By Lance Hanlin
When Arnold Palmer wants to order the half-tea, half-lemonade beverage named in his honor, does he ask for a me?
Turns out, that’s exactly what he does.
The 83-year-old golf icon was asked that and several other questions recently after giving final approval to his design company’s restoration of Old Tabby Links on Spring Island.
On the future of belly putters on the PGA Tour:
Palmer: My feeling and my opinion right now is that the anchored putter to the body will go. I can’t tell you that positively. I can tell you that I’ve talked to a lot of people in golf associations around the world and they are indicating the rules committee will come back and say you are not able to anchor your putter on the body. When will that come? Probably around the first of the year.
Is he against the anchored putter?
Palmer: I am. Having said that, if I putted better with an anchored putter when I was playing the tour, I would have used one. As long as it’s within the rules. I’m giving you my opinion on that, and in my opinion, there is not a place in golf for anchored putters.
Has he tried using one?
Palmer: Do you know how old I am? I’ve tried everything there is to try. I don’t feel an anchored putter is the way the game should be played. If you remember, Sam Sneed putted between his legs. They voted that out and he stopped doing it. It didn’t ruin his life and it didn’t stop his good golf. I feel the same about golfers that use an anchored putter.
On the future of golf course architecture:
Palmer: I think we’ll see shorter golf courses. An emphasis has been put on length because of the people hitting the ball so far. I think we’ll see shorter holes with more challenges. There for a while it got to four, six, eight sand traps on every hole. I think we’re going to see that diminish in coordination with more runoffs, similar to what (senior architect Brandon Johnson) has done here. I think that’s going to be the trend.
On slowing the ball down for professionals:
Palmer: We have got to slow the golf ball down. Other than maybe a few manufacturers, there aren’t many people that do not agree we need to slow it down. I would look for some news from the United States Golf Association, the PGA Tour and the PGA about that in the next few years. I think it’s inevitable.
Should there be different rules for professionals and amateurs?
Palmer: There has been talk about that. I don’t think it’s out of the question. My personal feeling is it’s something we shouldn’t do. The game is complicated enough right now with the rules as they are. Everything goes a lot better and smoother when there is one set of rules that everybody plays by.
How is his golf game?
Palmer: (Looks to his right and left) Who are you talking to? I’m warming up (laughs). Actually, other than what you see on television with the occasional charity event or something like that, I really haven’t played any this year. I am going to play in the father/son in Orlando in December with my second grandson, who hits it 10 miles. It’s unbelievable how far he hits it. After he hits that long drive, he puts his driver down, picks me up and carries me (laughs).