(Photo via redretweleki.blogspot.com)
(Above: 2011 Masters Ceremonial Tee Shots)
It is truly a sad day for golf fans young and old. Arnold Palmer will not be hitting an honorary opening tee shot at The Masters this year. The opening tee shots are a staple of the aura that is The Master. It is sad to see Palmer stop this tradition because it shed light on his mortality. To put it bluntly, he’s getting old; they all are. Arnold is 86, Gary player is 80, and Jack is 76.
Now, as a 21 year old golfer I clearly didn’t see Palmer play, but that doesn’t take away the significance this has to all fans. To older golf fans, he’s like our Tiger Woods. He’s the guy that generation saw achieve greatness by beating the other greats of his era. As for younger fans, he’s that humorous old grandpa. He is the guy whose always smiling and just having a good time. Arnold Palmer loves life and he literally finds joy in making the fans have as much fun as he is. During fun events like the first tee shot, Palmer always cracks jokes and makes the crowd laugh.
This is not an obituary, nor is it meant to be gloomy, but it is definitely a little sad to see Arnold, Jack and Player age. With their best playing days far behind them, they still find fun in golf, and that is what makes them all so great to fans of all ages.
Arnold Palmer is not that crotchety old man waving his fists at young players. Right now older NBA players are criticizing Steph Curry (out of stubbornness and jealousy). Palmer has never been like that; he always praises the young players. Rather than shred people, he inspires confidence and growth. That sports fans, is how you truly leave a legacy.