It's been a tough year for legends in sports, with Gordie Howe, Muhammad Ali and Arnold Palmer all gone, I've only been to a few golf tournaments over the years, but I do remember being part of Arnie's Army at the U.S. Open in Oak Hill in the late 1960s. He was always my favorite golfer.
I played golf with a guy who had a really funny story about Arnie. Let's call the person Mike.
Mike had the most unusual swing I've ever seen on a golf course. He turned the clubhead 90 degrees inward on address, so that a normal swing would have resulted in hitting the ball with the top of the club. Somehow, he went through various motions that make Jim Furyk's swing look like Ernie Els', and smacked the ball long distances. I have no idea how he did it, but it was impressive.
Mike was a businessman, and some time ago he played in the Milwaukee Open's pro-am. He's on a tee, getting ready to hit, but looks over to the next fairway and sees Arnold Palmer looking his way. Talk about pressure! In spite of that, Mike takes his normal swing and clobbers the ball, and then moves quickly down the fairway.
After the round, Mike went to a reception for all the players. And who comes up to him but ... Arnold Palmer. Mike thought to himself, "Oh, boy, he's going to give it to me for my swing." Sure enough, Arnie says, "Were you the guy I saw hitting the ball on the fifth tee today?" Mike says sheepishly that yes, he was the one.
Arnie smiles and says, "That was one helluva drive," and patted him on the shoulder with a smile.
There will never be another Arnold Palmer - he made the sport cool, and he made it much more popular with his personal magnetism.
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