Arnold Palmer says Tiger Woods should 'open up'

March 25, 2010|By Teddy Greenstein | Tribune Newspapers

ORLANDO, Fla. - At first Arnold Palmer said he would keep an opinion regarding Tiger Woods to himself. Then he let it out.

"The best thing he can do is to open up and let a bunch of guys shoot at him," Palmer said. "That's just my thought."

Translation: Palmer believes Woods should sit down with a full contingent of reporters and answer questions about his four-plus-month absence from the PGA Tour, which was brought on by a sex scandal.

"That might be the best way to move on," Palmer added.

Woods did two brief interviews Sunday on ESPN (five minutes) and Golf Channel (six). Those were limits his camp imposed.

Palmer also said he was "disappointed" Woods chose not to defend his title at this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

"He didn't feel his game was sharp enough to come and compete that soon," Palmer said. "He told me he would not play and go to Augusta first. That was really the conversation."

Some view Woods' decision as payback for NBC, which has weekend coverage of Palmer's tournament. NBC's "Today Show" aired live interviews with two of Woods' alleged mistresses.

Woods did not offer NBC an interview Sunday. CBS turned him down, citing the five-minute limit and a reluctance to cut into "60 Minutes."

No cheating: Bay Hill's $2 million renovated layout features a new tee on the par-4, dogleg-right 15th that will require players to bomb it 303 yards to carry the last bunker and cheat the corner.

Does Palmer like to play the hole at its new length of 474 yards?

"Are you embarrassing me?" Palmer said before grinning. "I play from the ladies tees. But there was a time when I did (play all the way back)."

Solid field: An elite field including Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk will compete at Bay Hill.

Mike Weir hasn't finished higher than 17th since 2005 but said he returns to play almost every year because, "It's Arnie's. When Arnold Palmer asks you to play, which he did a couple of years ago, you have to show up."

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