The PGA Tour has announced that the Bay Hill Invitational will be renamed the Arnold Palmer Invitational in honor of The King.
The only other tournament named for a former player is the Byron Nelson Championship. Nelson, now 94, still presides over the tournament near Dallas. Bob Hope, never a tour player, but always a booster, also has a tournament named for him. And until it was abducted by AT&T, the Pebble Beach Pro-Am was known as the Crosby.
Renaming the Bay Hill is a fitting tribute to the man who perhaps did more to popularize the sport of golf than any other. And I’m glad that it’s a tribute that has been made while he is still alive. Too often these things are done after the recipient of the honor is gone.
Palmer is, for me, still the King of Golf. I don’t think anyone has ever enjoyed playing the game more. When I think of Palmer, I see a smile—not the scowls, frowns and serious demeanors of today’s players. I’ve never met the man (although I hope to do so one day), but he seems to me to be the most decent of sorts. I’ve not read anything that reflected poorly on his character, and don’t expect to.
Congratulations Arnold. May you live for many years to enjoy this one.