Arnie tributes given varied and often
Originally posted on March 20, 2017
One can imagine that the items on a checklist to honor Arnie at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard last week and over the weekend were pretty much all marked off.
Statue of A.P. in his corkscrew finish, check.
Grandson Sam Saunders, his mother Amy, and family and friends fully supportive, check.
Driving-range tribute of sequenced shots by several players, check.
Golf cart with A.P.'s bag of clubs by 16 tee/18 fairway, check.
Golf bag and balls on driving range, check.
Red cardigan put on the winner Sunday, check.
Photos of his desk as he left it, Masters yardage book and Arnie-themed golf shoes worn by players, check.
Nonstop references to The King on TV, Twitter and other social-media, check.
A tight finish with an emotionally satisfying human-interest champion in Marc Leishman, check.
The tributes flowed as smoothly as a pour out of a Ketel One Vodka bottle. By the end of the week, however, some were questioning if the constant tribute references and the types of them were getting a little "creepy," to use one word. The inference was that all the visuals showing places where Arnold would normally be but wasn’t were overdone. To me, it reminded me of the Alastair Sim "Scrooge" movie version (the best) where toward the end Scrooge is led by the Ghost of the Future to places he would normally be or hearing discussions of someone’sdemise and wondering if it all had to do with him but he wasn’t there in physical form.
That was a story of redemption and we know it’s all a dream, Scrooge will live on after his reformation. Arnie will live on, too, but in memory and spirit and in the written and visual record that we can be thankful is mammoth in size.
Arnie was my first golf hero, but I was starting to feel the constant references to what the week symbolized were perhaps lessening the effect by their overwhelming nature. There was so much you started getting numb to it all.
But ultimately, I feel everyone should give family, organizers, players and the media a pass on any negative reaction to how strong the tributes were this first year. Going forward, in the slow march of time, the annual Bay Hill tribute will be more subtle, less overpowering, and will feel just right. That’s just a byproduct of the slow passage of years. As long as golf is played, Arnold Palmer will be synonymous with the sport. It's better to hear that too often than not enough.