At the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National, golfers honored the late Arnold Palmer by placing his golf bag on the first tee.
On Thursday morning at The Masters, golf once again honored Palmer. Fans were given ``Arnie’s Army’’ pins and tournament chairman Billy Payne escorted Palmer’s widow, Kathleen, to the first tee.
Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player hit ceremonial first tee shots without Palmer. There was a moment of silence, Payne honored Palmer with a speech and Palmer’s green jacket was draped on the lawn chair Palmer had rested in a year ago.
``Arnold was a great stickler for manners,’’ Player said. ``Which reminded me, on the first tee this morning, when he sat on the chair last year and they called his name, you know, a lot of people don’t stand up. But Arnold could hardly walk to the first tee and he put his arms like this, and he stood up like this (Player mimed Palmer lifting himself off the chair), because he had been taught to stand up. And he gave a little wave, and that was very touching to me, and I could see him doing it in that chair today. It’s funny how things come to your mind.’’
Nicklaus remembered how Palmer treated him well as a young golfer, even as Palmer’s fans jeered Nicklaus.
``Arnold was sort of the guy that made the tournament popular and took The Masters from being a tournament to being one of the four biggest events in golf,’’ Nicklaus said.
You can find podcasts with Michael Russo, Roy Smalley, Jon Krawczynski, Marcus Fuller, Ryan James and Viking Update publisher Tim Yotter at MNSPN.com, along with Nick Henry and company on the Minnesota Sports Fan Podcast.