Arnold Palmer News: Archives
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April 16, 2007
Palmer a hit on HBO's The Sopranos
Arnold Palmer is used to being in the company of presidents and royalty, but Arnold Palmer and mob bosses? It happened Sunday on an episode of HBO's highly acclaimed crime show, "The Sopranos."
In the scene, boss Tony Soprano greets rival Little Carmine Lupertazzi at a local country club to discuss a recent mob hit. When the waitress asks Lupertazzi what he'll have for lunch, he orders some seared Ahi Tuna, mixed vegetables and says, "And bring me an Arnold Palmer."
Like the Emmy-winning show, the Arnold Palmer is itself a highly acclaimed drink invented by the golfer and favored in upscale spas, golf clubs and fine restaurants across the country.
Does this make Mr. Palmer a material witness to homicide? Chris Byrd, a partner of the Orlando-based Innovative Flavors, LLC, makers of Arnold Palmer Tee, says no. “They’d have trouble putting Mr. Arnold Palmer in the can over this one, but if I were a can of Arnold Palmer, I’d consider getting some legal representation.”
The refreshing Arnold Palmer is half iced tea and half lemonade and can be ordered online at www.arnoldpalmer.com or at www.arnoldpalmertee.com
Posted by crodell at 11:10 AM
April 13, 2007
Palmer and Harbour Town '69, a Perfect Match
The old veteran hadn’t won in 14 months and many said his best days were far behind him. The flashy tour rookie needed to make a good impression or risk being relegated to second-tier status in a PGA field crowded with other worthy aspirants.
From the very first, Arnold Palmer and Harbour Town Golf Links were a match made in Low Country heaven.
It’s hard to imagine now to the multitudes of tourists who flock to its magnificent beaches, and play golf on its world class courses, but just 38 years ago, Hilton Head Island, S.C., was a sleepy coastal island that was more marsh than magic.
Promoters say Palmer’s surprise 1969 victory at the first Heritage Classic literally put the island on the map. “Palmer saved us,” recalled John Gettys Smith in 1994. Smith was a public relations executive for Sea Pines Resort, the island tip development that became the model for hundreds of other coastal Southern gated communities eager to capitalize on northerners’ love for sunshine and golf. “His win brought us instant recognition.”
Harbour Town was the first golf course design that Jack Nicklaus, under the headline tutelage of Pete Dye, ever worked on. With its landmark lighthouse as the backdrop for the 18th green along Calebogie Sound, it remains one of the top golf courses in the country. But, as with many fledgling tournaments, it was having trouble attracting attention for the tournament, then held during the busy Thanksgiving weekend.
A last-minute withdrawal left promoters scrambling to fill a high-profile spot. They called Palmer. He agreed to play, but only on the condition he could land his plane at the still-under-construction airport. It was arranged and photographers snapped pictures of Palmer carrying his golf bag from his plane.
Columnist Jim Littlejohn of the Hilton Head News recalled in 1991 how veteran golf writer Charles Price told naysayers Palmer’s mere participation would assure success. Littlejohn wrote, “Everyone kept asking Price who’d be playing and he’d always say, ‘Nicklaus will play in it because he helped design it and with Nicklaus and Palmer, you won’t need anyone else.’”
Palmer did more than play. Coming off a four-week tour layoff, he vowed to put persistent putting woes “out of my mind or die trying.” In addition, he’d been doing 50 situps each evening and again in the morning to strengthen his ailing hip. A 1-under par 70 gave him a three-stroke lead going into the final day and brought with it a flood of national reporters to the remote island to write another series of euphoric “Palmer’s back!” stories.
He wound up fending off Richard Crawford and Bert Yancey, and did a mock stagger across the 18th green into the arms of Nicklaus before being given the $20,000 first place check. Pictures from the victory show a grinning Palmer holding the trophy with the skeleton of what was the still-unfinished landmark lighthouse in the background.
Smith later recalled: “Our little press tent was barely able to handle the huge surge of reporters from all over the country. But by Monday there were stories all around the world about Palmer’s big win at Harbour Town. It’s impossible to calculate what the Palmer win meant for Hilton Head.”
Posted by crodell at 04:17 PM
April 05, 2007
Palmer Tee Shot Opens '07 Masters
Arnold Palmer returned to The Masters Thursday to hit the ceremonial first tee shot, an honor previously bestowed upon revered champions such as Sam Snead and Byron Nelson. Dave Anderson of The New York Times writes: “His ball won’t go as far and probably not as straight as it did when he was winning the Masters every other year from 1958 to 1964, but who cares? Arnold Palmer will be on the first tee at Augusta National again, and that’s enough for anyone who remembers seeing him here when real soldiers at nearby Fort Gordon were the original enlistees in Arnie’s Army.”
"I was very impressed with all the people who came rushing through that gate when it opened," Palmer said. "It seemed like 20,000 people out there."
Palmer told reporters the competitive fires still burn, 52-years after as a rookie he played his first Masters round with the great Gene Sarazen.
“You realize it’s over, and it’s been my life for over 50 years,” he said. “It’s a hard pill to swallow. I’ll sit at home and watch on television from time to time,” referring to even the best of today’s touring pros, “and think, ‘You know, I could have done that better.’ ”
To view a video clip of the '07 tee shot visit www.masters.org
Posted by crodell at 09:43 AM
April 03, 2007
Arnold Palmer to Launch 2007 Masters Thursday
The question that has been posed to Arnold Palmer ever since and even before he played in his final Masters Tournament in 2004 -- Will you become the Honorary Starter? -- has been answered. Billy Payne, the new Chairman of the Masters and Augusta National Golf Club, announced Tuesday at a specially-arranged press conference that Palmer, a four-time winner of the prestigious tournament and an Augusta National member, will hit the opening shot of this year's event Thursday morning. A massive turnout is expected to witness the historic occasion. The announcement preceded Palmer's annual attendance at the Champions Dinner at Augusta National Tuesday evening.
Palmer will be just the sixth person to serve as Honorary Starter in the long history of the Masters, which began in 1934. Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod inaugurated the role in 1963. Byron Nelson and Gene Sarazen took over in 1981 and Ken Venturi filled in for Nelson in 1983. Sam Snead joined Nelson and Sarazen in 1984. The position has been vacant since Snead died following the 2002 Masters.
"The time was right to make this decision," said Palmer, who played in 50 consecutive Masters from 1955 through 2004. "As you know, Augusta is one of my favorite places and the Masters has meant so much to me personally throughout my career. I have always been treated so warmly there by the patrons. I hope in some way I can show my gratitude to the fans who have followed and supported me these many years."
"We are absolutely delighted that Arnold has accepted our invitation to become an Honorary Starter," enthused Payne in making the announcement at the Media Center. "This is wonderful news for the Masters and his legions of fans."
Posted by dgiffin at 03:22 PM