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
“The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.
Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.
Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.
A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.
"Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."
Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."
He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.
Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.
“It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.
"The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.
In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).
“I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."
The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.
Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.
His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.
One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.
His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.
“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”
He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.
“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.
Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.
“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”
Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.
The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.
“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.
“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”
Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.
“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”