Today is a sad day. Arnold Palmer has died. Those golf fans out there that watched the opening ceremonies for The Masters back in April knew something was wrong when he wasn’t well enough to participate in the ceremonial opening of the tournament with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
I have a short story to relay about him that I think you might enjoy.
Back in the 70’s and 80’s my parents used to make an annual pilgrimage to The Crosby Clambake (as the AT&T at Pebble Beach was known back then). My mother had lived in Carmel, CA where the tournament was played during some of her single years and still had some friends in the area. They’d take the weekend, attend the tournament and spend some time with old friends.
I don’t remember exactly what the year was when they came back and had a story to tell! On the last day of the tournament after a day of walking the Pebble Beach golf course following their favorite movie stars and golfers that made the cut, they decided that they needed to relax a little.
For those of you that don’t know the course, take a look at this overhead view of the 18th hole. You’ll notice that not far off the fairway, opposite the ocean, there are several houses.
As my parents were walking along that side of the fairway, a fit of boldness overtook them and they decided to take a seat at a table on one of the outdoor patios at one of these homes! Nobody was home as far as they could tell and, since they’re good people, they knew that wouldn’t be doing any harm. They opened a bottle wine and started watching the people stroll by and enjoyed the beauty of the course and the atmosphere of the tournament.
A large, burly man, that looked like a bouncer at a rough bar opened the door from the house to the patio, stepped outside, and asked, “Mr. Palmer would like to know what you’re doing on his patio.”
Uhhhh…. right. Check please!
Well, you can imagine that my parents were a little tongue tied, and started to explain that they were tired, and of course they would leave, and they meant no harm, it was just such a beautiful day and beautiful spot… when Arnold Palmer stuck his head out and said “don’t worry about it folks. Enjoy your wine” while flashing his famous smile at them. So, they did and had a fantastic story to tell.
Rest in peace Mr. Palmer. I hope you’re filling out a foursome with Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, and Bobby Jones right now.