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Palmer had a swing to last a lifetime

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By DOUG FERGUSON
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 7:14 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Tiger Woods is going through his fourth swing change in his 15 years on the PGA Tour.

Arnold Palmer played a half-century without changing his swing once.

"I really did not make any swing changes in my career," Palmer said Wednesday. "I started with a pattern when I started playing the tour, and I stuck with it until today. And I will go with it today in the pro-am, and hope to hell I can hit it in the fairway, and hope I can hit it longer than what I've been hitting it."

These are different times, indeed.

Jack Nicklaus used to have his longtime mentor, Jack Grout, take a look at his swing at the start of a season and rarely called him the rest of the year. Palmer's only coach was his father, Deacon.

"I saw him at least once a year for about 70 years," Palmer said. "And he never changed anything. He watched me for five minutes and went home. He put my grip on the club and my hands on the golf club when I was 6 years old and he said, 'Boy, don't you ever change it.' Well, I haven't changed it."

Palmer said he was surprised that Woods is changing his swing again, although he doesn't know what he's trying to do with it. Palmer recalls the first time he played with Woods, at the Masters during a practice round when Woods was an amateur, and he thought Woods was doing everything just right.

Palmer and Nicklaus figured that Woods might win as many green jackets as both of them combined - 10. Woods has four.

"So changing? Well, that's up to Tiger," Palmer said. "I don't want to inject anything into something I don't really know enough about to talk about."

Oddly enough, Woods mentioned his father as the coach he ever had for his putting. Part of Woods' struggles lately have come on the greens, which is why he hasn't seriously contended.

"I went back to all of my old stuff that my dad and I used to work on," Woods said. "And that's when I felt that my stroke started becoming more sound, more solid, my speed became better. I don't know what that dude saw in my game, but he really knew putting and he knew my stroke. My dad really knew my stroke.

"I miss him for a lot more reasons than just the putting, but as far as bouncing ideas off of him and what I was feeling and what he would say, I do miss that, certainly."


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© 2011 The Associated Press

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