- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Framed photographs large and small hang in every room and adorn the walls of every corridor inside the Bay Hill Club & Lodge, memories of Arnold Palmer and more than a half-century he devoted to golf.

He is flinging his visor after winning the Masters. He is posing with one of his best friends, Dow Finsterwald, and his longtime rival, Jack Nicklaus. In one picture, he is wearing a Chinese hat during his first trip to China to design a golf course.

Unmistakable in nearly every photograph is a smile.

In his design company office one day in December, he was asked why he was always seemed happy.

“I loved what I was doing,” he said. “I got to play a great game. I have a great life, a great family, all the things you could want. I love the feeling of getting out of bed each morning.”

Golf featured its share of unpleasant moments this year _ Tiger Woods, leaning back against his locker at Sawgrass with his eyes closed after pulling out of The Players Championship, perhaps the low point on the golf course in a year filled with them; Dustin Johnson, erasing his scorecard to change a 5 to a 7 after being told he was in a bunker on the last hole of the PGA Championship; Paul Casey, facing reporters who wanted answers he didn’t have as to why he was left off the Ryder Cup team.

The photos of Palmer are a reminder that it’s a great game, and a great life. As always, there were plenty of poignant moments from a year on the PGA Tour that go beyond birdies and bogeys and bunkers:


Lee Westwood shot 68 in the final round of the Honda Classic, and when he signed his card, he was in a seven-way tie for 15th.

He retreated to the bar with his agent, Chubby Chandler, and watched the follies unfold as one player after another dropped shots coming in at PGA National. When it was over, Westwood was in a three-way tie for ninth, the difference of about $87,000.

“The best drink we’ve ever had,” Chandler said.


Paul Goydos didn’t want to wait for officials to stop play, not when he was facing a tough tee shot on the 11th hole at Riviera in a cold rain that was starting to come down sideways.

That’s when he declared that the tee box was in casual water and someone would have to call for the maintenance crew. He figured that would take enough time for the tour to decide to suspend play. What he didn’t realize was the maintenance shed was right behind him.

In less than a minute, three workers arrived carrying squeegees.

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