Tournament Director Hints that Arnie May Not Be Invited Back for Next Year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational
Tiger’s Spectacular Final Round Unsettles Golfing Great
Tiger and a visibly uncertain Arnie during a surprisingly tense practice round. "Arnie couldn't decide what club to use and would bite Tiger's head off any time he'd make a suggestion," said Tiger's caddy Stevie Williams. "Kind of reminded me of my grandad who'd get irritable when you'd bring him a cold bowl of soup."
ORLANDO, FL (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) — All that stood between Woods and his fifth Arnold Palmer Invitational was a devilishly tricky 25 foot putt on the final green. Watching from a perch above the flag, a visibly shaken Arnold Palmer was picked up on TV muttering to tournament director, Scott Wellington, “I used to play this game. Years ago. I was very good.”
Wellington gently patted Palmer’s arm and politely “shushed” him – “for the 12th and hopefully last time” -- as Woods lined up his putt. After the putt went in, an ashen and clearly dazed Palmer turned again to Wellington: “Did I just see what I think I saw? Damn, I distinctly remember playing and I should know about these things. That’s unbelievable. If what I just saw actually just happened. I need to see a replay. Someone, bring me a monitor…will someone please bring me a monitor…please, someone!”
With that Palmer swooned and was immediately carried to a hospitality tent to be treated for sun stoke and dehydration.
“From about the second hole on, when Tiger sunk that pretty 15 foot putt, Arnie began retreating further and further into a kind of mental fog. Tiger’s shot-making and complete command of the course seemed to really rattle him. Every ten minutes or so, he’d grab a hold of my arm and make sure I knew that he used to play. That people thought he was very good. And that he actually won prizes for his skill with a golf club. At one point, I think it was the tenth when Tiger was about to hit his approach, I said Jeez, you’re Arnold Palmer for god sakes. We named this tournament after you, remember? I’m not sure it registered.”
As Woods continued to battle with Bart Bryant, Palmer kept pulling an increasingly annoyed Wellington aside, at one point expressing his unfamiliarity with the game he was watching.
“Naturally I first thought Arnie was just playfully echoing the famous Bobby Jones line about Nicklaus – ‘he is playing a game with which I am unfamiliar.’ But you could see the awe and terror in his eyes as he followed the arc of Tiger’s drives and approach shots. At one point someone in the gallery handed him a Nike One to sign – Arnie examined the ball like it was a moon rock, a foreign object he’d never seen before. Granted, technology has changed over the years, but it’s not like it’s the first time he’s handled a ball with an advanced polymer located inside the mantle layer.”
Friends and associates of the golfing great said he didn’t seem to mind it when Woods passed him on the career victory list a month ago in Arizona. When Palmer was revived, he left the hospitality tent to greet Woods and congratulate him on his victory, his fifth straight PGA tour win and his 64th career victory, tying Ben Hogan at No. 3 on the all-time career list.
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