Family, friends and others have paid their final respects to golfing legend Arnold Palmer in his hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Palmer died last week at 87 years old and was buried privately within days. But yesterday’s service was about the public that adored him. Former LPGA Commissioner and friend Charlie Mecham set the stage for the event, suggesting that people remember the iconic spirit Palmer was known for.
A public memorial was held at the St. Vincent College Basilica near Latrobe. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem noted there were five-million golfers in the country when Palmer first won professionally and 30-million when he stopped.
Rival and good friend Jack Nicklaus, LPGA great Annika Sorenstam,Tom Watson, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were also in attendance. Thousands of people – many part of “Arnie’s Army” – were on the grounds around the basilica. Among the special touches, the ceremonial honor guard for the U.S. Coast Guard, (Palmer served for three years in the 50s), a flyover by Palmer’s co-pilot, Pete Luster, and a performance by country legend Vince Gill.
- Palmer’s ashes had been spread over a portion of his beloved Latrobe Country Club last Thursday after a private service.