On Wednesday, Arnold Palmer spoke to the press in advance of his tournament at Bay Hill, and talk covered everything from Q School to Tiger Woods. When asked about the absence of Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald, the top two players in the world, however, The King minced no words:
"I'm disappointed that they are not here, no question about it," Palmer said. "They are the top players on the Tour right now in the positions that they are in, and I am disappointed.
I had a letter from Rory seeking my consultation and told me he wasn't coming. And of course that made me feel great. And if you believe that, I'll talk to you outside afterwards," he laughed. (Rory's got some brass ones, asking for advice but not showing up to the big dog's tournament, yes?)
Palmer drew a direct connection to his days as a young golfer, when he traveled across the pond to the British Open to expand the world's interest in golf. Pay it back, he suggested. And when Arnie talks, it's really a good idea to listen.
He also spoke about Tiger Woods ("he's strong enough and he's smart enough and he's got all of the equipment to do the things that he always did do"), Bubba Watson (whom he compared to Seve Ballesteros) and starting off Augusta with a ceremonial tee shot ("That's one of the big thrills of all time; to see the people; to have the Chairman introduce us all; and get into it and start the Tournament.") Straight class, as always.
- Tiger Woods
- Arnold Palmer
- Rory McIlroy