Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Arnie!

From Falcon and Dove, we wish you the happiest of 80th birthdays, Mr. Palmer. It would be impossible to put into words all the respect, love, and deep appreciation we have for you. We are proud that you are from our region, and honored at the times that we have had the opportunity to meet with you, honor you, and in Dove’s case, walk 18 holes with you.

A ball you autographed for her sits in high esteem on the bookshelf of our living room, surrounded by all the medals, awards, trophies and plaques that she was inspired to win in part because of your gentle but firm guidance to youth in the southwest PA region. To begin to talk about your influence, those who did not know your humble beginnings must understand what you overcame to be the king of the game of golf…and so much more.

The world is a better place because you have graced us with your presence. You have always been kind to everyone I have seen, and over the years, there have been many. Your influence in the world of golf is only matched by your generosity to children in regards to their health and well being. You have raised more money on their behalf than I can count, and you may never know how truly and deeply loved you are by so many you have never met.

Dove and I have marshaled many matches, and you have been a part of many of those events. Our volunteer time was always made better by your kind words of appreciation and thoughtful time spent with everyone you encountered.

My daughter (Dove) has said that one of the highlights of her life was having the honor of being the standard bearer at the 66th U.S. Senior PGA Championship at Laurel Valley with you, Fuzzy Zoeller, and Larry Nelson at your tribute. Mike Reid won, but we thought you were the champion of the week. I walked with your group the entire 18 holes that day, and saw that birdie! It was a fantastic day, and made the marshal work the rest of the weekend like a breeze. The weather was cool during the week of the practice rounds, but the tournament days were gorgeous. I watch the highlight reels they show on the Golf Channel (which couldn’t have happened without you) and marvel at how perfect that day was. My daughter looked more like 12 instead of the 16 she was at the time, delighted like a child at Christmas, watching every move you made.

From both of us and so many more, we wish you Happy Birthday! May you have many healthy, hearty, and happy more.
Falcon and Dove

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