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Arnold Palmer may finally end competitive golf

Arnold Palmer's competitive golfing days are rapidly sifting away.

After fading to a bleak 14-over 85 on Thursday in the opening round of the U.S. Senior Open, Palmer said he planned on playing in only three more Champions Tour events.

"I just played awful,'' the 75-year-old said.

He played his first nine holes in 6-over 41 and parred the next two holes, but then played the final seven in 8-over.

"I will play next week, for a lot of reasons, in Minneapolis, and I'll play Houston because of my association there, and probably the First Tee at Pebble Beach. And that's it. That's all I'll play,'' he said.

Asked if he had put any thought into playing on tour in 2006, he said, "I have no intentions of playing at all -- maybe a few charity events -- and that will be it.''

Pressed about not playing in any Champions Tour events, Palmer backed off.

"Well, I won't say no, but it's not likely that I'm going to play very much,'' he said.

Palmer, who turned pro 50 years ago, won 62 PGA Tour events. He energized the game, providing panache, emotion and color to a staid gentleman's game. Palmer's rivalry with Jack Nicklaus in the 1960s brought golf into the mainstream of American sports.

Now he finds it nearly impossible to avoid the frustrations that dog most high-handicappers at muni courses.

"Sure, I got frustrated,'' Palmer said. "I was probably foolish in thinking that I might play reasonably well this week.''


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