Hop in the Wayback Machine and head to last years Arnold Palmer Invitational. Jason Day took home the trophy and earned a celebratory handshake from the King. Palmer, suffering from a range of health problems at the time, was confined to a golf cart.
Palmer’s limitations didn’t stop him from offering Jason Day a post-victory drink, another lesser-known tradition at Palmer’s tournament. It would be the last Palmer would ever offer to the champion at his event, as he passed away six months later.
Reporters asked Day about his celebratory cocktail, and his answer is damn funny. Especially if you’ve ever had the misfortune of getting a tad bit more inebriated than you originally intended.
“To be able to win last year and have that celebratory drink with him and being the last person to be able to do that is a special honor.”
He wasn’t prepared for the strength of mixmaster Palmer’s drink, however.
“I felt like I was drinking a whole bottle of Ketel One, because that’s obviously (Arnold’s) favorite thing. I was on the Golf Channel and I felt absolutely hammered. I was sitting down and I’m dehydrated, I had a drink with him, and I’m going up there and I don’t know what I’m saying on the Golf Channel, but hopefully it turns out something decent.”
Now, before you call Jason Day a lightweight, remember he’d just spent five-plus hours walking around in the sun and probably had nothing in his stomach. Imagine taking a shot of Ketel One under such circumstances!
Day was impressed with tournament organizers’ efforts to enhance the quality of the tournament this year. Even though Arnold Palmer may be gone, the tournament shouldn’t suffer, instead it should thrive with his memory, which is exactly what it’s trying to accomplish.
“They seem like they have stepped up big time this year and made this event that much more special not only through the golf course conditions and through just visual of the grandstands and all that, but being able to have the ambassadors and seeing them today out in the opening ceremony…I think that’s a good idea going forward.”
He’s right. It would be a tragedy for the Arnold Palmer Invitational to spiral toward irrelevance, as the HP Byron Nelson has, since that legend of the game’s death.
But now all we can picture is The King getting Jason Day wasted before a Golf Channel interview. What a great memory to have and such a classic Arnie Palmie move. Even confined to a wheelchair, he still had a sense of humor and a taste for the juice.