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Golf: Arnold Palmer - The Triumph of a Life Well-Lived

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“Palmer was James Dean in golf spikes back then. He had that rebel spirit over the ball, a go-for-broke style that made viewers lean into their TV sets.”
That’s from Randell Mell reporting on the death of the "King,” aka Arnold Palmer.

The King is dead
It would be nice to think there’s the possibility of someone in golf who could follow in the King’s footsteps however I have to remind myself he didn’t like the fact that people labelled him, “King” and therefore he’d be OK with me calling him, “Arnie!” Not the King or for that Mr Palmer.
To quote Horatio in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, "He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again," and reminds me of the first time I looked out and saw the man destined to be called “King”.

The times they are a changin'
It was the revolutionary 1960’s and Bob Dylan had advised us that the times they are a changin’ and I had accepted the fact that I'd have to change. I was never going to be a professional soccer player like my father and I’d found golf as a possible route to fame and fortune.

Little did I know that so soon after finding golf there would be someone who arrived on the scene who showed the way ahead for wannabe professional golfers. However Arnie didn’t fit the old-fashioned Scottish model and consequently at St Andrews at the 1960 Open Championship I chose to follow Peter Thomson, an Open Champion who fitted the model of what an Open Champion should look like.

Arnie and the anachronism
Wikipedia describes anachronism as, “A thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists, especially a thing that is conspicuously old-fashioned.”

Arnie’s appearance at the old-fashioned Open Championship was a wake-up call for the growing number of American professional golfers who thought making money was more important than attending a major.

Mike Walker writes, “Before Palmer came over to play in 1960, the British Open had fallen off the radar of American professional golf. Just a year before, at Muirfield in 1959, no American golf pros were in the field. Their reasons were simple: It was far away and it wasn't that profitable, even if you won (the purse was $1,250 versus the U.S. Open's $14,400).”

Alas the recent example of those same class of golfers declining to appear at the Olympics Games says a lot about history repeating itself. Therefore I’m inclined to think that, “I shall not look upon his like again.”

Here’s the links to Randell Mell and Mike Walker

Quote of the Day
 “You just treat people the way you want to be treated. That’s about as simple as I can put it.” – Arnold Palmer and why he lived a life well-lived.


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