Palmer's Birthday


Courtesy of GolfWorld - By Bill Fields

Golf offering the lengthy competitive window (for many) that it does, a couple of generations of younger PGA Tour pros got the opportunity not only to see Arnold Palmer play, but to play with or against one of the sport's most magnetic figures in a tournament. It's striking, though, that two of the brightest lights in today's landscape, Rory Mcllroy and Rickie Fowler, both 22, weren't born when Palmer won for the last time on the Champions Tour, at the 1988 Crestar Classic. Palmer celebrated his 82nd birthday Saturday, and while this one passed much more quietly than his 80th, which was appropriately feted in 2009, it still offers another occasion to remember Palmer and his relevance to those golfers who have come after him. It is comforting to see players such as Mcllroy and Fowler (above, with Palmer), who are gallery favorites because they don't forget that the fans are there, that the fans make their lives possible, that the fans deserve a smile or a wink, that the fans like to see a golfer enjoying his work. That was something Palmer never forgot. The graciousness that came so naturally to Palmer on the course-and still does, in his life as businessman, tournament host, grandfather, elder statesman-is something any tour pro, man or woman, can aspire to. That was Palmer's present to them all.