tampabay.com

Palmer plays last major

By wire services
Published July 30, 2005


KETTERING, Ohio - Arnold Palmer, the king of seven Grand Slam events and five more as a senior, bid an emotional farewell Friday to his 50-year major championship career.

"It's not fun when you play as poorly as I played," Palmer, 75, said after shooting 81 to miss the cut by a wide margin at the U.S. Senior Open. "My tournaments are getting down to a very few. As far as trying to compete in major championships such as the Open and other tournaments, this is it. I'm through doing it. I'm not going to do it anymore."

While fans shouted to him, Palmer's eyes glistened.

Palmer has not won a tournament since 1988 and has not been competitive in events for many years. His good friend and rival, Jack Nicklaus, ended his competitive career two weeks ago at the British Open at St. Andrew's.

Palmer elected to play in the Senior Open because the sponsoring USGA and the tournament's local organizers asked him to. He also wanted to be on hand when Nicklaus was honored Wednesday night. Nicklaus then left for a fishing trip to Iceland, while Palmer remained behind to play in high heat and humidity.

"He went fishing and I went out and sweated," Palmer said as a large crowd behind the 18th green roared with laughter.

Palmer's first major tournament as a pro was the 1955 Masters. He tied for 10th then and would go on to win at Augusta National in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964. He also won the U.S. Open in 1960, and British Opens in 1961 and 1962.

Palmer said he was overwhelmed by saying goodbye.

"Am I emotional? Certainly," he said. "How can I not be? I was on the Champions Tour or seniors tour for 25 years and I feel very fortunate to have lived long enough to do that. That has a lot of sentiment to it."

Meanwhile, Tom Watson, chasing his second major championship in two weeks, shot 6-under 65 to tie Craig Stadler and Loren Roberts for the second-round lead. Watson, Stadler and Roberts are at 9-under 133, matching the tournament record for lowest score through 36 holes.

Jang holds British lead

SOUTHPORT, England - Jeong Jang took a four-stroke lead into the weekend at the Women's British Open after a second-round 66, while Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie fell eight shots back.

The second-round leader is seeking her first LPGA victory in six years as a pro. Her 6-under put her at 10-under 134, an Open 36-hole record since the event became a major five years ago.

Her closest rival was Swedish amateur Louise Stahle, who shot 65. Tampa resident Moira Dunn was tied for fifth at 3-under.

ELS OUT FOR SEASON: Ernie Els will miss the rest of the season after knee surgery, his management team said. The third-ranked South African had surgery on his left knee Thursday after being hurt on a sailing holiday last week, a spokesman for International Sports Management said.

SCANDINAVIAN MASTERS: Bradley Dredge shot 8-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead halfway through in Stockholm, Sweden. Pierre Fulke also recorded 63 to tie for second with Barry Lane at 12 under. First-round leader Marc Cayeux was tied for sixth after a 69 left him at 10-under.