I've worked several jobs in my life other than "songwriter." I was a janitor for a while, worked in warehouses, and stripped beds at a hotel in Nashville. My greatest honor, however, in working a "day job" is to have worked The Masters Golf Tournament eleven times and for Augusta National for three. That job, and working at that special place everyday, has afforded me many special moments, meetings, and memories. The passing of Mr. Arnold Palmer last night brings back a few.
I did not know Arnold personally but I have passed him out on the sidewalk or in the hall several times. The consummate gentleman, Arnold was a champion, was humble, and had the most memorable and most radiating smile. His spirit and smile changed the room when he came through the door.
This past Masters, April 2016, I made sure that I was at the Number 1 tee box to see Arnold, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus officially begin the Tournament as Honorary Starters. (Watch that moment here). I will always remember being there and cheering for Arnold and celebrating his Masters wins and what he means to the world of golf.
I am not a champion golfer - far, far from it - but I love the game because it has so many parallels to life. You do not make it down the fairway and reach the cup by merely swinging a club with all your might. You have to have intention and purpose with each shot to reach your goal. As in life, every shot matters and we must swing in each moment with intention. Arnold's legacy continues to inspire me in the pursuit of mastery. Stand up, smile, take each shot with intention, and keep on moving. Thank you Mr. Palmer.
Here are two wonderful interviews with Mr. Palmer if you want to enjoy more of who this man was and part of the indelible mark he has left on millions. The New York Times "Last Word" with him and his 2014 Masters interview.