It’s the King’s birthday — the man who has perhaps done the most for the game through his brilliant achievements on the golf course and charismatic, congenial personality.
Arnie has touched the lives of so many and our praise and respect for him are endless as well as timeless. But it really comes down to one thing: He’s the epitome of a professional golfer and how one should act, not to mention of cool and class. I mean, there’s a reason why no one has a negative word to say about him and why he appeals to the masses.
I wish I had a personal Arnie story to share, but I don’t…yet. GolfDigest compiled a collection of anecdotes from players discussing “What He Means To Me.” Below is one from Freddie Couples:
First time I met Arnold was in Portland at Peter Jacobsen’s tournament, and that was something special because ever since he’s basically been like another father figure in a way. You have a chance to talk with him, and he gives you so much. He’s asking you questions—how’s your game, how are you doing? He’s like your grandfather, really. That’s almost how I look at him. There isn’t a time when I see him that I don’t give him a kiss on the cheek. That’s how I feel about him, and I know that a lot of other guys sort of feel the same way, that you love him like he’s your father or grandfather. I love all the old guys … Jack, Ray Floyd, [Lee] Trevino. But would any of them say that Arnold wasn’t the most special of them all? I don’t think so.
So, let’s raise a glass of iced tea and lemonade (with a splash of vodka if you’re feeling crazy) and toast to Arnie. Happy birthday, sir, and thanks for the drink and cheers.