Arnold Palmer is one of the great names of golf. He's a name that will live with the Sam Snead's, the Gary Player's, the Byron Nelson's, and the Jack Nicklaus' of the PGA history books.
His name is synonymous with greatness, grace, and is as humble as any one in history. When he speaks, you listen.
So when Palmer was asked during his invitational tournament at Bay Hill in Orlando about his opinion of Tiger Woods and how he should handle himself at The Masters, Palmer said exactly what came to his mind.
“It’s up to him to do and say whatever he feels he needs to do to redeem the situation, put it in the proper place,” Palmer told the media at Bay Hill . “My opinion, as I said … I was going to keep to myself. But I suppose the best thing he could do would be open up and just let you guys shoot at him. And that’s just my thought.”
So if you're Woods, among all the things you've heard said about you from your fellow players, aren't these the words that might get through to you over all the others?
When Arnold Palmer says that it might be time for you to open up, do you heed his advice?
Woods has been well known for not giving more than he wants to give when it comes to the media. Even before his fall from grace, Woods answered questions about the way he played, but he still left you feeling like he was leaving something out.
Though his personal life has very much become public and everyone has their opinion on it, Woods still declines to say much about what has happened over the last six months.
He won't talk about how he plans on rectifying things with his wife, he has never mentioned the women he slept with by name, and he won't talk about the night of the accident. It's left most wondering about the details of how things went so wrong for someone who was considered untouchable.
This isn't exactly a good comparison, but when you look at a guy like Michael Vick—a guy that also had a fall from grace—he was taken under the wing of former Indianapolis Colts' head coach Tony Dungy. That move certainly seems to have worked out and made Vick better because of it.
What about Woods? Who is going to put him under their wing and bring him back into the good graces of both his fellow players as well as the fans and viewing public?
Why look further than Palmer himself? He hasn't criticized Woods but simply said that it might be time for him to open up and answer whatever may come his way. Whether Woods believes it to be private or not, it may stop the onslaught of the same questions tournament after tournament.
Woods may never answer every question that comes up about the details of what he's been through or what he will go through over the coming months or years but maybe he will finally come out of that protective shell of his and become the person we always thought he would be.
As of right now, Woods is just a few weeks away from playing in the biggest tournament this sport has. He doesn't yet know what kind of reception he's going to get and there's sure to be a lot of nerves because it's something that, for once, he cannot control.
As for Palmer, he said exactly what is on a lot of the player's minds. He said it without discouragement and without making any disparaging comments. Palmer said exactly what needed to be said with class and grace.
Woods could learn a lot from the legend that is Arnold Palmer. The sooner Woods buys into what Palmer could bring into Woods' life, the better and brighter his future could be.
Not only on the golf course, but off it as well.
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