Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Palmer still picture-perfect in players' eyes

The fact that most of the best golfers in the world are at Bay Hill this week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational is, more than anything, a testament to the enduring affection they have for the host.

He roams the premises at Bay Hill, signs autographs and handles the tricky business of being a legend beautifully.

This little moment underscores what Palmer still means to the game and the people who play it:

After playing in a Monday pro-am he’d previously committed to, Sean O’Hair – who was just hours removed from winning the PODS Championship – asked if he could have his photo taken with Palmer.

Naturally, Palmer obliged.

“I think Mr. Palmer is … he brought the sport to what it is with the popularity of it, with what he achieved,” O’Hair said. “Basically, he was like Superman in golf. I kind of look at him like that.

“When I talked to him (Monday), I couldn’t tell you one thing he said. I can’t. But I just was in such awe of his presence. And you look into his eyes and it’s like, I don’t know, he’s just still got it in his eyes.

“You think of what he’s experienced and how cool it would be to experience the things he’s done. It’s amazing. I just kind of wanted a picture so I could show my grandkids one day.”