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The Orchard’s Precious Timeless Encounter with Arnold Palmer

CRD with Arnold Palmer

By Conrad Benitez

“The King is dead.  Long live the King!” goes the old announcement of a British king’s demise.

But to my mind, Arnold Palmer will always be the KING.

When we dropped by Bay Hill a few years ago to hopefully ask for a hi-res digital picture of him, we chanced upon him getting out of his golf cart after a round of golf.  Running to greet him and telling him that we were from The Orchard, he greeted us like we were family, brought us up to his office and offered all of us Arnold Palmers, the iced tea and lemonade drink that he made famous.  Needless to say, his staff was also very accommodating and got us the hi-res picture we asked for.

But even more memorable to me was our caddy recounting a story about Mr. Palmer during our round the next day:

Ben Roethlisberger, the All-Pro Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback, was practicing on the putting green at Bay Hill, when a young boy of about 10 comes up to him and politely asks for an autograph.   The 6’5”, 240 lb quarterback shoos him away, telling him not to disturb him.

Mr. Palmer sees this, and walks up to Roethlisberger and summarily orders him to leave his golf course, telling him that, if he doesn’t have any time for his fans, Bay Hill has no time for him either.

That short anecdote encapsulates what he meant for me, and the millions of others in Arnie’s Army.

Courtesy and respect are timeless principles, as well as good manners.”

– Arnold Palmer (from Golf Digest’s Tom Callahan)