By Brentley Romine, Golfweek
Arnold Palmer is on the cover of the new Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 video game, which will allow gamers to play as some of the greatest legends in golf – including Woods, Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
Palmer has been involved in the promotion of the game, including filming commercials with the likes of Woods, Lee Trevino and former NFL star Marshall Faulk.
Here’s a Q&A with Palmer, who talked about the game, the popular Rumble advertisement and Tiger’s chances at this year’s Masters:
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How did this come about, you participating in the video game?
We’ve been looking at this video game for some time and of course we were very aware of Tiger’s involvement and what is happening with that. We’ve been conferencing about how we would do this and of course they asked me if I would do it and I very happily joined them.
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What feedback have you gotten back on the game so far?
Everyone is very excited about it. The fact that you can go back and do just about anything you want with the game and you can play where you want to play, you can select your opponents, and the fact that it works as well as it does is something that will keep history alive for the game and for the people who are interested in golf to that extent. I think that’s something that is very valuable.
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Speaking of history lessons, what does it mean to you to have a kid playing this game, playing as you, when a few years ago he might not have even known who you or Jack Nicklaus were?
I think it’s wonderful for these young people to have the opportunity to see what happened in the past and come right up to speed with the present day on these games. Personally I think that I’ll have some fun doing it myself and enjoying seeing what has happened and what will happen in the future.
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How much fun was it to do the Rumble advertisement for the game and is it true that you did all of your own stunts?
Well, it was fun. Tiger was great, Lee (Trevino) was great . . . and of course we all laughed. And I did my own stunts, yes. I haven’t told anybody this, but I was an instructor in judo and personal conduct in the service, so I know a little bit about it, and it was fun for me to get back into it.
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The LPGA Tour is in the game for the first time. How big is that for the growth of the game to have women’s golf in a video game?
I think what we’ve done is something that is very exciting and will cause excitement for a lot of young people. . . . It will be something that will bring young people along in the game a lot more actively than we’ve had in the past. It will be exciting to watch and see the results of what happens.
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Night golf is another new feature in the game. How much night golf have you played?
I haven’t played a lot of night golf, but I have played and of course there are now places where you can do that. I think that’s pretty exciting and it will continue to be exciting because of the time constraints on the game of golf and the fact that there isn’t enough daylight hours for people to do everything they want to do.”
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How true are the likenesses of the courses in the game, in particularly Augusta?
With the opportunity to see Augusta (in the game), it’s going to be a great opportunity for everybody who is enjoying the game of golf and the fact that they can see what really happens in a major championship, and Augusta being the prime of all of that, is . . . an opportunity for people to get the feel for what happens at Augusta.
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What do you think we’ll see at Augusta this year, especially after Tiger showed such good form in winning at Bay Hill?
I’ve been watching Tiger since he was a little boy and kind of come along with him, and right now I think that his game is as good or better than it’s ever been. He is more within himself. He can hit the ball a long way. He’s very methodical about his approach. And certainly he played so well here at Bay Hill that getting a little time now to recoup and get ready for Augusta, I think that he’ll be a major threat at Augusta.
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Have you played a golf video game before and what are your thoughts about the ever-increasing reality of the game now?
If you play the game, I think that’s one of the most exciting things about it, that you can get into the realization that it is so close to what we are used to (in real life). . . . I’ve only played a video game once and that’s been some time ago. I will be taking it up more actively in the near future. That’s one of the ways I can keep my game up to speed.
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When you get on the game, will you use it to practice your opening tee shot Thursday at Augusta?
I’m doing that as we speak. I’ll be doing that today, getting ready for the opening tee shot Thursday morning and of course prior to that I’ll be playing the par-3 contest with Jack (Nicklaus) and Gary (Player).
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Do you have any thoughts about how the game-play changes throughout the game based on the equipment that was used during that time period?
That will be something that will be noted with a great interest. They are now hitting the ball so much further than they did in the early days, and of course all the equipment has changed. You know, we used persimmon drivers and golf balls that were really a lot slower than the balls are today. So all those things will be a part of the game and be something that people will have to adjust to. They’ll then become more aware that the game has sped up quite a lot distance-wise. And another thing we don’t talk too much about is the condition of the golf course today versus 40 years ago. The conditions of the golf courses that we are playing are immaculate compared to the conditions we played in many years ago. All of that is going to have an effect on the game and how it’s played.
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What’s it like to see yourself at the Masters from five decades ago in the game? What goes through your mind?
I often think id like to go back and do the whole thing all over again, but it’s fun seeing what’s going on and knowing what has happened in the past. . . . To be able to see and compare all the things in the game is fantastic.
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