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March 18, 2015

Arnold Palmer


JOHN BUSH:テつ Okay.テつ We'll get started.テつ We'd like to welcome Mr. Arnold Palmer here to the Media Center.
What an honor and privilege it is here this year to welcome you, our tournament host at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Mr. Palmer, if we can get some opening comments on what is expected to be just a tremendous week.
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Well, let's see.テつ I don't know where to start except to tell you that we're ready.テつ The golf course is ready.テつ I think it will be in excellent condition for the tournament and one announcement that I will make that most of you already know, I have every intention of, on May the 15th, closing the golf course and redoing all 18 greens and the putting greens.テつ So, that's probably my biggest announcement as far as what's going to happen in the next year.
The golf course will be closed most of the summer and we'll have 9 holes open, which is the Charger 9 and it will be in good shape to play but you'll have to do it twice if you're going to play 18 holes.テつ The greens will not be overseeded in the future.
In the past, many years ago when I first got to Bay Hill, I was going to try to do bermuda through the winter and we got a little scared I guess is as good a word as you can think of about not overseeding in the winter for the tournament, and so we did, and we continued to for all the years, 39 or 40 years, and we now decided that we have a strain of bermuda that will resist the winters and we're going to attempt to do the golf course with new greens for next year's tournament.
That's it.テつ I'll answer any questions that I can and with that, what else can I tell you?テつ I may change 16.テつ That's one phase that's really the weak spot of the golf course right now, 16, and as y'all know, it's a very weak par 5 and I will lengthen it a little and maybe change the green a little, but nothing way out.
With the green change, that's pretty much it.テつ As far as any other changes, I haven't anything in mind and I'll answer any questions you want about those two subjects, first the greens and 16.
This year, as advised, we have allowed the rough to get a little stronger and I think you'll find that the guys will have a little playing to do to get out of the rough if they hit it in the rough.
We also have widened the fairways a little so they have a little more room to get into the fairway.テつ But those are things that happen in tournaments everyday.テつ So, it's nothing unusual.
Any questions, anybody have a questions about the golf course?
JOHN BUSH:テつ Raise your hand we'll get a microphone around to you.テつ Some questions?

Q.テつ Mr. Palmer, just wanted to ask you about the course, a couple of players over the years, the players have kind of --
テつテつテつテつテつテつ ARNOLD PALMER: Put the mike away and talk to me.

Q.テつ The players, the past couple days have all spoken of your humility, that's what they've really loved about you over the years.
I know you're not one to brag or boast about your accomplishments and whatnot, but what has brought you the most joy or gratification with just the game, with your contribution to the game of golf?
What has brought you maybe the most joy?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Well, I think if I made some contribution I'm appreciative of the -- that I have tried to just make the game better, and have people understand the game of golf better, either way, the way we play the game, all those things are things that I would like to think that I've made some contribution to.

Q.テつ Orlando has really grown up as a sports town.
Wasn't that way when you first started this tournament.テつ What did you see in this city that made you want to invest in it?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Well, I stayed playing in the Citrus Open which was at "Riopinna" in the '50s and '60s.テつ We moved here, I thought we had a good chance of making this a really great tournament and, of course, we've been reasonably successful.
I feel that Bay Hill is good, the topography and the -- this is around you, the water.テつ This was all orange groves when we started and the roads were two-lane roads and that was it.テつ What has happened over the years is obviously we've grown with Disney.テつ We were here before Disney which other than in their minds wasn't anything.テつ It was a thought, and, of course, you seen what has happened since then.
I think we still can improve and we will improve with this tournament as years go on.

Q.テつ Did you happen to watch Sam live compete in Puerto Rico when he was in the playoff and, if so, what were the emotions you were feeling watching him try to win for the first time on the PGA TOUR?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Well, of course, I was very pleased to see him finish in the playoff.テつ I watched the tournament and when it looked like there were two guys on a par 5 to make pars to keep him out, I kind of watched something else.
I didn't really switch channels or anything, I was just talking to some people and they said, "Oh, you hear what happened?"テつ I said, "No, what happened?"
And they said Sam is tied and both guys make bogies.テつ How in the world in a Major championship such as Puerto Rico you have two guys that need to make pars on a par 5 that you think the guys that are back are going to get into the playoff?
Well, hell, that was as big a surprise to me as it was anybody in this room, and -- but I was happy, I was happy for him and I'm sorry it didn't go on a little further.
It was still a good finish for him.

Q.テつ Mr. Palmer, I'm with the Palm Beach Post.テつ A girl from our area, Alexa Hammer, was awarded the first Arnold Palmer Scholarship to Scotland.
I want you to talk about your relationship with St. Andrews and also your pride in having a scholarship program there.
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Well, I think St. Andrews University and St. Andrews go hand-in-hand and I think it's wonderful that this young lady has received that scholarship.テつ I have one from St. Andrews, myself, and I'm very pleased and happy.テつ I think we'll see more of that and that's part of my ambition.

Q.テつ Arnold, you've mentioned that you're going to go ahead and hit the tee shots at the Masters.
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ I can't hear you.

Q.テつ You mentioned you're going to hit the opening tee shot at the Masters this year with Jack and Gary.
Can you talk about kind of your excitement level for returning back to Augusta again for another year?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ I have a dislocated shoulder and maybe this week or next week I'm going to start hitting the ball and I have every intention of hitting the first drive at Augusta.

Q.テつ Mr. Palmer, my question is I know that Tiger Woods called you this week and told you he wasn't going to be here.テつ That part of the conversation I'm sure was very short.
But my understanding is you were on the phone for almost an hour with Tiger.テつ Could you talk about what you did talk about with Tiger during that hour's conversation?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Well, first of all, whoever told you it was an hour is full of shit (laughter).テつ And what I had to say was very little.テつ I didn't say much of anything.テつ Tiger did most of the talking.
And I can tell you there's nothing confidential about it.テつ He just, first of all, he said, "Arnold, you know, I can't think of anything that I'd rather do than be there to play" and then he explained that he didn't feel like his game was ready.テつ He really wanted to work on it and get it ready to play and I don't blame him.テつ I think if I were in his position I would probably have said somewhat similar things.
He simply said that he just couldn't present himself ready to play when he isn't and he's going to work on his game and get through it and that's most of what he said and I told him how much we would miss him and how sorry we were that he wasn't coming because his record at this golf course is the best record in golf on any single situation such as his.
And I appreciated the fact that he called.テつ He was very nice and very apologetic for not being here.テつ That was the conversation, period.

Q.テつ Didn't sound like it was an hour, you're right.
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ You heard what I said (laughter).

Q.テつ Have you had a chance to talk to Rory since he's come and what do you like best about his game?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ I have not talked to Rory since he's been here.テつ I will either today or tomorrow for sure but I can say I'm very happy to have him here.テつ I think it's nice that he has come on.テつ He told me earlier that he was coming and I think he'll snap things up and make it very interesting and he'll play well, I'm sure he'll play well here.
That's about as much as I can tell you about that.

Q.テつ Arnold a golf course question.テつ What in your mind are the keys to good fundamental design that allows a course like Bay Hill to sustain over time and be such a great golf course?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Well, I think as far as sustaining the playability of the golf course and having it a championship course.
I expect to make some changes in the golf course in the years to come, make it more difficult but not change it dramatically at this point.テつ We'll do what need to do to make it a competitive and good, playable golf course.
We'll add a little length, maybe, and do some things that are normal for a championship golf course, work with the PGA TOUR in doing things here and keep active on the golf course, whether it be holes like 16 where, you know, it's too easy a par 5.テつ We'll change it and do things and we're going to do things like that throughout the year.

Q.テつ Good morning.テつ I was wondering, I've been to your office and I've seen how much stuff can pile up in there, people looking for your autographs and signing this and that.
How much piled up while your arm was in a sling and you were unable to sign?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Well, that's funny.テつ You must have seen it the other day (laughter).テつ It was piled up higher than I am.
But Janet, my secretary and I got to work and we spent a day cleaning it up and it's cleaned up right now, isn't it?テつ She says it's cleaned up.
We have everything you can imagine.テつ I have letters from people I haven't seen in 50 years and we have questions and all kinds of things that are very surprising but that's normal.テつ We anticipate that.
She spends her whole day writing letters for me to people that we tell them that if they write and they want an answer, we'll give them the best we can, but we are continuing to do it.
Right now I only have about a day's work there.テつ It's pretty well cleaned up.

Q.テつ Arnold what are you most proud of Sam about?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ I'm sorry?

Q.テつ What are you most proud of about Sam?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Sam is a very polite young man.テつ That's one thing I'm very proud of.テつ He has conducted himself very well through this early stage of professional golf and it isn't easy.テつ It isn't easy for him to be my grandson and to carry on the way he has and do the things that he's done.テつ He's done them very well.
He comes, spends a lot of time on the practice tee with me.テつ We don't spend hours, we spend 10, 15 minutes and I give him what I think is necessary and he goes with it and he's gone with it for a couple of years now and he's getting better and better all the time.
He's finally maturing into a professional golfer and he will continue to mature and as time goes on, he will do better.
I have every -- every confidence in him to play the Tour and play it well and thus far he has indicated that that's going to work.テつ So, I'm pleased and as long as his manners and his characteristics are as good as they are, I'll be happy.

Q.テつ Can you talk about the charity aspects of this tournament and giving back to the local community?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Well, as most of you know, charity is what this tournament is all about.テつ Frank Hubbard, 40 -- 45 years ago asked me if I'd put my name on the Citrus Tournament for the hospital.テつ I thought about it and I gave him my rules for my name being on the hospital and the tournament.
And they accepted that and for the -- thus far, they have done the things that they promised me they'd do and that's the rules.テつ That's the way we do it.テつ The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies have come just thousands of miles over what we had anticipated.テつ We've now got the Winnie Palmer Hospital and the Cancer Center.
We do everything we said we'd do and the hospital has done what they said they would do.テつ They've got it clean, they've got it operating very, very well and I'm very proud of it and I got my family involved and Amy is very involved in the hospital now and we will continue to do the things that we promised we'd do and we will continue to raise money to keep that hospital the No. 1 hospital in the world.

Q.テつ Mr. Palmer, your love for the Central Florida region, the very first time that I read you visited Orlando, Wake Forest team had a match against Rollins College.
Do you recall any -- share the experience and also the very first time you played the match here at Bay Hill with Don Cherry, Jack Nicklaus --
テつテつテつテつテつテつ ARNOLD PALMER: Dave Ragan.

Q.テつ Yes.
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ No, I don't remember (laughter).テつ Well, there are some fun things about what you just went over.テつ I came here in the first time and I think '48 I was a sophomore at Wake Forest University and we played the men's golf team at Rollins, the Wake Forest golf team, and that was the first day we were here, and our coach was a guy by the name of Johnny Johnson and he said, "What do you guys want to do?テつ You can practice here or we can go on to the next match."
We all voted to stay at Rollins because we were playing the girl's golf team (laughter) and for the next two days we played the girl's golf team.テつ That was a hell of a lot more fun than playing the men's golf team.
Some of the people -- Betty Roland was one of the girls at Rollins at the time and she later became the national amateur champion and quite a golfer in her own right and she's still a good friend of mine from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and that was my first visit here and, of course, we loved it.
We had Bud Worsham, who was my roommate at the time and I were approached about Rollins to transfer from Wake Forest to Rollins and we checked Wake Forest and thought about it and after about oh, I guess six months it was, we decided that we'd stay at Wake Forest and come and play Rollins annually as we did.
Does that answer the question?

Q.テつ Arnold, I saw Dow Finsterwald riding in a golf cart.テつ I was wondering is he here as your friend or does he have a function with the tournament?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Dow Finsterwald and I have been friends since 1947.テつ He played at Ohio and came -- they did a spring trip to play golf against us at Wake Forest and we became friends then and we traveled together on the Tour for all these years.
So, we are very close friends.テつ He lives here in the winter and he and Linda are here now and they've been here ever since.

Q.テつ Arnold, just wanted to follow-up on the question about Tiger from earlier, you've obviously seen what he's been through the limited times he's played this year.
First, how surprised are you to see his struggles especially the short game and would you offer up any thoughts on how he could get back?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Well, you know, Tiger -- God, I've known him since he was three feet high, and he's a great player.テつ He was a very talented young kid with his father instructing him.
For me to tell you or tell Tiger what he could do, there's only one thing I can say and that's practice, and confidence.テつ Regain the confidence he had when he was starting out and that was what made him what he is and that's the way he'll get it back, just regain the confidence and the ability to hit the golf ball.
I don't think that -- I think one thing Tiger did -- this is an opinion that I haven't even given to anybody and that is he should do what he thinks he should do with his game.
I think he should find a coach that he has confidence in and go work on his game and that's my best advice.
JOHN BUSH:テつ Three, four more.

Q.テつ Arnold, when Sam approached you at Latrobe at the end of 2013 having lost his status, what advice did you have for him when he said he might give it up, give up golf?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Sam?テつ Well, I don't remember saying that but I think Sam has taken the right approach.テつ I think he's come a long way in the last couple of years and I really feel that he has a shot at it now.テつ But he has to work.テつ He's going to have to work hard to accomplish what he wants to accomplish as a golfer, as a professional golfer.
He's got all the ingredients that are necessary and it's just going to take time now and I think in a few years hopefully we'll see that result.

Q.テつ Mr. Palmer, how did you handle the pressure of playing in a Major?

Q.テつ Yes.
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Well, I guess I could give it to all of you (laughter).テつ Stick to the basic fundamentals.テつ My father taught me basic fundamentals of the game of golf.テつ Any instruction that he gave me from the day I started playing golf was stick to the basic fundamentals.テつ Like you've heard it a dozen times, when he put my hands on the club, he said, "Boy, don't you ever change that."
Well, I haven't.テつ And I think that basic fundamentals if you are really serious about playing golf and playing good golf, stick to the basic fundamentals.テつ Sure, there's going to be a little change here and a change there, but you don't want to make them.
You want to stick to the things that you started with and you learned and you know how to apply them to the -- to your game and don't go -- as my father said when I left for the Tour, he wasn't too anxious for me to go on Tour, but when I walked out and I said, "I'm going on Tour, Pap".テつ He said, "Okay."テつ He says, "I'll tell you what, you go out there and listen to all those guys out there and that tractor is still sitting down there and you can drive it when you come back" (laughter).
Well, I never went back because I did what he told me.テつ Basic fundamentals.
If you feel like you're getting the basic fundamentals when you start and you think you're right and you got a pretty good swing going for you, stick with it, stick with it.テつ Don't listen to all the instruction you can get.
And all the instructors in the audience will say, "Arnie, stop it" (laughter) because they're making a hell of a living out of giving instruction.

Q.テつ Mr. Palmer, now that you've gotten Rory to come to your event, is there a particular player that's on your wish list to come next year?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ I want all the young guys here.テつ Sure.テつ I want them all.テつ I don't have one in mind right now.テつ I'm so pleased to have Rory here and the field we've got, the first five in the world, that's pretty good right there.テつ But we also have 48 very good players out of the Top 50.
So, that is an accomplishment in itself and I think that we will continue to improve the field and improve the interest in this tournament.テつ That's what I'm after.

Q.テつ Arnold, hi.テつ Would you share any tips or keys to maintaining your good health and your energy, what your daily routine may be?
ARNOLD PALMER:テつ Well, I've always exercised from the day I started playing golf, I did various exercises.テつ I used Tim here in the gym three days a week and I do exercise all the time until I fell six, seven weeks ago, eight weeks ago, then I had to stop and I haven't exercised as much in the last 8 weeks but I have ever intention of starting again maybe even this week to keep in shape and, you know, I'm getting -- well, I'll be old one of these days.テつ I'm 85 (laughter).
I'm going to continue to workout and get myself in shape.テつ I have a dislocated shoulder that I fell the evening I was going to speak at the father/son and I slipped on a carpet in my house and did a 360, landed on this shoulder (indicating) and it's been healing and I've been doing physical therapy ever since and it's starting to feel like an almost -- I can almost get it up this high (indicating) but I can't yet.テつ As soon as I can, I will start doing my exercises again and work really hard at it.
JOHN BUSH:テつ Mr. Palmer, we appreciate that.

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