Wednesday, September 28, 2016
The world is divided into two groups – Golfers and the rest of us. Within the latter group are those who have of necessity mastered the art of zip-lip. “Do not talk about this particular sport, especially along the lines of negativism, as in “it's like watching grass grow.”
Arnold Palmer brought a group of non-golfers to appreciation of the sport by mastering a combination of technical skill and likability that no one else could achieve. How could you not like Palmer, whether you were part of his “Army” or just a general sports fan?
There is also the Pennsylvania tie for us. Arnie was proud of his Pennsylvania roots, so we were kinsman from that standpoint. Surrounded by wisecracking New York Giants fans in our retirement world, this more than offsets criticism that our state has little to be proud of beside the Liberty Bell. Aficionados genuflect in the direction of Arnie's hometown of Latrobe (which is, as you probably know, is about 10 miles northwest of Ligonier) home of Rolling Rock beer. A panelist on a beer judging contest once noted that RR had the “distinct aroma of goat urine.” No matter, 19 year old collegians playing shuffleboard at Dave's bar considered RR the nectar of the gods. It was ever so.
Tributes to Arnold Palmer, king of the links, showcase a recurring theme - his personal graciousness to everyone. He was a model for the Golden Rule of “do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” Golf lessons and endless talk about birdies and bogeys, hooks, shanks and whatever else fascinates golfers will have their moment, but one thing is for sure, the ever-lasting tribute to Arnold Palmer will be our memory of his warm smile, good manners on and off the course and respect for everybody else.
He taught a life lesson not just for golfers, but for all of us.