Arnold Palmer News: Archives
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July 27, 2007
Rolex honors Palmer, Nicklaus, Player
The world's premier timekeeper fetes golf's Big Three
Rolex, the name synonymous with elegance, craftsmanship and quality, found time this week to honor three golf legends who exude those same characteristics.
Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were in Geneva, Switzerland, to celebrate what is, perhaps, the longest on-going relationship in modern sports history. The three golfers have been associated with the 102-year-old watchmaker for nearly half its existence.
"Like you, we at Rolex honor excellence and achievement," said Rolex managing director Patrick Heiniger. "We equally honor the humor and humanity that each of you radiates. It is thanks to that magical mix that we are here together so many years down the road.
"What we share transcends our association through sport and is rooted in the timeless values that each one of you celebrates in your daily life, be it through your philanthropic work, your business activities, your passions, your hobbies.”
Palmer and the business manager for all three golfers, the late Mark McCormack, first met the late Andre Heiniger, Patrick’s father and then Rolex’s managing director, while on a business trip to Japan in 1961, and the relationships grew from there. Nicklaus and Player were presented with Rolex watches to mark their U.S. Open victories in 1962 and 1965, respectively, and Palmer became Rolex’s first golf ambassador in 1967.
Joining the Big Three were their wives and two other world-class sportsmen and Rolex ambassadors from the same era, the Grand Prix racing champion Sir Jackie Stewart and the Olympic and World Cup champion skier Jean-Claude Killy. They were all presented gold Rolex GMT Master II watches to mark the occasion.
The guests were also given a tour of watchmaker's factory prior to a ceremony in Rolex's Andre Heiniger Auditorium. A video of the Big Three created especially for the occasion was shown before Patrick Heiniger spoke and recognized the Big Three in these words:
“In 1960, Arnold gave new life to the British Open and made it a championship never to be missed by the best players. As a result he created the modern Grand Slam.
“In 1965, Gary overcame all odds to be the third golfer ever, and the first of his generation, to win all four of the major golf championships in his career.
“In 1986, Jack proved that he was indeed the golfer of the century, winning the Masters at 46 years of age, to increase his total to 18 majors, five more than the great Bobby Jones.”
After the ceremony there was luncheon in Rolex’s executive dining room for all attending, and that the tour of the Rolex facilities was continued. In the evening, Heiniger entertained the Big Three and their wives with a private dinner to conclude their visit.
That was only part of a whirlwind week that saw Palmer and wife Kit depart The Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe in his Cessna Citation X on July 22 at 5 a.m. Accompanying the aviator was chief pilot Pete Luster and his wife, Mary. The flight was accomplished with just one refueling stop, in Newfoundland.
The group spent two days in Prato, Italy, near Florence where Palmer stopped at the Golf Club Le Pavoniere where club members reveled in the company of a man they've long admired.
"It was a great day spent with a legendary golf champion," said club president Gianni Hills. "We were able to follow him through 18 holes and it's something none of us will ever forget."
Posted by crodell at 10:51 AM
July 12, 2007
Arnold Palmer Becomes Great Grandfather
A happy day for the Palmer family.
Arnold Palmer's granddaughter, Katie (Katherine Ann) Spears, and her husband, Parker, are the proud parents of Charlotte Winifred Spears, born in the early morning hours of Thursday, July 12, in Asheville, North Carolina. It’s the first grandchild for Katie’s parents, Roy and Arnold’s daughter Amy Saunders, who live at Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida. The parental grandparents are James and Sue Spears of Charlotte, N.C. The baby weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces and was 19 inches long at birth.
Posted by crodell at 12:28 PM
July 11, 2007
HOFs honor Palmer
Late June became "Honor Palmer" week in three different states, adding to an already illustrious list.
Communities and philanthropic organizations have, through the years, been known to host Arnold Palmer days. But three prestigious groups combined in late June to hold what could have been called “Honor Palmer Week.”
That’s when Palmer was inducted into two Halls of Fame and honored by another in three different states.
“I was extremely honored to be recognized by these worthy and historic organizations,” Palmer says. “And it was great, as always, to get to spend some special evenings with some old friends and to make a bunch of new ones.”
Palmer was at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver on June 22 as the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame paid homage to his illustrious career. That same night he dispatched long-time assistant Doc Giffin to a Pittsburgh-area hotel to accept in his stead the honor of being inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League Hall of Fame’s inaugural class.
And three days later, he flew to Pinehurst to be inaugurated into the the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame, an occasion that caused Winston-Salem Journal reporter John Dell to write in advance: “It seems hard to believe that there’s a golf hall of fame that doesn’t include Arnold Palmer. But right now, the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame does not. That will change Monday, when Palmer is enshrined at the hall in Pinehurst.”
A perusal of the “Achievements page at http://www.arnoldpalmer.com/ALLARNIE/achievements3.aspx on this website shows Dell’s observation to be astute. It is surprising there are still Halls of Fame that have not inducted Palmer. Since 1974 when he became a charter member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, inducting Palmer or otherwise honoring him has been a popular choice for golf organizations around the country.
The list of HOF’s with Palmer busts and memorabilia includes The PGA Hall of Fame in Palm Beach Gardens (1980); The Ohio Golf Hall of Fame (1992); The All-American Collegiate Golf Hall of Fame/Man of the Year (1984); The Phoenix Open Hall of Fame; The Tri-State PGA Hall of Fame (2002); The Wake Forest Hall of Fame (1971); The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (1988).
Palmer is also a member of the Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania, Westmoreland County, Cambria County, North Carolina and Florida sports halls of fame.
Posted by crodell at 01:47 PM