Arnold Palmer, 84, one of the most enduring symbols of one of golf's greatest events in the Masters, told reporters this week that his success at Augusta National may have hurt him psychologically.
As the Masters tees off on Thursday in Georgia without the game's biggest name, Tiger Woods, Palmer is being recognized for his last Masters victory 50 years ago with a three-day documentary on the Golf Channel, reported The Associated Press
Palmer told reporters that he may have lost that "extra gear" after winning the Masters four times over seven years.
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"It may have caused a letdown and caused me more than I had anticipated," said Palmer. "Had I had the same driving desire to win before, I might have won a few more Masters or a few more Opens or a couple PGAs, who knows. Psychologically, it affected me."
Palmer told the AP that Woods, who has grabbed 14 PGA majors, including four Masters, may be going through the same struggles mentally.
"There is a drawback that relates to myself a little about the psychological aspects of the game and the fact that you've won and you've won the tournaments that you were working to win, and that is still there," Palmer said of Woods. "It's going to be he's going to have to overcome that. He's going to have to overcome the fact that he won as much as he did, and he's going to have to refresh that in his mind and his psychological approach to the game. If he can do that, I see no reason in the world why he can't come back and be as good a player as he ever was."
Palmer told Golf.com
that he probably played some of the best golf of his career during his last Masters victory in 1964.
"It was like winning the U.S. Open at Cherry Hills," said Palmer. "It had something to do with the fact that I got over a hump. I climbed over the hill, and I satisfied some of the deep desires and ambitions that I had."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported
Wednesday that Palmer will likely have surgery to relieve pressure caused by spinal stenosis after the Masters. The Post-Gazette wrote that Palmer has suffered from back problems for some time.
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