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July 23, 2003

Arnold Palmer


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Arnold, maybe just a couple thoughts, we looked up the record, in 1977 you finished seventh here, so you've had some good fortune here. Just a couple thoughts about coming back to Turnberry for this event.

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, I'm certainly happy to be here, as you probably know. It isn't something that I'm pursuing a lot of right now; meaning, playing tournaments. I've really cut back my schedule.

But coming here was kind of special because of Turnberry and because of the many years that I have come here and how much I have enjoyed it over those careers years. And of course there are other reasons, just coming and being here, whether I was playing or not would have been important to me.

So I look forward to it. I look forward to the hotel, all the amenities outside the golf. And of course I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that I am fascinated by the weather being so beautiful, typical Scottish weather.

As my friend Alistair Johnson would say in the forecast, it's variable.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: We'll just open up to questions.

Q. What are your memories of coming over to the British Isles to play?

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, I think that's pretty obvious. When you think back, my first trip across the Atlantic ocean was to play at Portmarnock(ph) in the World Cup in 1960, and of course then coming a few months later to the Open at St. Andrews. Just the atmosphere, of the Open and playing in Scotland, is -- well, it has been probably as important a part of my career as anything I've done in golf. I think that's saying quite a lot, and it remains and will always remain very important to me.

I suppose that there are some things that have transpired in the Open Championship and the trips to Scotland that I suppose to me are not quite as attractive as they were 40 years ago, only because it's gotten so big. I once said -- I think it was in 1960 that I said it, that this would happen. I predicted it would happen. And for those of you who were there -- I don't think there's anyone here that was there -- but if you had been there, you would have heard me say that this sort of thing would happen here, and it's no surprise to me to see it happening.

And I suppose in some ways it's not as attractive as it was in those early days. But it was inevitable and it was still fun and that's why I'm here.

Q. Do you feel partially responsible for that?

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, whatever part I've had to play I'm very pleased with and I'm very proud of, the fact that I may have had something to do with it. I've had a few disappointments over the years, not winning maybe more Opens, maybe not winning more tournaments in Scotland. But at the same time, being very pleased at the same time that I had two Open Championships and the fun that I had at Wentworth over the years and at the World Match-play. And of course I must say that I was reminded last week by watching the Open at St. George's that I did win the British PGA at St. George's in 1975 and I enjoyed that.

Q. Who were your inspirations in golf?

ARNOLD PALMER: Who were my inspirations? Well, when I was a youngster, I read a lot of golf books, and one of them was Byron Nelson's book, where he did all of the outlining of his golf swing and how when he was at Inverness Toledo how he patterned his swing and how he did all of the things that he did. So he was one person that was an inspiration to me.

Others were Jones, who I also read his book, when I was a young person, and Walter Hagen. I guess that they were the people that will the most influence on me. I can't deny that I enjoyed Sam Snead and his prowess through the year, and of course having the opportunity to play with him, which was as I mentioned earlier, one of my first trips -- it was my very first trip across the Atlantic to play at Port Monick (ph), which ironically they are playing this week. That struck me.

Playing with Sam there was a big thrill for me as a young man, and much course getting to know a man we don't even hear about anymore and I wonder how many of you even think about him as media is (Dunne - Inaudible) and I thought he was quite a man. I enjoyed him. I didn't know him personally real well, but he won the individual title at Port Monick (ph) that year, 1960.

Q. Do you still consider yourself a role model?

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, if I can be one and do what I think is right and influence the young people in the right direction, that's very important to me. I suppose that one of most important things that I could think about -- and I will say this, too the young people, and make I'm not as effective as I would like to be in saying it. But I would like to leave the game better than when I found it. I have been very fortunate. And if I can convince the people coming along to leave it better for the people in back of them, then I consider myself a success in that area.

Q. Do you have any anecdotes of Nicklaus and Watson playing here?

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, no, except to say that I was here obviously. What did I finish, seventh? It wasn't very damned good, was it?

Q. You had a 67 in the third round.

ARNOLD PALMER: I'll give you an anecdote about that, if you like.

In the third round, I was putting very poorly on the front nine holes. At the ninth, I switch my putting grip, which I had never done to, cross-handed, and I holed a fairly good putt at the ninth; played the next nine very good and shot 67.

Mark McCormack, who you've all heard of and know, was following me that day, and the next morning, I came out and teed it up and putted conventionally. I heard Mark come over right by the rope, and Mark was not a man that swore, he never swore very much, "God damn," he said, "what are you doing?" Because I switched back to the regular. Anyway, that was something I remember pretty clearly.

I think it's ironic, since you asked that question, that the field here is -- you could almost duplicate it from 1977. And of course with Nicklaus and Watson and Watson playing particularly well right now, you could almost see a repeat of what happened in 1977.

Q. Were you watching the finish of the 1977 Open?

ARNOLD PALMER: Oh, I was watching. Yes, it was. The last few holes was pretty dramatic. I won't say who I was rooting for or anything like that but the shot-making was outstanding.

End of FastScripts....

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