Palmer expects Tiger to be a force in future majors

Thu Apr 3, 2014 5:06pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - Arnold Palmer said on Thursday he expects Tiger Woods to bounce back from his recent surgery for a pinched nerve in his back and once again challenge to win major championships.

Palmer, a seven-time major champion, said that while he did not know the specific nature of the surgery he felt optimistic about Woods's golfing future.

"Tiger is in such good physical condition, and has been through his life, that they must know they're doing the right thing by doing the surgery," Palmer, 84, said on a conference call promoting a documentary on his life that will be aired on the Golf Channel.

"He is also determined enough in his personality and his well-being that he will overcome any of the problems that might be created physically.

"Do I think he'll be a potential player to be worried about? Yes ... and I think the potential for him to win future major championships is still very real."

Woods withdrew from last month's Arnold Palmer Invitational, an event he's won eight times, because of his back pain and has been stuck on 14 majors since winning the 2008 U.S. Open.

Palmer is credited with helping to popularize the sport as his daring style of play and charisma spawned huge throngs of fans that became known as "Arnie's Army" just as the growing medium of television began its love affair with sports.

After his serious days as a competitor, Palmer, a winner of 62 PGA Tour titles during an illustrious career, helped create a channel dedicated exclusively to the game he loved.   Continued...

Arnold Palmer of the U.S. reacts after hitting his tee shot during the ceremonial start for the 2013 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 11, 2013. REUTERS/Phil Noble