While dining at Arnold Palmer’s Restaurant yesterday, members of the Saint Mary’s golf team and coaching staff received a rare treat – a chance to meet the man himself.
“We were dining at Arnold Palmer’s Restaurant last night and one of the guys asked the waiter how often ‘The King’ eats there,” said SMC head coach Scott Hardy. “The waiter was kind enough to let us know he was coming and arranged for us to meet him after he finished his dinner.
“Mr. Palmer mentioned that he played for a ‘little’ school called Wake Forest. I told him that we’d played against his alma mater and that peaked his interest in our team. He took the time to shake everyone’s hand and joked with Roman (Aragon) about his handicap.
“It was such an honor for our guys to meet a living legend who has accomplished what they dream of doing in their golf careers. He has always been known for taking a lot of time to meet and greet fans and that hasn’t changed over time. He was gracious and we really appreciated the effort.
“Meeting Arnold Palmer was a bucket list experience for me and I’m sure just about every golfer who has been lucky enough to meet him.”
Palmer won 92 national and international championships, 62 of them on the regular PGA Tour during his prime playing years. Most prominent among the professional titles were four Masters (1958-60-62-64), two British Opens (1961, 1962) and the memorable U.S. Open Championship at Cherry Hills in Denver in 1960. Palmer also represented the U.S. in the Ryder Cup Matches as either a player or captain seven times. Among the countless awards recognizing his golfing exploits and acclaim are “The Athlete of the Decade” for the 1960s by the Associated Press, the Hickok Belt Professional Athlete of the Year and Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year, both in 1960.