I was lucky enough to be a marshal at a GTE Senior PGA tournament in Tampa, Florida in the early 90’s. It was if I had won the lotto when given the task of escorting Arnold Palmer and his threesome, through the crowds helping them get from the tee area to the fairway.
That day, the other two in his threesome were Gary Player, and Gene Littler. Wow! I didn’t see much of them after that as Mr. Palmer was my assignment.
The first thing Mr. Palmer told me was to call him “Arnie”. He continued telling me that he had plenty of water and fruit on the cart and to help myself if thirsty or wanted a snack. He also invited me to ride in the cart or to walk the fairways with him if I so desired. So, off we went; and I quickly learned, first hand, why it is called “Arnie’s Army”.
The second day I was greeted with a hand shake and a “good morning, Tim” as Arnie came to the first tee – I was impressed - he remembered me.
Both days, we talked of his golfing and his love for the game, how he loved the crowds that come to watch him play, and other things that popped into our minds from time to time. My job, though, was to help him/them through the crowds, so basically, he decided when there would be conversation.
You hear stories of him being kind, polite, and friendly to everyone he met. Well, to that I can attest. He treated me as if we had been friends for years.
During those years, we were not allowed to bring cameras to the course, and camera phones didn’t become popular till around 2000, so I don’t have any photographs of that encounter. But, I will keep the memory of a true gentleman, who happened to be the “King” of golf, with whom I was privileged to “pal around” with for a few days - with me for a very long time.