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Arnie's a Man On a Mission
Sun was flooding through the clubhouse windows at eight o'clock on Monday morning when Arnold Palmer sat down to breakfast in the grill room of the Bay Hill Club in Orlando. For a man who had surgery for prostate cancer less than two weeks earlier, he looked remarkably fit, if a trifle wan.
Breakfast over, Palmer walked gingerly upstairs to his office, where he was greeted by Prince, his golden retriever, who was playing with a chew toy. Palmer growled at him, then plunked himself down behind his desk, on which there were stacks of mail. "This is about a quarter of the stuff, maybe less," he said. "That box over there on the floor is full. There's a box just as large at home. All of this is, of course, very gratifying and touching."
The 67-year-old Palmer had given his first postop interview three days earlier and had taped another that ABC showed during its coverage of the Senior Skins Game, an event he had been scheduled to play in. "We had hundreds of people wanting to talk, and I couldn't accommodate them individually," he said. "I'm doing what the doctors asked me to do—taking it easy. I expect to play in the Masters unless I have a setback, and the only thing that would set me back is overdoing it now."
Since returning from the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn., Palmer's daily routine has involved a couple of hours in his office, perhaps a little putting and plenty of rest. "I do get tired," he admitted.
There was a second reason for holding the press conference. "I want to have the media tell men to have their prostates examined, not just digitally, but to have PSAs [a blood test]. I can't say that strongly enough," he said. "I was just a victim, so I can only express what the doctors have told me, but so much has happened in the last three weeks, I want to make sure people do this. It can save their lives."
Spyglass Facelift Could Be Critical This Week
Spyglass Hill, where the 16th fairway became a rice paddy during last year's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, forcing the cancellation of the tournament after 36 holes, has been given a pricey facelift but not by the course's architect, Robert Trent Jones, who is none too happy about the surgery.
The Pebble Beach Company says the disaster was a blessing, that it accelerated improvements to Spyglass that might not have been made for years. The company's Japanese owners forked out nearly $2.8 million for course changes. The 16th fairway was resoiled with six inches of sand and sloped left to right to improve drainage and prevent good drives from rolling out-of-bounds. The green, often criticized for being too small to hold approach shots, was enlarged. The pond fronting the green at the 11th, another hole turned quagmire last year, was removed. These changes will be sorely tested if the heavy rain that forced cancellation of practice on Monday continues. But Paul Spengler, vice president of Pebble Beach, is optimistic. "What we've done has improved the course substantially," says Spengler.
And that has Jones, 93, moaning. Miffed that another designer, Tom Fazio, oversaw the alterations, Jones has a question for Spengler. "Why," he asks, "did you spend a fortune to ruin a treasure?"