Arnold Palmer golfing in Wales (well, the best example I could find)
I have 2 characteristics I am addicted to keen to combine. These are the reading of biographies and stories of the great golfers and Welsh golf courses. For some strange reason I find it fascinating to discover reports, photos of great players visiting our tiny country.
There have been may instances, of course, of golfing Legends to Wales – Tiger Woods at Royal Porthcawl for the Walker Cup in 1995. Walter Hagen playing at exhibition match on the same course in 1933.
Having read about Arnold Palmer’s upcoming book – ‘A Life Well Played’ – I decided to focus my research on a true golfing hero and find if Mr Palmer had ever played in Wales. I looked and looked. Unfortunately, I could find no record of this but I will keep looking. He must have done mustn’t he?
The closest I could find was a visit by Arnold to Celtic Manor in May 2009 where he was the guest at the KPMG sixth annual Golf Business Forum.
It was interested to note that the address made by AP was quite prophetic for the time –
As a seven-time Ryder Cup veteran and former captain, Mr Palmer commented on the Ryder Cup coming to Wales in 2010. He said: “The Celtic Manor Resort will be a wonderful venue for the Ryder Cup. Conditions will make it very interesting for the players and the spectators. The American team better start thinking about the conditions they are likely to face in Wales as they will have to work very hard to win.”
He also prophesied – “I am very much in favour of golf becoming an Olympic sport. I don’t think we can comprehend what it would mean to the game. From any angle, what it will bring to business, and the wider public interest it will create, it is almost mind-boggling what the impact would be.” Which has, of course, come true recently.
I would doubt that this little trip to Wales will make his book but I am hoping that there may be an opportunity one day to see the great man and his remarkable swing, or even more remarkable to encounter his fiercely competitive, but sporting, character. Now, if someone out there can find some evidence that he has played here at some time in the past. That would be interesting and would go on my list alongside Tiger Woods and Walter Hagen.