Golf

Palmer Cup is a tribute to the King

Tommy Snell
Tommy Snell Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

The Palmer Cup has hitched up its pants and driven the green. The Ryder Cup style format matches the best American collegiate players against their counterparts from Europe. Atlanta Athletic Club will host in 2017, and with the passing of the greatest ambassador the game has ever known, never has the event had more significance.

Arnold, Arnie, or The King, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. How sweet his name is indeed. Charlie Mechem at Palmer’s memorial service mentioned two of Arnie’s favorite legacies, one occurring every summer, the Arnold Palmer Cup. AP’s vision was to include female players in the event, and 2018 will see that happen.

I’ve had three players who were considered for the Palmer Cup: Jared Smith, Hayes Weathersby and Grant Motter. Even though they were not chosen on the 10-person team, to be considered among the best amateur players in the world was a great honor. Six make it from a points list, three are chosen by committee, and one is selected by the coach.

AP’s second legacy according to Mechem is Arnie’s Army. At arniesarmy.com the headline reads “A life well played, 1929-2016.” The three beneficiaries of Arnie’s Army are the Arnold Palmer Medical Center in Orlando, the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve in Latrobe, PA and The Arnold Palmer Cup.

Palmer won’t attend the Arnold Palmer Cup in 2017, but every collegiate golfer will remember and appreciate what the blue-collar golfer from Latrobe who turned pro in 1954 has done for the game and for collegiate players. The Americans will look to bring the cup back to the US in 2017 after Europe defeated them 18.5 to 11.5 last summer.

The final points totals matter, but in the end both teams win because of Arnold Palmer. Every collegiate team, university and coach in every collegiate division wins. Golf wins, and that’s a legacy that I’m sure inspires a big thumbs-up smile.

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