Skip to main content
Original Issue


The King Comes Clean
Arnie Answers

The kitchen of Ely Callaway's sprawling hacienda-style house in
Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., minutes before Arnold Palmer's much
anticipated Jan. 8 appearance on The Golf Channel, was like the
inside of mission control during countdown. Next to a television
set was a sleek computer terminal, which the 81-year-old
Callaway uses to command all things electronic in the house. One
had the feeling that Callaway would've liked to push a few
buttons and program what Palmer was about to say on Golf Talk
Live, the forum he had chosen to explain, for the first time,
his rationale for endorsing Callaway's controversial ERC II
driver. Palmer, stung by the criticism he has received for
saying the nonconforming club is O.K. for recreational play, had
refused any formal coaching for The Golf Channel interview. So
Callaway, leaning forward in a wooden chair, a Budweiser at his
side, was as curious as the next guy to hear what the King had
to say.

Callaway listened quietly to the show, chuckling when Palmer only
half-jokingly warned Peter Kessler, the host of Golf Talk Live,
"I'd probably punch you right in the nose right now" if Kessler
called him a cheater. At the first commercial break, though,
Callaway said he was happy Palmer admitted he had been crushed by
the criticism from friends. "That's Arnold," said Callaway, "open
and vulnerable and very human."

During the show's second segment, Palmer appeared frustrated with
Kessler, who interrupted him several times. Callaway was agitated
too. "I don't think it's by accident," he said. Later Palmer
abandoned the technical talk about the rules and the coefficient
of restitution (springlike effect) and delivered an impactful
broad stroke. "I'm not going to change, and I'm not going to back
down," he said. "I'm going to enjoy golf, and I'm going to enjoy
it with my friends. I'm going to try to help them enjoy the

Callaway was delighted. "That's the very best thing Arnold said
all night," he said.

Still, Palmer's closing remarks didn't erase the feeling that had
this been a debate, Palmer might have lost. Kessler was Al Gore,
smart and informed but off-putting in his delivery. Palmer was
George W. Bush, uncomfortable with didactics but more genuine and

Afterward, Callaway led a tour of his 5,000-square-foot house,
where he lives alone--his four marriages ended in divorce--with
only a silver tabby cat named Sylvie to keep him company. Under a
canopy of exposed beams are striking black-and-white portraits of
Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Georgia O'Keeffe and Pablo
Picasso, all shot by renowned photographer Yousuf Karsh. In the
adjoining library are two black-and-white photos of John F.
Kennedy that Callaway, a lifelong Democrat, took at the
Waldorf-Astoria in New York City a month before the president was

As he played the gracious host, Callaway was thinking about what
he had just seen on TV. "I would've liked to have talked to
Arnold before he went on to remind him of a couple of points," he
said. Specifically, Callaway had hoped Palmer would say that golf
is actually two games--competitive golf and everything else; that
the USGA had gone too far in its ruling against thin-faced
drivers; and that Palmer's 12-year endorsement deal with Callaway
was worth, to use Ely's word, "peanuts." Then he mischievously
added, "I'm considering going on The Golf Channel myself." (The
channel has asked Callaway to join two or three other industry
executives and a representative of the USGA for a panel
discussion to air Jan. 22.)

The last stop was the three-car garage. Standing between an azure
Rolls-Royce and a red Range Rover, Callaway offered his final
thoughts on the evening. "Arnold did great," he said, "but in a
way he's caught. He has this emotional bond with the USGA, but
he's anything but a USGA blue blood. Those fellows have always
liked being associated with him, but they've demonstrated he's
not really in their club by the shoddy way they've treated

COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK Unable to coach Palmer, Callaway is eager to argue his case himself on The Golf Channel.




Trust Me

Ernie Els should be 2 for 2 this season, but he's not getting it
done. The two-time U.S. Open champion's habit of going blooey
when he's in contention makes one wonder: Is he pressing, or is
his swing not as solid as his lovely rhythm suggests? If Els, who
stumbled at the World Match Play and the Mercedes Championships,
wants to reopen the discussion about who's the best, he's going
to have to relearn the art of the close.

What do these golfers have in common?

--Betsy King
--Juli Inkster
--Nancy Scranton

They were the oldest winners on the LPGA tour in 2000. King, 45,
won the Hawaiian Ladies Open and the LPGA Corning Classic;
Inkster, 40, the Longs Drugs Challenge, the McDonald's LPGA and
the Samsung World Championship; and Scranton, 39, the Subaru
Memorial of Naples.

Do you think Tiger looks better with blond or black hair?

Blond..... 20%
Black..... 80%

--Based on 6,315 responses to our informal survey

Next question: How many majors will Tiger win this year? Vote at


art, bella, big league, bravo, butter, crackerjack, eso, genius,
golf shot, gorgeous, handy, money, microsurgery, pose on that,
pure, Seve, skywriting, Slidini, strong, swish, that dog will
hunt, that's entertainment, the McGuffin, the very thing, well
bowled, yes.


This week's MasterCard Championship is not necessarily a
harbinger of a successful year. Of the last 10 winners, the five
below failed to win again the same season.

2000 George Archer
1999 John Jacobs
1994 Jack Nicklaus
1992 Al Geiberger
1991 Bruce Crampton


Whitney Welch, Las Vegas
Whitney, 16, a junior at Durango High, shot a four-over 220 to
edge runner-up Kristi Larsen, a freshman at New Mexico, by a
stroke at the Arizona Silver Belle Championship in Tempe.
Whitney, who has been playing for only two years, shot a record
five-under 139 to prevail at the Nevada high school state

Martin Ureta, Santiago, Chile
Martin, 15, carded a three-over 219 to win the 14-15 age
division of the Doral/Publix Junior Classic in Miami by two
shots over Nick Hollubeck of Duisburg, Germany. The sophomore at
Saddlebrook Prep in Wesley Chapel, Fla., was named to the
All-Suncoast Boys Golf Team after finishing fifth in the Florida
state championship.

Angela Won, Irvine, Calif.
Angela, 16, shot a one-over 72 to best Sunny Oh of Wilmington,
Calif., by a stroke in the Southern California PGA Tournament of
Champions at Newport Beach Country Club. Two days later she won
the Desert Holiday Classic in Cathedral City. The University High
junior recently bagged her third straight Pacific Coast League

Submit Faces candidates to