Palmer on Oakmont, the Open, the ball
__I always thought that if I could make the perfect golf club with my own hands, with my perfect swing, I could make perfect golf shots.....Arnold Palmer
For those of you who missed the long, interesting interview with Arnold Palmer by Allan Dodds Frank of Bloomberg Television over the weekend, a few highlights, based on my imperfect stenography:
Asked if he preferred Oakmont with or without trees, Palmer said liked it without the trees and found it "awesome" now. Palmer agreed that under the right conditions it could be the hardest golf course in the world.
On his loss to Jack in 1962 at the Open, compared to other disappointments:
__It was much more important….I thought I had things pretty well under control at Oakmont. I played it good it in ’62. I thought that I would be able to putt as well as any pro coming in, and I didn’t. I three putted numerous times. Jack didn’t three-putt once. I was beaten on the greens and Jack did it. __
I’m sorry I didn’t win at Oakmont because it was home. ….I wanted to show (the local fans) that I could win….and my father. But he always said, "Remember it’s just a game." I tried to do that.
On the game and technology:
__If I have a concern in golf and technology now, it’s the ball. The ball goes too far. __
We can cure (technology problems) by making the ball go less far. Let the rest of technology go. Let them do whatever they want with the ball, but don’t let them hit it 400 yards.
It’s the ball. …..we need to bring it back.
In some touranments they’re doing that. You get the first tee and they say here’s your ball, or a dozen balls. In some ways, I’m not opposed to that.
Palmer said the only downside to rolling back the ball and playing a single ball at tournaments was less competition between manufacturers ("I like that competition.") Nonetheless, he said he hoped that the ruling bodies of golf "bring the ball back".
Reflecting on a go-for-broke style of play that won him four Masters, an Open and two British Opens and lost him a few more:
__Some gambles I lost. …I’ve had my heart broken.... I’ve lost some Opens (but) had as much fun after it was over as I did when I won.
On his love of puttering around in his workshop, where he still goes to be by himself and make clubs, Palmer said, with a twinkle in both eyes....
I always thought that if I could make the prefect golf club with my own hands, with my perfect swing, I could make perfect shots.
Well, based on the reaction to our My Shot with Palmer in June, most Golf Digest readers would say that the Honorary Chairman of the 2007 Open has come as close as anybody to doing just that.
(Photo by Dom Furore)