The Forecaddie: Grandma set up meeting for Wake’s Monica Shumacher with Arnold Palmer

The Forecaddie: Grandma set up meeting for Wake’s Monica Shumacher with Arnold Palmer

PGA Tour

The Forecaddie: Grandma set up meeting for Wake’s Monica Shumacher with Arnold Palmer

Wake Forest’s Monica Schumacher grew up in New Jersey, but she and her family are now based in Orlando. She is a member at Bay Hill Club and Lodge. That has its perks. Then again, in The Forecaddie’s opinion, her greatest moment at Bay Hill came before she ever moved to Florida.

Schumacher credits Kay Yurko, her 92-year-old maternal grandmother, for getting her into golf in the first place. Grandma has been a big influence ever since. Schumacher noted with pride to The Man Out Front after finishing her second round Saturday at the NCAA Women’s Championship that Yurko still plays golf and shot a 55 in nine holes recently.

“I told her to come play out here instead of me,” Schumacher joked.

Yurko has long lived in the Bay Hill area and became good friends with Arnold Palmer. Schumacher would visit her grandmother as a teenager, and one day while they ate lunch at Bay Hill, Yurko decided to make her granddaughter’s day.

Yurko saw Palmer while they ate. Schumacher, then around age 15, had shot 2 over that day at Bay Hill from the forward tees and figured this was as good a time as any to give her a shoutout to “The King.”

“She went up to him and goes, ‘My granddaughter just shot 2 over, you have to meet her,’ “ Schumacher said, laughing. “Of course I’m embarrassed, but you have to have the interaction. You’re not going to be like, ‘No grandma, sit down.’ “ 

Schumacher doesn’t remember much from the conversation, only that Palmer encouraged her to keep practicing. And that she struggled to keep cool in his presence.

She ended up meeting the late Palmer a couple of times, but Schumacher said she gained an appreciation for him whenever she would see him at Bay Hill. 

“I would just watch him, and it’s just amazing how he interacted with people,” Schumacher said. “He made you smile no matter what.” 

As it turned out, Schumacher would go to Wake Forest, Palmer’s alma mater. She played on the school’s women’s club team for most of her first two years. She harbored no ambitions of playing for the women’s varsity team at Wake until injuries and departures from the squad got her a call last spring to join the team for the ACC Championship. She accepted, and coaches were so impressed by her attitude and coachability that they had her back for this season as well.

Latest

More Forecaddie
Home