ATLANTA – One year has passed since the world – not just the sports world – lost Arnold Palmer, the king of golf. In the 364 days since, we have missed his touch, his kindness, his humility, his playfulness, his compassion, and mostly, his overall bigger-than-life, thumbs-up presence.
Arnold Palmer had a special gift. He made others feel good. There’s no debate: For 87 years, this planet definitely had global warming. He was born in the Great Depression in the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, and his name was Arnold Daniel Palmer.
The PGA Tour has continued to extend and celebrate the King’s legacy, not that it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Last September, days after his death, one of Palmer’s old Ryder Cup bags was placed on the first tee at the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine; in March, at Bay Hill in Orlando, where Palmer spent winters since the mid-1960s, more than 60 players took part in a “21 gun” salute on the practice grounds to start the Arnold Palmer Invitational; at last month’s Boeing Invitational in Seattle, home to a PGA Tour Champions event, a 787-8 Dreamliner flew overhead at Snoqualmie Ridge, with Palmer’s signature, colorful umbrella emblazoned on the belly of the plane. As people peered into a blue sky, the scene left lumps in many throats.