Arnold did it five years ago.
'It was a lifelong dream to play the British Open,' Palmer told us recently. 'I never wavered from that. From the day I started playing golf as a young amateur, I read Jones' book and thought about what he had done over there. And I watched Walter Hagen when he was over there and it just became a lifelong dream of mine to go and play at the British Open.'
The King fell a shot short of Australian Kel Nagle in 1960 at St. Andrew's, but came back to win the British the next two years. His zeal for the Open Championship spurred more Americans to make the transatlantic trek, and for that the golf loving Brits are eternally grateful. Palmer is revered there.
In 1995, the Scots said thanks. Fred Vuich is a photographer for Golf Magazine, and he recalls the day Arnie walked across the Swilcan Burn.
'There was a lot of anticipation that day,' he recalled. 'It was the Friday of a major, which is kind of uneventful, but you could just feel the enthusiasm building. And when Arnie got to the 18th, it was pretty special. I grew up in Western Pennsylvania so Arnie was a boyhood hero of mine. So this was kind of like Babe Ruth's last appearance in Yankee Stadium. And when he started to cross the bridge, he turned and waves hit hat, and then started to go again and the group of photographers hollered at him and he stopped and paused so that we could get some more photos. And then on the green, it was almost like he didn't want to putt out. He lingered a bit longer than he normally would have after he holed out. He acknowledged the crowd and all too quickly it was ended. It was kind of sad.'
Vuich will be there this week to capture Jack's crossing. That, too, figures to be somewhat sad, knowing that an era's coming to a close.