For the next three days, we’re at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Tournament in Bay Hill, Florida, which is hard-by to Orlando. I’m trying to remember what other living person has a PGA golf tournament named for them.
Let me tell you about my love for golf, and for Arnold Palmer.
If you’re a golfer, I don’t have to explain my torrid affair with this maddening game. I’ve been playing – off and on – for over 35 years. Once I got my handicap into the single digits, but now it’s mostly in the low teens.
One of the things I love about golf is how the principles of the game have remained so pure over the generations. It’s still the only game where the participants are required to call any infraction on themselves. If you watch any of the PGA tour events on television long enough, you’ll eventually see a pro invoke a rule on himself or herself. But that’s not the best part: There is a good chance that the infraction that occurred may only be known to that player. That’s right. These guys penalize themselves if they violate a rule that only they know has been breeched.
I don’t know if Nobel laureate Albert Camut was a golfer, but surely he had golf in mind when he so elegantly said, “Integrity has no need for rules.” In golf, integrity also has no need for umpires.
Now, about my love for Arnold Palmer, first: Who doesn’t love The King? And Arnold loves you. At least, that’s what you would believe if you ever met him.
The greatest man to ever play the game – well, before Tiger Woods – is Jack Nicklaus, who once described the difference between him and Arnold: “I love golf; Arnold loves people.” Nuff said.
I love Arnold because of the influence he has had on golf, especially its rich traditions. I know of no other living person who embodies all that is good about golf than Arnold Palmer. And I love Arnold because of the entrepreneurial legend he has become. Arnold Palmer is not just a businessman, he is an industry – a pretty large industry – but still, he is a small business owner. And while his accomplishments would impress you, when you realized how much he still does – at age 79 – your appreciation would grow quickly.
In recent years, I’ve been around Arnold quite a bit. He provided the foreword for my second book, and I am on the National Advisory Council for the Arnold Palmer Hospitals in Orlando. I love meeting celebrities who are as Confucius once said about how to live a good life, “Be in reality what you appear to be.” Confucius was talking about Arnold Palmer.
Today, I’m playing in the Pro-Am with my friends and other amateurs, Jason Cutbirth (Insperity) and Jean Beakey (GolfChannel.com). Our pro is Pat Perez, who won earlier this year at the Bob Hope. It’s going to be fun.
A while back, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I interviewed Mr. Palmer – face-to-face – here at Bay Hill. Since 1997, I’ve conducted almost 10,000 interviews with some pretty cool people, but this interview has to be one of the top two or three. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to what this living legend had to say about golf, about life and about business. And, as always, be sure to leave your thoughts.