Thursday, April 15, 2010

Arnold Palmer Offended by My Blog Item - Cancels Interview

Tuesday (04-13-2010) I received a call from my editor at a magazine that my scheduled interview with Arnold Palmer for the next day had been canceled. I was flying to Orlando from Hartford on my own dime to meet Palmer in person.

The reasoning of his people was simple, they had read my blog post criticizing the way the television announcers handled the renovation of the golf course at Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Club and Lodge, site of the PGA Tour’s Bay Hill Invitational. You can read the item below titled, “Embarrassing Coverage of Bay Hill Renovation.”

In brief, what I wrote is that between the 2009 and the 2010 tournaments, the course underwent a massive renovation. Since this was Arnold Palmer Design redoing work done by Arnold Palmer Design some 20 years ago, I thought announcers needed to push Palmer, who regularly appeared in the booth throughout the tournament, on why such drastic measures needed to be taken. They didn’t and I called them on it. I didn’t even offer an opinion on the renovation, just how it was covered by the TV talkers.

Making this overreaction by Palmer and his people all the more ludicrous, is that the company’s chief designer, Erik Larsen, is also the president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and most likely the person in charge of the Bay Hill renovations since Palmer has little to do with the actual design work. Apparently, the message Larsen is sending to his ASGCA brethren is that when faced with criticism of your work, censor the writer.

I received no communication from the Palmer people. The call was made to the publication where the story would have appeared and the editor lambasted for my blog entry, over which he has no control or say. I’m not a staff writer but a contributor.

The message, though, has been heard loud and clear: Don't criticize the King.


  1. Bummer.
    At least you didn't ask about non-conforming clubs.

  2. Maybe he cancelled when he realized you weren't very knowledgeable on the subject of golf course design? It doesn't take a golf course architect to realize that equipment has improved in the last 20 years, threatening to make some of the classic designs obsolete. Look at all the changes they have made at Augusta over the years to keep up with the times. It seems to me that the commentators didn't press for answers to what should be obvious to anyone familiar with the game.

  3. Anonymous:

    Thanks for checking out my blog.

    I wasn't critiquing the adding of length; I understand that. I wanted to know why after 20 years the "entire course" had to be redone -- bunkers that were grassed down now have flashed sand faces, chipping areas were incorporated into the design and why the rolls were taken out of greens.

  4. Wow. What a bunch of tools. I mean, he could have just said he was bored of the place and felt like redoing it. Is there anything wrong with that?

    And screw the ASGCA - it is not a professional organization - though they try to front themselves as equal to the AIA or ASLA. It started out as a good idea but has turned into an inbred fraternity that doesn't even respect the laws that govern golf course design in most states.

  5. Barry:

    "We were bored" would have been an understandable comment. Unfortunately, we'll never know why the alterations were made.

    I would be interested to know if Palmer has any idea about this little incident.