March 13, 2017
This week will mark the first Arnold Palmer Invitational since Arnold’s passing in September. One of the greatest golfers in history, he was also known for his philanthropy, business acumen and love of flying. A lifelong ambassador for the sport of golf, Arnold truly grew the game through his passion, sportsmanship and competitive spirit.
Our late founder, Joe “J.B” Carr played countless rounds with Arnold over the years – they knew each other for 60 years – and would meet up whenever Arnold was in Ireland. Although extremely competitive, both men were known for their sportsmanship.
J.B.’s son Roddy remembers one story in particular that exemplifies how down to earth Arnold was. “Arnie and my father both attended the 100th anniversary of the Open Championship in St Andrews back in 1960. They went to get ice cream and were relaxing, just looking out over the Old Course when a tour group of Americans pulled up. They could hear the tourists saying things like ‘That guy eating ice cream looks like Arnold Palmer,’ before finally one of them got the courage to ask if it was, in fact, him. Arnold said yes and proceeded to take pictures with the group. Publicly, Arnold was this superstar, but to my dad he was always just Arnold from Pennsylvania.”
Arnold almost earned his first Open Championship title that year, but Australian Kel Nagle eked out a one-stroke victory. Arnold went on to win the next two Open Championships back-to-back in 1961 and 1962. His first Open Championship win at Royal Birkdale was one of the most meaningful of his career. After the victory, Arnold said, “I wanted this championship more than anything in my life, but anything you want real bad is awfully hard to get.”
One of the most memorable shots of the tournament came on the 16th hole. Arnold’s drive had landed at the bottom of a sandy bank and was buried in blackberry bushes. Instead of hitting into the fairway, Arnold used a six-iron to smash his ball onto the green. He went on to win the tournament by a single stroke. A plaque marks the site of this famed shot to this day.
The 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational takes place March 13 – 19 at Bay Hill Championship Course in Florida.
For an unforgettable journey to some of Arnold’s old stomping grounds, get in touch now.