Laughter, tears and memories were shared during a touching memorial service for Arnold Palmer.
1,000 people crammed into the Basilica at St. Vincent College on Tuesday morning to remember the King. Another 5,000 watched the service via closed circuit at other locations on the campus.
Amongst those attending were some enormous figures in the golfing community. Rickie Fowler arrived carrying the Ryder Cup, and was accompanied by fellow members of the U.S. team Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and captain Davis Love III.
Present were fellow Wake Forest alums Curtis Strange, Jay Haas, Billy Andrade. Past Major winners Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Hale Irwin, Mark O’Meara, Fuzzy Zoeller, Craig Stadler, and Mike Weir. Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino and Tom Watson all arrived a couple of hours early.
There were countless stories of Arnold’s wonderful character. As reported by Jamie Diaz, writing for Golf Digest:
“Peter Jacobsen, whose impersonation of Palmer testing the wind by plucking a chest hair and flicking it into the air is perhaps golf’s greatest set piece, remembered how the players made Palmer cry by presenting him with a cake at Bay Hill in 1991 after he’d made the cut at age 61. But Jacobsen teared up as he told the story.”
The most touching tribute came from Arnold’s grandson, Doug Saunders. He spoke of how Arnold would pick up his phone, no matter the time or the place, and answer with the words “where are you.” Here he recounts one such phone call:
“Where are you?” Saunders asked, changing the normal roles..
“I’m with the president,” Palmer replied, a response Saunders couldn’t understand. “The president of what?”
“The United States,” Palmer said. Saunders was puzzled. “Grandpa, why did you answer the phone?”
“Well, I wanted to talk to you,” Palmer stated.
What more can you say about Arnold Palmer? Legend.