Arnold Palmer, my golf hero, yesterday received the Congressional Gold Medal. His accomplishments are many, his fan following tremendous. He is well deserving of this honor, only the 6th athlete to receive this Medal (and from an agreeing Senate and House).
Reading this story in the Chicago Tribune brought back the memory that I’ll never forget. It was the summer of 1963 and I stayed on the U of Illinois campus working a construction job between my junior and senior year. Arnie came to town to play with then football coach Pete Eliot and two other amateurs. I just had to go and watch. It was ringside seats all the way around the course, the crowd was light.
After a golf demonstration including how to slice and fade, on purpose, off we went to watch the foursome. At one point, I was right there, on the tee looking at Arnie. My trusty Bell and Howell camera, the one with the hand crank and made that click, click sound as it shot the film, was ready. It was absolutely quiet as I pointed the camera and let the film run expecting to see the Master hit a long one and getting it recorded.
Well the ole Bell and Howell kept click, clicking and ole Arnie just stood there addressing the ball. He knew that at some point my camera would run out of click, clicking. Sure enough it did and then Arnie let it fly!
I think he looked over at me after the shot. I’m sure he had a bit of a chuckle knowing what he did. But hey, what a day! My autographed book has given me some good golf tips through the years and my memory of the day is still pretty sharp.
Congratulations Arnie on all the you have done.