NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — They called him ‘The King’ — both fans and players credited Arnold Palmer for turning the game of golf into a mainstream sport.
The legend, and hero to millions died Sunday in Pittsburgh at the age of 87.
CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan took time Monday, to reflect on an unforgettable afternoon that she shared with the superstar.
For a day, as a young child, she had the thrill of being in ‘Arnie’s Army.’ The dashing, handsome, talented golfer had become a TV star, and was leading the charge at the Buick Open in Michigan.
McLogan, an elementary school student at the time, had convinced her parents to drop her off at Warwick Hills for the day.
“Golfing protocol was not yet in my bag,” she said, “Eventually, I began to panic because it was getting dangerously close to the agreed on time for me to leave, and I still hadn’t accomplished my goal.”
Arnie had teed off, and was about to pull out a club for his second shot, when McLogan ran onto the fairway and begged the legend for an autograph.
“Arnie, his caddy, and I suppose security — looked at me incredulously. Arnie smiled, and said ‘how about waiting til the round is over?’ ‘Oh, no’ I said, ‘I am being picked up in five minutes at 4:30 sharp. I won’t be here then.” McLogan recalled.
When Palmer asked for a pen she didn’t have one, adding that she assumed he was carrying one.
“I vaguely remember he sort of chuckled. A black marker was produced. My paper put on my shoulder, and signed,” she said.
McLogan said she didn’t know enough to be embarrassed.
“When I proudly told my family just how and where I got the coveted autograph, they of course were humiliated for me,” she said.
Decades later, Palmer — one of the world’s most famous athletes — came to play at his final senior open in the New York area.
“I met him then and recounted my faux pas,” McLogan said.
Palmer said he could not recall the interruption in play, but was pleased that he had treated a youngster with respect. That was Arnold Palmer; charisma, humility, and character.