Arnold Palmer. He’s going to be a great player some day. When he hits the ball, the earth shakes.”

Palmer attended Wake Forest on a golf scholarship. At age 24, he was selling paint and living in Cleveland, just seven months removed from a three-year stint in the Coast Guard, when he entered the national sporting consciousness by winning the 1954 U.S. Amateur at the Country Club of Detroit.

“That victory was the turning point in my life,” he said. “It gave me confidence I could compete at the highest level of the game.”

Palmer’s victory set in motion a chain of events. Instead of returning to selling paint, Palmer played the next week in the Waite Memorial in Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pa., where he met Winifred Walzer, who would become his wife of 45 years until her death in 1999. On Nov. 17, 1954, Palmer announced his intentions to turn pro, and golf would never be the same.

In his heyday, Palmer famously swung as if he were coming out of his shoes.

“What other people find in poetry, I find in the flight of a good drive,” Palmer said.

He unleashed his corkscrew-swing motion, which produced a piercing draw, with the ferocity of a summer squall. In his inimitable swashbuckling style, Palmer succeeded with both power and putter. In a career that spanned more than six decades, he won 62 PGA Tour titles from 1955 to 1973, placing him fifth on the Tour’s all-time victory list. He collected seven major titles in a six-plus-year explosion, from the 1958 Masters to the 1964 Masters.

Palmer didn’t lay up or leave putts short. His go-for-broke style meant he played out of the woods and ditches with equal abandon, and resulted in a string of memorable charges. At the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills near Denver, Palmer drove the first green and with his trademark knock-kneed, pigeon-toed putting stance went out and birdied six of the first seven holes en route to shooting 65 and winning the title in a furious comeback.

“Palmer on a golf course was Jack Dempsey with his man on the ropes, Henry Aaron with a three-and-two fastball, Rod Laver at set point, Joe Montana with a minute to play, A.J. Foyt with a lap to go and a car to catch,” wrote Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray.

Even Palmer’s setbacks were epic. He double-bogeyed the 18th hole at Augusta in the 1961 Masters after accepting congratulations from a spectator whom he knew in the gallery. Palmer lost playoffs in three U.S. Opens, the first to Jack Nicklaus in 1962; the second to Julius Boros in 1963; and the third to Billy Casper in 1966 in heart-breaking fashion. Palmer blew a seven-stroke lead with nine holes to go in regulation at Olympic Club and lost to Casper in an 18-hole playoff the next day.

Arnold Daniel Palmer, born Sept. 10, 1929, grew up in the working-class mill town of Latrobe, in a two-story frame house off the sixth tee of Latrobe Country Club, where his father, Milfred “Deacon” Palmer, was the greenskeeper and professional.

Though for decades Palmer made his winter home in Orlando, Fla., he never lost touch with his western Pennsylvania roots in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains.

“Of all the places I’ve been, there isn’t any place that I’m more comfortable than I am right here,” he told Golfweek in 2009 in Latrobe ahead of his 80th birthday.

Palmer was 3 years old when his father wrapped his hands around a cut-down women’s golf club in the classic overlapping Vardon grip, and instructed him to, “Hit it hard, boy. Go find it and hit it hard again.”

Palmer’s combination of matinee-idol looks, charisma and blue-collar background made him a superstar just as golf ushered in the television era. He became Madison Avenue’s favorite pitchman, accepting an array of endorsement deals that generated millions of dollars in income on everything from licensed sportswear to tractors to motor oil and even Japanese tearooms. Credit goes to agent Mark McCormack, who sold the Palmer personality and the values he represented rather than his status as a tournament winner. Palmer’s business empire grew to include a course-design company, a chain of dry cleaners, car dealerships, as well as ownership of Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando. He even bought Latrobe Country Club, which his father helped build with his own hands and where as a youth Palmer was permitted only before the members arrived in the morning or after they had gone home in the evening. Palmer designed more than 300 golf courses in 37 states, 25 countries and five continents (all except Africa and Antarctica), including the first modern course built in China, in 1988.

Palmer led the PGA Tour money list four times, and was the first player to win more than $100,000 in a season. He played on six Ryder Cup teams, and was the winning captain twice. He is credited with conceiving the modern Grand Slam of the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship during a conversation with golf writer Bob Drum on a flight to Ireland for the 1960 Canada Cup. Palmer won the Masters four times, the British Open twice and the U.S. Open once.

It was Palmer who convinced his colleagues that they could never consider themselves champions unless they had won the Claret Jug. Nick Faldo, during Palmer’s farewell at St. Andrews in 1995, may have put it best when he said, “If Arnold hadn’t come here in 1960, we’d probably all be in a shed on the beach.” Mark O’Meara went a step further. “He made it possible for all of us to make a living in this game,” he said.

In 1974, Palmer was one of the original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame. As he grew older, Palmer was let down by a shaky putter, but his popularity never waned. The nascent Senior PGA Tour hitched its star to golf’s first telegenic personality when Palmer turned 50. He relished winning again and became a regular on the senior circuit, remaining active until 2006.

Source: www.golfweek.com

Senior Tour John Daly

John Daly admits he ‘wasted his talent’ in a career of missed opportunities

John Daly, as he prepares to embark on his second golf career, can’t help but wonder how much more successful his PGA Tour run could have been had he possessed a sounder body and mind in his glory days.

Daly, who turned 50 on April 28, reflected during a teleconference ahead of his Champions Tour debut this week at the Insperity Invitational on how he might have bettered his five-win, two-major PGA Tour career.

“I’m kind of satisfied with everything in the 2000s. My mind was right, and I did everything I could to try and win golf tournaments,” said Daly, whose last PGA Tour win came in 2004 at the Buick Invitational.

It was the decade before, though, when Daly made his mark, improbably capturing the PGA Championship in 1991, the 1995 Open Championship, and two more titles in between. Back then, he was the longest hitter on tour, slamming balls more than 300 yards when such distances were considered novelties, and a blue-collar hero to many fans who never stopped cheering him on despite his many missteps inside the ropes and out.

His personal life, which included four wives, allegations of domestic violence, gambling problems, and substance abuse, was so out of control that fellow golfer Fuzzy Zoeller bet him $150,000 he would not live to see 50. Daly joked that he would take his winnings in Fuzzy’s Vodka.

On the course, Daly accumulated huge numbers, like the 18 he carded on the sixth hole of the 1998 Bay Hill Invitational and the 11 citations for behavior “unbecoming a professional,” as ESPN.com’s Bob Harig noted.

Those incidents, plus the many injuries that have plagued him through the years, were likely what Daly had in mind when he lamented his lost opportunities.

“I wish I would have had the mental attitude back in the ’90s like I do now,” said Daly, who credited his fifth wife, Anna Cladakis, with stabilizing his life. “I think I wasted my talent in the ’90s, especially towards the later part of the ’90s. All the money was coming in, and I didn’t work hard enough at it. I didn’t do the right things to prepare myself to win golf tournaments. You know, that’s definitely on me, and I admit that … I think my mental attitude is 10 times better than it was in the ‘90s.”

Daly lost his PGA Tour card in 2007 and has gotten by on exemptions from sponsors who recognize that the man is still a powerful draw. As the Champions Tour awaits, Daly acknowledged that his game was not where he wanted it to be and that he was relying on a steady schedule to whip it into shape.

“It’s just going to be a confidence builder as the weeks go on because I’m pretty rusty right now not playing a lot of golf in the last nine months,” he said.

The Champions Tour’s 54-hole, no-cut events could be just what Daly needs to revitalize his once-promising career.

“Growing up, I didn’t have anybody coaching me on how to manage a golf course and definitely how to manage my life,” he said. “Right now I’m in a great place, and I just wish I had the physical ability now that I had in the ’90s. It would be probably a lot more fun.”

Source: sbnation.com

Danny Willet PGA

Danny Willett, 2016 Masters Winner, Officially Joins PGA Tour

Masters champion Danny Willett is now officially a PGA Tour member.

Danny WilletThe PGA Tour announced on Monday the newest major winner has joined the Tour and will receive a five-year exemption through the 2020-21 season. He also picked up 600 FedExCup points with his three-shot win at Augusta National.

According to the PGA Tour, Willett, a five-time winner on the European tour, receives an additional 44 retroactive FedExCup points with his T22 finish at the Valspar Championship earlier this year. Retroactive points are not rewarded for WGC events.

Willett’s 644 FedExCup points put him at 27th in the standings. The top 125 after the final regular season stop, the Wyndham Championship, compete in the FedExCup Playoffs.

Source: www.golf.com

Coral Springs Golf

Chamblee Says Tiger, not Jack, is greatest of all time

Well Brandon is never one to hold back.  Here he is telling it like it is according to him.  IM not sure but I think there are a few people pout there that dissagree….Read more…

Who is the best golfer of all time?

In an upcoming “Golf Central” special celebrating Tiger Woods’ 40th birthday, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee said that he would pick Woods over Jack Nicklaus.

“Longevity sanctifies an idea, a career, a relationship, a government,” Chamblee said. “In that regard, Jack Nicklaus’ career was so long – won major championships over 24 years, spanned three generations – but Tiger Woods dominated in a way that had never been done before, and will never be done again. So I think, at least in my estimation, that you’d have to give the edge to Tiger Woods as the greatest player of all time.”

Source: Golf Channel