ARDMORE, Pa. – PGA Tour veteran Billy Andrade arrived at Merion on Thursday for his Walker Cup Golf Channel assignment fresh from attending Arnold Palmer’s 80th birthday celebration Wednesday night across the state in Latrobe.
As expected, Andrade said the Palmer festivities were absolutely incredible, and an experience he never will forget.
A golf outing at Laurel Valley began with a pro clinic, with several top players sharing stories about the first time they met Palmer. A bronze statue of Palmer was unveiled next to the putting green, and a dinner followed the outing, emceed by Jim Nantz.
Andrade said among those attending were Peter Jacobsen, Brad Faxon, Jay Haas, John Cook, D.A. Weibring, Craig Stadler, Parker McLachlin and not one, but two John Harrises – the Champions Tour player as well as Johnny Harris of Charlotte’s Quail Hollow. Nantz arranged to have Masters music piped in, and Palmer received a phone call from George H.W. Bush (No. 41).
“Of course, when Arnold got up and spoke, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” said Andrade, who attended Wake Forest on an Arnold Palmer scholarship. “It was really, really cool.”
Happy Birthday to the King. He’s the absolute best.