By Gary Van Sickle
I’m not a big fan of ceremonies and symbols and gestures. A statue of the late Arnold Palmer will be dedicated next week at Bay Hill before the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the PGA Tour event that he hosted for nearly four decades.
The monument will be a nice touch, surely, like the one of Ben Hogan that looks out over the 18th green at Colonial Country Club or the one of Byron Nelson at the TPC Four Seasons Resort, where Nelson’s name graced the tournament title for years.
Palmer’s legacy is more than a statue. It’s more than Bay Hill, the Orlando club that he owned, or the tournament, of which he was the face for years.
Button up the decorum, regardless of attire
I am 65 years old and don't give much of a hoot what people wear nearly as much as I care about their decorum on course (“PGA of America’s relaxed attire seems shortsighted,” March 6, bit.ly/2lBVtr6). Yeah, I might cringe at cutoffs and tank tops, but if their manners are good and their pace of play is up to snuff, I am paying attention only to my difficulties and successes per shot.
We here in New Mexico already practice a somewhat relaxed approach to dress in that no one gets the stink eye over wearing jeans on-course. (Jeans are damned-near formal wear here, and when the spring winds are blowing, they are nearly a necessity!)
OUT: Citing a need for “ongoing rest and rehabilitation” on his surgically repaired back, Tiger Woods said Thursday in a statement on his website that he will not play in next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla. It will be the first API since Palmer, 87, died Sept. 25. “I'm especially disappointed because I wanted to be at Bay Hill to help honor Arnold,” said Woods, an eight-time winner of the tournament. In Woods’ only PGA Tour start this year, he missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. The next week, he shot a first-round 77 in the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic before withdrawing the next day, citing back spasms. Woods, 41, whose 79 Tour titles include 14 major championships, said he has no timetable for a return to competition. After Bay Hill, only two events precede the Masters, so any faint hope for Woods of a fifth green jacket would seem to be lost.
Number of strokes by which Jim Herman improved his career-best score on Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course to take the first-round lead Thursday in the Valspar Championship. Herman shot a bogey-free 9-under 62 to lead Russell Henley and Henrik Stenson by two strokes before play was suspended because of darkness. In two previous appearances at Innisbrook, Herman missed the cut, in 2013 and ’16.
Distance, in miles, from Mexico City, site of last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship, to New Delhi, this week’s European Tour stop. Three golfers who competed in Mexico are playing in the Hero Indian Open, in which the first round was suspended by darkness: Scott Hend (1 under through 15 holes), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (1-over 73) and Marcus Fraser (6 over through 16).
An expansion of the training facility at the Reynolds Lake Oconee golf complex in Greensboro, Ga., has been completed and will be introduced in April. The Kingdom of Golf, a 16-acre, 7,600-square-foot site, had been available only to PGA Tour professionals but now will be open to Reynolds guests.
The inaugural Buffy Awards were presented in six categories among the 130-plus Billy Casper Golf and Billy Casper Signature-managed facilities across the country. The national awards, presented at the recent Buffalo Strong Celebration in Orlando, Fla., recognize the company’s top performers.
European Tour: Hero Indian Open
DLF Golf and Country Club, New Delhi
PGA Tour: Valspar Championship
Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead), Palm Harbor, Fla.
Michigan Golf Show
Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi, Mich.
PGA Tour: Arnold Palmer Invitational
Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Fla.
LPGA: Bank of Hope Founders Cup
Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Phoenix
Champions Tour: Tucson Conquistadores Classic
Omni Tucson National, Tucson, Ariz.
Portland Golf Expo
Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland, Maine
PGA/European tours: WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
Austin (Texas) Country Club
PGA Tour: Puerto Rico Open
Coco Beach Golf Club, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
LPGA: Kia Classic
Aviara Golf Club, Carlsbad, Calif.
Web.com Tour: Chitimacha Louisiana Open
Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club, Broussard, La.
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