Butler Cabin, Augusta National (c) Burgh Golfer

Friday, September 24, 2010

Meeting Arnold Palmer

Two week ago, I had the rare opportunity to meet “the” King - Arnold Palmer. Having grown up in Western PA and been around the game all of my life, this was a special thrill. I grew up about 25 miles from Latrobe and Arnie has always been part of local folk lore, not to mention he’s a Global Sports Icon. There were even stories of how Arnold played my home course on several occasions. They say he drove the green on the dogleg right par four 18th hole on his way to shooting 64. Whether that story is true or not doesn’t really matter, but it is fun to recount nonetheless.

I was playing in a member – guest event with a good friend of mine when the opportunity arose. As we walked off of the 9th green, Arnold was standing between the 9th green and 10th tee. He was there speaking to the Club Pro and a few other gentlemen. As we approached Arnie and the group, the feeling was a bit surreal. As a golfer and a fellow “Pennsylvanian” this was a special moment. It made me stop and think how cool it was that the greatest Global Ambassador of Golf grew up very near where we were standing. That one of the greatest players of all time and the man who revolutionized the Game of Golf as we know it today is standing before me.

They always say that Arnie is great about making eye contact. That he always looked people in the eye and that the connection they felt is what endeared people to him. As the Club Pro introduced our group, I had the opportunity to shake the King’s hand and say “hello Mr. Palmer it is an honor to meet you”. With a firm grip, he looked me in directly in the eye, and with a big smile, said “it is a pleasure to meet you as well.” Our group exchanged a few words and Arnold made a few jokes, still showing his wit before we moved on. Needless to say, this was one experience in golf I will never forget.

Source: Photo: James Drake/Sports Illustrated

Have you ever met a famous golfer? Which players would you like to meet?

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to meet Happy Gilmore - he's famous, right?