"Tony, Arnold Palmer is walking up to us right now." My friend, Gregg, uttered those words as I stood over a putt while playing at Forest Hills Country Club in Augusta, GA in April of 2006 during Masters Week. I could immediately tell my friend was not joking by his tone. As I turned around, there he was, standing on the apron of green, with the biggest smile, dark tan and silver hair. Just as my eyes and mind were catching up to one another, he said, "fellas, you don't mind if I interupt your game for a few minutes do you?" It was at this point that I reached my hand out and said "Oh my God, Mr. Palmer, a pleasure to meet you." As he walked up onto the green, he explained to us that his design company was hired to re-design some of the greens at Forest Hills and needed to check out the green that we were on at that moment. They say timing is everything........
Mr. Palmer was only in our presence for five minutes or less but thats all it took for us to realize that we were in the presence of greatness. Not greatness is the celebrity sense, but greatness in the human sense. Mr. Palmer was real. He was genuine. He was down-to-earth.
We took our pictures, talked for a minute or two, and then he was gone. Holy cow. Here I was, 39, first trip to the Masters, and now having a chance encounter with this incredible person. It was amazing.
I have told this story countless times and never get tired of reliving it. Meeting Mr. Palmer in person that day in April will forever be part of my life and I feel so blessed to have been in the right place at the right time.