With this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Golf Guy and Birdie Bailey offer up personal thoughts on the King.
By GOLF GUY
I’ve never had the privilege of meeting Mr. Palmer.
No matter. A few awkward words from me would ruin the moment anyway.
But what does matter is that I got to stand next to him on the 18th green during the aptly named Arnold Palmer Invitational a few years back – as he waited to greet the new champion of his event.
There’s something to be said for standing next to greatness. And when I say greatness, don’t confuse that with celebrity. Standing next to someone from 'The Jersey Shore' is a joke. Standing next to the King is no joke.
His seven majors and 62 PGA Tour victories are incredibly impressive. But, somehow, they pale in comparison with his other contributions to the game – and life. His swashbuckling style ushered in golf on TV, which ultimately – many years later – ushered in Golf Channel to millions of homes worldwide. And, selfishly, gave me my dream job.
And then there’s the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.
Greatness is not how one can swing a club, but how swinging a club well can then lead to saving the lives of thousands of children. Arnie is certainly the leader in the clubhouse.
By BIRDIE BAILEY
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Arnold Palmer. Albeit brief, it was long enough to exchange a few pleasantries, shake his hand and snap a photo with him.
I’ve always approached celebrities mindful of their space and privacy. My exchange with Mr. Palmer was no different – I was mild-mannered and respectful of his time. But that exchange remains timeless in my mind and I understand Mr. Palmer’s everlasting imprint on the past and future of this game.
He was the James Dean of golf and roamed the fairways with the charm, class and charisma exemplary of royalty. His influence on the game transcended fairways and permeated the lives of millions.
I have nothing but the utmost respect for Arnold Palmer and feel privileged to have met him and felt the reach of his legacy. Not only was he one of the game’s greatest, he’s business savvy, charitable, worldly and he authored one of my all-time favorite quotes:
“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated … it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”
And if all of that's not enough ... is there any a more refreshing drink than an Arnold Palmer?