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Arnie May Be Done but Memories Linger

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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    Related links:
  • Arnold Palmers 50th Masters
  • Full Coverage - The Masters Tournament
  • Masters Photo Gallery