By Sal Bommarito
I was deeply saddened by the passing of Arnold Palmer yesterday. I offer my deepest sympathies to his family and his friends. The golfing world has lost an icon, a highly successful professional athlete who was swashbuckling, classy and generous.
I’m fortunate to have two great friends who enable me to play Cypress Point Club each year prior to the Pebble Beach Pro Am tournament in February.
A few years ago, after finishing a round of golf, my playing partner Jon and I were having a bite in the small restaurant adjacent to the Cypress clubhouse. We were chatting about our exploits on the course when Jon began to stumble over his words. I couldn’t understand his gibberish and told him to speak up.
His response was to point over my shoulder. I turned around and the great Arnold Palmer was standing behind me waiting patiently for me to stop talking so he could introduce himself- as if The King ever needed an introduction.
Jon and I paid homage to the golfing superstar, which he brushed off by asking us how we were doing. I just played Cypress and was chatting with Arnie Palmer. How bad could I be doing?
The point of the story is that Mr. Palmer was the consummate gentleman. Even after winning 62 PGA tournaments and seven majors he didn’t want to interrupt our conversation. I was so impressed by his relaxed demeanor and social grace.
I met a bunch of famous people in my day, but this encounter topped them all. I will always remember Mr. Palmer for his contributions to golf and to social causes.
Rest in peace, Arnie. Your Army misses you already.