ORLANDO, Fla. - Four-time Masters champion Arnold Palmer, who on Wednesday said that Tiger Woods needed to "open up" to the media, on Friday applauded the news that Woods has agreed to hold a press conference at 2 p.m. Monday, April 5 at Augusta National Golf Club.
Woods is the only press conference scheduled for the first day of Masters week in Augusta, Ga. It will be his first press event in nearly five months, since he won the Australian Masters Nov. 15 in Melbourne. Twelve days after that win, his 82nd worldwide, Woods crashed his SUV into a tree near his home, igniting a media firestorm about his personal life.
"I think that's wonderful that Tiger is going to talk to everybody," Palmer told Golf World on Friday at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, where he is host of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. I think the quickest way for him to regain his honorable position in the game is to open up and get it all out there and get on with things."
Palmer had said on Wednesday that he thought it was time for Woods to meet with the media. "I think it's up to him to do and say whatever he feels he needs to do to redeem the situation, put it in the proper place," Palmer, 80, said on the eve of his event, where Woods had won six times, including the last two, but skipped playing for the first time in his career. "My opinion, as I said, I was going to keep to myself. But I suppose the best thing he could do would be open up and just let you guys shoot at him. And that's just my thought."
He expanded on that thought a bit on Friday. "As long as you keep going around corners and not giving everyone the full story, there's going to be questions out there," Palmer said. "Everyone wants to know what he's thinking, what he's doing, and if he tells them, then the chance of his golf becoming the primary focus again increases."
Palmer also agreed with Tom Watson, another former Masters winner, that Woods needs to do more for the game and to show more respect for the game, something the No. 1 player promised in his prepared remarks February 20 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., that he would try to accomplish when he returned to competitive golf.
"Yes, he needs to do that. And he can," Palmer said.
- --Dave Shedloski*