Astoundingly True Story!
(Quick note – the following Arnie story was published in the September 2008 edition of The Bulletin. Your debonair Executive Director and friend John Crow Miller, were on hand at the opening of the Arnold Palmer Center at the USGA. The tale below is told in Pete’s characteristic style of good humor and good sense.)
By Pete Georgiady
Yes, I allow myself to exercise a little literary license here. But if you look past the sensational, National Enquirer styled headline, the real tale will be told.
First, it is not a case of “I” but rather “we.” When museum curator Dr. Rand Jerris was planning the grand re-opening of the USGA Museum and Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History, he approached John Crow Miller and me to provide some of the entertainment. We were to give a talk on the history of the golf equipment represented in the museum and demonstration of the same in the context of how we play modern hickory golf. Naturally, as Museum Committee members, we were delighted to have the opportunity to be part of the program on that historic day. After we accepted, we were notified it would be even more plausible if we wore our turn-of the century outfits.
As the dedication day program plan became more complete, we were approached yet again with a second assignment. The planners felt that since we would be in appropriate sartorial ensemble it would be a fitting motif to have two erstwhile old golfers greet Mr. Palmer as he entered the shrine of golf history for the first time.
The plan called for us to move into position from seats in the audience to the front door when Arnold began his acceptance speech. When he was finished, he would be accompanied by USGA president Jim Vernon on a personal tour of the museum before the general public was readmitted. When he arrived at the front door we, the doormen, would open it and greet him.
An hour of speechifying by various USGA persons, state officials and politicians passed quickly despite the 90º temperatures. Finally Arnold rose to accept the great honor accorded him and address the crowd of over a thousand well-wishers. He finished his talk and left the podium with President Vernon.
When he reached the brick front porch of the museum John Crow pulled open the broad wooden door. We said, “Welcome Mr. Palmer.”
“Thank you,” he replied as he shook hands with both of us. There was that special Palmer twinkle in his eye as he checked out our outfits and added, “You look great.”
That was our five seconds of fame. But it is a story that we can tell our grandchildren (if my son ever gives me any) and reminisce over for many years to come. Yes, June 3, 2008 we were Arnie’s doormen.