ORLANDO, Fla. —
So in a roundabout way, a casual round of golf leads to dinner with a supermodel?
“That’s been a fun deal,” Palmer said when he finished telling the story.
There have been thousands of casual rounds like that for Palmer, whose passion for golf never dies. There have been more friends than he can count. There are probably more stories like this, all because he takes an interest in people.
“It’s easy,” Palmer said. “And I love it.”
A staff member came into the room and mentioned two men who were outside the office and wanted to say hello. One was Seth Jones, the editor of Golfdom magazine who recently interviewed Palmer for a project he was working on.
“Well, bring him in,” Palmer said, rising from behind his desk with a broadening smile. Dressed in slacks and a pink shirt, Palmer made sure the two men met everyone in the room and made small talk for a few minutes before closing with that powerful handshake and a smile. “Nice to see you guys,” he told them.
He sat back down at his desk and picked up a sheet of paper. It was a letter to David Frost, who won the Toshiba Classic on the Champions Tour the day before.
“Congratulations on your strong performance in the Toshiba Classic,” he said, reading the letter aloud. “He’s playing pretty good.”
Talk about a tradition like no other. For years, Palmer has written a note of congratulations to the winners on every tour every week.
Palmer looked down at his desk and found two index cards that had been marked up, and then started rattling off numbers. The 443 beds in the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. The 13,000 babies born last year alone. The only high-level trauma center in central Florida dedicated to children. More than 3,500 employees and 450 doctors employed by both hospitals.