PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

Palmer addresses media, toasts Golf World

Honorary Chairman Arnold Palmer addressed the media Wednesday afternoon and spoke at length about the preparation required for players succeed at Oakmont. His familiarity with the course stretches back to when he first played it as a 12-year-old boy, but even that amount of time, he says, is not enough to really know the course.__

“There are golf courses that I've played over the years that I could play a practice round or two and feel pretty comfortable that I knew how to play it,”__ said Palmer. “In this case, Oakmont just doesn't happen to be that kind of golf course…I'm not even sure now that I know every shot that I should hit if I could hit it.”

Although Phil Mickelson’s wrist might disagree, there are a lot of benefits to getting extra practice in at Oakmont. “If you go back and you read about Sam Parks in '35 when he came out and spent a lot of time out here practicing and just had a tremendous advantage by knowing the golf course and knowing how to putt the greens and knowing where to put the ball,” said Palmer.“There are holes that you can say, well, how do you -- 10, if you get to the left of the pin you're in much better position than you are if you are to the right and if you're to the right, chipping from the right side or putting down that slope the ball is going to keep going. Same thing at one. Actually you're better to be a little long there than you are short, and so on through the entire golf course.” [#image: /photos/55adb236b01eefe207f8c013]|||_jdc9152_2|||

At 6:30 p.m Wednesday evening, Palmer toasted Golf World’s 60th anniversary at a gathering in the Media Center’s dining area. Editor-In-Chief Geoff Russell introduced the seven-time major champion, saying, “I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but you were my grandfather’s favorite golfer, my father’s favorite golfer, you were my favorite golfer, and God willing hopefully you will be my son’s favorite golfer.” Palmer’s speech was brief, but he concluded by joking, “I don’t think there will be a 63 this year.” The audience laughed and raised their glasses of champagne.

--Jeff Patterson

(Photo: J.D. Cuban)