• Mark Allen

The Best-Ever Arnie Story!



This week is the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour which is especially poignant due with his passing late last year.

Almost every article written about golf this week has been dedicated to the King and quite rightly so. He was a great player and a great person. I have read just about all of these articles because I was a huge fan of Arnie but one story in particular stood out for me mainly because it isn't golf related.

The story goes like this........

Before the 1993 Senior British Open, which was to be played at Royal Lytham, Arnold Palmer received a letter from a Mr Hans Bolton from Lancashire.

The letter, which contained the language of someone who knew nothing about the game, might have offended a superstar full of his own importance. In Palmer's case, the handwritten letter caught his attention.

The letter contained this remark in the opening paragraph: "I must admit I am not a golf fan. I realise that you must be extremely busy, being one of the big names in the golfing fraternity". Bolton then talks about the importance of the upcoming Senior Open and adds, "An even more important event is taking place (at least to me anyway). You see, I am getting married to my fiancée, Sally Anne Murphy, a truly gorgeous and wonderful girl." The only problem, Bolton says, is simple: Neither of the honeymoon suites at the Clifton Arms Hotel is available because, as it was explained to him, "Mr Arnold Palmer is staying in one and Mr Gary Player is staying in the other, and they have been booked for ages!"

He then proceeds to paint an emotional portrait. "My fiancée was, of course, devastated at this news, convinced that our big day is doomed to failure. Something I suppose, like a triple bogey on the 1st hole."

Then Bolton makes a daring suggestion. "I was just wondering if perhaps there was any chance of you swapping rooms with us, just for one night. This is a shot in the dark, I really don't expect that you will, but one can only try. You see I work for the Sunblest Bread Company and Sally works as a children's nanny so this is the only chance we will ever get of staying anywhere as grand as the Clifton Arms."

He signs the letter "Yours hopefully," and then adds two postscripts: "P.S. You are more than welcome to join us for a drink at the reception. P.P.S. I didn't write to Gary Player because we were told you were a much nicer chap."

Palmer, of course, not only surrended the suite but took them up on the offer of the beer where he drank a toast to the happy couple and even posed for a photograph.

A true gent! He will be missed. Enjoy the Arnold Palmer Invitational. I'm sure a few tears will be shed.


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