The death of Arnold Palmer has brought an outpouring of warmth from anyone who has encountered him or otherwise calls themselves part of “Arnie’s Army.”
Our Special Edition dedicated to Arnold Palmer elicited some amazing stories from our readers. We wish to share them with you.
This heartwarming story from Dr. Frank Kasman will put a smile on your face:
I met the King at Pebble Beach during the Crosby in 1967 while I was in the Air Force and stationed in Sacramento. It was a cold and windy Friday and it was raining in sheets and Arnie’s ball plugged in the fairway about 250 yards from the tee box. We all (maybe 15 patrons) went out to help find the ball and after we all crawled around on our knees and finally found the “entry” hole, we waited for an official to come and let him “clean and place” his ball for the next shot. On another hole, someone named Nicklaus had just hit onto the green near the ocean at the 6th hole and the waves splashed up so badly that his ball was washed into the Monterey Bay. The screaming and complaining to the PGA guys ended with play being called for the day.
Arnie’s caddie told us all about it and after we assured ourselves and Arnie that we could pick up his ball and leave, we got on one of the carts they sent out to pick up the golfers to take them back to the Lodge. Arnie asked my wife and I if we wanted to ride back to the Lodge with them. We got on the cart and he noticed that we had a thermos bottle and he asked what was in it. We had hot cocoa and he begged us to let him have the cocoa. He didn’t drink it…his hands were so cold and frozen from the wind and rain…he just poured the cocoa over and over his hands and thanked us again and again for the cocoa.
Many years later, I ran into him at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas for the Byron Nelson and came to his table where he and Mark McCormack, his business manager were having breakfast. He said he remembered me, needed help about where and when. All I said was “cocoa and Pebble Beach” and he went crazy…introducing me to Mr. McCormack and having me join them for breakfast. He had to leave to get to the course, but he instructed Mark to get me Clubhouse passes and get me into the locker rooms and inside the ropes……We did that later in the week…Just the Greatest. What a Gentleman and Legend for the Game…really THE KING. I have tears in my eyes just writing this to you for you to share with your readers.
And this from Global Golf Post reader Dan:
I’m one of the 1,400 plus volunteers who work at “The King’s” tournament at Bay Hill every year. My daughter was treated for an “at risk” pregnancy at Winnie’s hospital, the result of which is my delicious and beautiful 9-year-old granddaughter.
I can’t imagine what this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational will be like without the King circulating around the course every day of the event. I can assure you that all of us volunteers will give this tournament all that we have in honor of this unarguably GREAT MAN!
Thanks for sending this to all of your subscribers. You can never overstate the impact this champion has had on the golfing world and, almost or maybe more so on his charitable endeavors that impact so many people who have never struck a golf ball in their lives.
Emerson Johns writes:
What an amazing person. I’ll never ever forget him.
In 1984/5 I took my 8-year-old son Jeff to Augusta for the Masters. This was a Wednesday. After walking around the course for a few hours they were about to begin the Par 3 Tournament. I took Jeff there.
On one of the holes, Arnie was about to tee off and I suggested to Jeff that when he was walking past us that he needed to slip under the ropes and run up to him and ask for his autograph. I gave him a scorecard and pencil.
Jeff said he wouldn’t do that with all the marshals and fans all over the place. He said we’d get kicked out. 🙂 I told him I’d get kicked out but not him. LOL
Anyway, Arnie hit his tee shot and was walking up the fairway. He got to where we were and the crowd was yelling and cheering Arnie on. Then Jeff slipped under the ropes and ran out to Arnie. The crowd went crazy. They were yelling and screaming at Jeff to get off the course. All kinds of boos.
Jeff ran up to Arnie and said…….Mr. Palmer may I please have your autograph? Arnie stared at him and smiled. He picked him up and did a couple 360’s with him. He gave him his autograph. Jeff started running back to me and the crowd went ballistic. They were cheering like crazy. From boos to cheers in 2 minutes. He ran under the ropes and he showed me the autograph. Arnie then waved at me.
The security guard came over. He said you know I should kick you off the course right now……but how can I with what Arnie just did and how the crowd is reacting. But please promise. Don’t you ever do this on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. 🙂
I never forgot this experience with Arnie. Sometimes I laugh and sometimes I get tears when I think back.
How many golfers would treat a fan running inside the ropes like Arnie did? Then again, how many golfers are like Arnie? He was a one-of-a-kind treasure. He will be forever missed.
*Got a story of your own? Email Rob Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org