Tiger recalls good times with Palmer
‘I enjoyed being around Arnold and I’m going to miss that for sure’
TIGER Woods is taking his rousing comeback tour to one of his favourite haunts, Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill layout, where the 14times Major winner has triumphed eight times.
Woods not only feels supremely confident on the track, but cherishes the time spent with Palmer, who traditionally greeted the tournament winner on the last green in the city Woods formerly called home.
“To be able to win this tournament (was great) and to have Arnold there and to shake his hand and for him to give me a big hug and a couple of times he said ‘I called it, I knew you were going to make that putt’.
“It was little things like that, sharing jokes with him out there on the green and both of us laughing. Those are moments that unfortunately I’ll never have again, but I have those memories,” Woods told reporters ahead of Thursday’s opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The 42yearold Woods had a long relationship with seventimes Major winner Palmer, who died in September 2016 aged 87.
“I first met Arnold when I played here in the US Junior when I was 15. And then I moved here in 1996 and he invited me over here to play in his Monday shootout which I did, but I didn’t like it much because he took my money,” Woods said.
“But I thoroughly enjoyed being around him, being with him and we had so many great times. “None more so than last time I won here in 2013. We sat down, we had a great time together and I’m going to miss those times, for sure.” That was the last year Woods won a PGA Tour title but now he looks like he may finally be over the back injuries that sidelined him and limited his ability to swing the club.
His runnerup finish last week at the Valspar Championship has lifted his confidence and given him hope of ending his fiveyear Tour title drought and maybe adding to his Major haul for the first time since 2008 at next month’s Masters. Woods said he is taking it one step at a time since returning to competition this year after undergoing spinal fusion surgery one year ago.
“I must keep getting better. Just keep making incremental improvements and I think I’ve done that.
“Each and every week I’ve learned from what I’ve done and more importantly I’m learning my body,” the four-time Masters champion said. – Reuters
FOND MEMORIES: Tiger Woods says he first met Palmer when he played in the US Junior.