This week, we had an opportunity to interview Arnold Palmer. Over email, Palmer discussed a variety of subjects, including the Masters, Rory McIlroy, his Arnold Palmer Invitational and a health issue he's faced with the help of Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Ryan Ballengee: Given all you've accomplished in your professional life, what are the goals and challenges that motivate you today?
Arnold Palmer: I still enjoy what I do. I haven’t been playing much golf and none since I dislocated my shoulder in December, but I come to the office every day. We have a lot going on right now and we’re working on some exciting projects in our businesses and charities.
Ed. Note: Last week, Palmer's golf-course design company announced plans for its first-ever Scottish course at Castle Stuart.
RB: Did you have a chance to speak with your grandson after his run at the Puerto Rico Open? If so, would you share what you said to Sam?
AP: I was disappointed that Sam could not pull out his first win there, but also proud of his playing. He was doing something right to get himself into the playoff and I’m pleased by the progress he is showing.
RB: The reaction has been mixed to Rory McIlroy's club-throwing incident at Doral. When you were in your 20s, did you ever have an incident that made you that visibly frustrated?
AP: When I was playing in a junior tournament one time, I missed a short putt and threw my putter into the trees. I went on to win the tournament and later, instead of my dad congratulating me, he told me that if I ever threw a club again, I’d never play in another golf tournament. I haven’t thrown a club since.
RB: The PGA Tour recognized the importance of the Arnold Palmer Invitational by now offering a 3-year exemption to the winner. What does that mean to you and what do you think it will mean for the long-term future of the event?
AP: Of course I’m very pleased that the PGA Tour has recognized our event in this way. I think players will give it a second look when planning their golf schedule and it will help our event remain relevant and a place where the guys want to play every year.
RB: How did you learn of the blood clot in your leg, and how were Janssen Pharmaceuticals products instrumental in your treatment?
AP: Many people don’t know that I experienced a blood clot caused by deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, which is when a blood clot forms in a deep vein in the body, often the leg or thigh. I’m fortunate that my DVT was diagnosed and treated before it led to something even more serious and that’s why I encourage people to talk to their doctor if they think something is wrong. I’ve teamed up with Janssen Pharmaceuticals to raise awareness about blood clot prevention and treatment. My story is on www.Drive4Clots.com.
RB: What was your first Masters Champions dinner like, and do you think it has evolved in the spirit Ben Hogan intended back in '52?
AP: I remember what a thrill it was to attend my first Champions Dinner. Just being in the same room with some of the guys I had admired growing up and to be there because I had won The Masters was quite an honor. I still attend the dinner every year and it is one of the highlights of my time at Augusta during Masters week.