Golf notes: Arnold Palmer's grandson makes a name for himself

March 11, 2010

Sam Saunders had 265 yards into an 18th green protected by everything but angry alligators.

So, naturally, he took out his driver rather than playing it safe. Saunders hit into a bunker, leading to a bogey-6 on Sunday at the Honda Classic. But here's guessing his coach didn't mind.

That man's name is Arnold Palmer. Saunders is his grandson via Palmer's youngest daughter, Amy.

Palmer became rich and famous with his go-for-broke mentality, and Saunders earned some attention - plus more than $68,000 - by tying for 17th at the Honda.

Saunders left Clemson after three years and has made two cuts in four starts this season, all on sponsor's exemptions. Palmer asked Jack Nicklaus to give his grandson a free pass at the Honda and, no surprise, Saunders will play Palmer's PGA Tour event at Bay Hill in two weeks on what could be called The King's exemption.

"I like the fact that people want to talk to me," Saunders told the Palm Beach Post. "Hopefully, someday my game will be good enough that I'll be known as Sam Saunders and Arnold Palmer's grandson."

Saunders all but grew up at Bay Hill, where he has two aces. He caddied for his grandfather in the tournament and has played on Sunday as a marker.

Chip shots:Fred Couples and Tom Watson are threatening to make the Champions Tour relevant again. Couples has won twice in two starts, and Watson fired a final-round 62 at Newport Beach to tie for fifth. … Those pre-1990 Ping wedges that players such as Phil Mickelson used to either protest or circumvent the USGA's new square-groove rule will be banned after the Bay Hill event. … The PGA Tour's last three winners all have Twitter accounts: @ianjamespoulter, @HunterMahan and @CamiloVillegasR.

- Teddy Greenstein

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