Close Encounters of the Arnold Palmer Kind

As I listened to one celebrity after another pay tribute to the recently deceased golfer, Arnold Palmer, yesterday afternoon, I recalled my own brief encounter with this legend of the links. 

For Christmas one year I’d purchased club house passes for Studly Doright and my dad to Arnie’s Bay Hill tournament in Orlando, FL. We lived in Melbourne, FL, at the time, so we were only an hour away from the course. I have to confess that when I purchased the tickets a part of me was secretly hoping that I’d get to attend at least one day of the tournament. As it happened I ended up using the passes more than Studly and Daddy did. 

Now, I’m not a golfer. I’m the furthest thing from a golfer anyone could possibly imagine. But I grew up watching the great golfers on television with my dad, and Arnold Palmer almost seemed like a member of the family. So much so that when he walked up beside me as I sat in the lower stands on the tenth hole at Bay Hill and took a banana from a bowl near the tee box that I just smiled and nodded and he smiled and winked back before teeing off.

It wasn’t until later that it hit me I’d been in the presence of greatness. In retrospect I wish I’d said something witty or golfy, but maybe, just maybe he thought to himself, “That was one cool chick. I should have offered her part of my banana.” We will never know. 

Author: nananoyz

I'm a semi-retired crazy person with one husband and two cats.

7 thoughts on “Close Encounters of the Arnold Palmer Kind”

  1. The wink is most likely a better memory than anything else. That’s something nice you had for a brief moment between the two of you.

    I remember standing in line outside a club in Maui to see Stephen Stills, and he briefly stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. I was within 20-30 feet from one of my all time music heroes. My then-wife kept pushing me, “go, go, speak to him!” But I didn’t. I just assumed he would have called me “bud” or “dude,” said a few quick platitudes, and then dashed back inside. In my mind we were pals, and I didn’t want reality to blow that fake impression I had built up over the years. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a cool memory. I didn’t know much about Arnold Palmer. He was just a name in the background on TV for me because I’ve never been that interested in sport (unlike my brother). I did have the vague impression that he was a nice guy, though. Sounds like I was right.

    Liked by 1 person

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