Arnie May Be Done but Memories Linger

By George WhiteApril 10, 2004, 4:00 pm
Arnold Daniel Palmer played his last competitive round at the Masters Friday. A throng of fans will have to follow someone else now. Many of them wrote e-mails following a column penned earlier this month. Here is a sampling of those who have been touched by him down through the years:
  • My father saw (Palmer) at a tournament at Whitemarsh C.C. outside of Philadelphia. He said there was a little kid trying to get across the bridge and Arnold saw him and all the adults were pushing the kid aside. Arnold went over to the kid picked him up and put him on his shoulders and helped him across the bridge.
    Dennis McMahon
  • Here is my almost 50-year-old Palmer memory: My now 82-year-old mother had been to the Panama Open. She could not stop talking about a young golfer she had seen that day. She took a small black and white snapshot of him. When I see that snapshot of Arnold Palmer, I think how fortunate my Mom was to have that memory to treasure.
    Jackie Isbell Johnston
    Murfreesboro, TN

  • I did see Mr Palmer play here in Mobile, Ala., at an early worthy benefit tournament in 1959 and 1960. He won both events. Later, I saw him play in Pensacola, New Orleans and Atlanta AC in 1976 at the US Open. Each time I stopped him to speak and he was as gracious as he now still is. He remembered Mobile fondly and gave me an autograph each time. He may not accept the 'King' mantle, but most of us old guys still say: 'Long Live The King'
    Bill Roberts
    Mobile, AL

  • I have met him (Palmer), played one round of golf with him in a pro-am years ago, and when my wife and I visited Bay Hill, he inquired if our breakfast was OK. How many other athletes, lodge owners or whatever, even give a damn if their guests are satisfied? He just exudes class in every action. He was, is, and will always be my idol for how a man should behave. God bless Arnold Palmer.
    Joel Goodman
    Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

  • I'm 58 years old and in my 50th year of golf. I happened to meet Mr. Palmer in Portland, Ore. It was at the Portland Country Club the last day of a tournament. I was over on the driving range when Mr. Palmer showed up. I introduced myself and asked if he would allow me to watch and ask him some questions after he finished. He agreed. After about 30 minutes or so, he finished and said, So where would you like to start?
    We chatted about his career, East Coast courses vs. West Coast, club manufacturers, and grips. I was just a young man in his 30s, a spectator, and a nobody to him. However, Mr. Palmer took the time to speak with me about something nobody had ever asked him about (his grips.) The word 'The Ambassador' fits perfectly. Ironically, when we saw each other at The Bob Hope Chrysler Classis some 10 years later, he remembered our conversation and me. He's quite a MAN....
    Larry Wright
    Citrus Heights, Ca.

  • I still remember Arnold Palmer joining the Eastman Chemical guys in their room at the Sedgefield Inn (in Greensboro, N.C.) to have a drink and visit with us on a Sunday night. We were complete nobodys who just offered him a free drink when we saw him in the hallway - and he showed up a hour or so later to take us up on our offer. That just blew my mind. He could not have been more friendly, down to earth, and gracious.
    Lee Keith
    Greensboro, NC

  • My fondest memory of Arnold Palmer came in a Seniors tournament in Lexington, Ky., in the mid-70s. The last day of the tournament turned out to be extremely hot and everyone was just overheated. At the end of the tournament I was in the parking lot of the hotel which was located at the golf course when Arnold came out and was immediately mobbed by probably 50-75 kids asking for an autograph. Arnold was completely soaked with perspiration and looked to be completely out of gas. But being the consummate professional and good person that I felt he was, he said to the kids, 'If you kids will let me go to my car and change my shoes, I will come back and take care of you all.' Well, I stayed around to see if Arnold was true to his word, and sure enough he came back in about 10 minutes and signed autographs until the last person was gone.

    Three years ago when I was at one of the Masters practice rounds I followed Arnold for the entire 18 holes. And guess what, he had not changed one bit from the time I watched him in person in Kentucky. He was extremely cordial to the crowd the entire round. In my estimation Arnold, whether he wants to be or not, is GOLF. I would have loved to have been his next door neighbor.
    Joe Lassiter
    Atlanta, GA

  • A few years back, I had a chance to follow Mr. Palmer, Jack, Chi Chi and Trevino at the U.S. Senior Open at Cherry Hills. What an amazing foursome! What an amazing day! Mr. Palmer signed my hat and chatted with me for about three minutes as though I was the only one there. Truly a day I will never forget. To me he will always be 'The King.'
    Bill Wood
  • I first heard of him in the early 60s from a priest who taught me how to play golf, and eventually sold me his clubs with paint on them for $2.00....a fee he knew I could come up with. Then he shared his golfing magazines, and urged some of us to try the game more. I stuck with baseball-basketball-football-track and field. In retrospect, I wish I'd given more attention to imitating Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player back then. They certainly served up a legacy of achievements, but behaved admirably while pursuing their dreams of winning professional tournaments.
    Bob Nash
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.