Met Arnie at Pinehurst #2 at the Hall of Fame Open
Kevin
Mitchell
1977

The year was 1977, being stationed at near by POPE Air Force Base, 3 fellow airmen and me decided to go watch the pro golfers play a practice round on Tuesday before the Tournament.  We were walking along the ruff on the Par-5 that led up to the Original Hall of Fame building that was located behind the green. As we were walking toward the green we noticed a golfer headed our direction, not wanting to get too close we stood back and watched, and after striking his shot, the golfer acknowledged our presence, and proceeded to walk over to us. As he got closer it became apparent that the golfer was no other than the great Arnold Palmer. He smiled and greeted us all with a handshake and because of our military haircuts he asked where we were stationed. We told him "over at POPE" and he continued to chat then asked where we were from. After 2 of us said we were from Pennsylvania, he became even more friendly and chit chatted the entire walk up the rough line of the par-5. We followed him for the rest of the front nine, and as he headed to the 10th hole we indicated we had to return to the base, but that were would be back for one of the official tournament rounds depending on our work schedule. Arnie waved us over for a departing handshake and he pulled me close to him holding a firm grip to my hand and he proceeded to ask if we had tickets to the tournament, which I felt too nervious to say no, so I said we did and he said that if we needed any tickets just let him know and he would get us what we needed. This informal unexpected meeting has forever been in my heart and I have shared this story with my boys several times. My only regret is not having a camera (no cellphones), leaving the meeting a memory I shall cheerish forever.