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Gorman: A final round for Arnie's Army

Kevin Gorman
| Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, 6:33 p.m.
Golf Legend Jack Nicklaus wipes away a tear after making his remarks about the life of the late Arnold Palmer of Latrobe during a  a public memorial service at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Golf Legend Jack Nicklaus wipes away a tear after making his remarks about the life of the late Arnold Palmer of Latrobe during a a public memorial service at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Arnold Palmer is remembered at a public memorial service begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Vincent Basilica in Unity.
Paul Pierce | Tribune Review
Arnold Palmer is remembered at a public memorial service begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Vincent Basilica in Unity.
Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, speaks about his grandfather during the public memorial for Arnold Palmer, at the St Vincent Basilica in Latrobe on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, speaks about his grandfather during the public memorial for Arnold Palmer, at the St Vincent Basilica in Latrobe on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Country musician Vince Gill performs during the public memorial for Arnold Palmer at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Country musician Vince Gill performs during the public memorial for Arnold Palmer at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Family, friends and fans gathered at St. Vincent Basilica in Unity on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 to remember Arnold Palmer.
Kevin Gorman | Tribune-Review
Family, friends and fans gathered at St. Vincent Basilica in Unity on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 to remember Arnold Palmer.
Family, friends and fans gathered at St. Vincent Basilica in Unity on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 to remember Arnold Palmer.
Kevin Gorman | Tribune-Review
Family, friends and fans gathered at St. Vincent Basilica in Unity on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 to remember Arnold Palmer.
PGA golfers Bubba Watson, left, and Rickie Fowler arrive in Latrobe on Tuesday with the Ryder Cup to attend a memorial service for the late Arnold Palmer. The U.S. team won the cup on Sunday over the Europeans for the first time since 2008.
Renatta Signorini Tribune-Review
PGA golfers Bubba Watson, left, and Rickie Fowler arrive in Latrobe on Tuesday with the Ryder Cup to attend a memorial service for the late Arnold Palmer. The U.S. team won the cup on Sunday over the Europeans for the first time since 2008.
Arnold Palmers private jet N1AP flies over the Saint Vincent College Basilica before the start of his memorial service in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | Tribune Review
Arnold Palmers private jet N1AP flies over the Saint Vincent College Basilica before the start of his memorial service in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Bottles of Arizona Beverage Company's 'Arnold Palmer' — his beloved mix of iced tea and lemonade — sit on a table inside the student center at St. Vincent College for people viewing the late golfer's memorial ceremony there.
Renatta Signorini | Tribune-Review
Bottles of Arizona Beverage Company's 'Arnold Palmer' — his beloved mix of iced tea and lemonade — sit on a table inside the student center at St. Vincent College for people viewing the late golfer's memorial ceremony there.
The wife of the late Arnold Palmer of Latrobe, Kathleen “Kit” Gawthrop, is surrounded by family and close friends during a public memorial service at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
The wife of the late Arnold Palmer of Latrobe, Kathleen “Kit” Gawthrop, is surrounded by family and close friends during a public memorial service at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
The U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard present the colors during public memorial service to honor Arnold Palmer of Latrobe at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
The U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard present the colors during public memorial service to honor Arnold Palmer of Latrobe at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Ricky Fowler, stands with the Ryder Cup, after bringing it to Latrobe, during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Ricky Fowler, stands with the Ryder Cup, after bringing it to Latrobe, during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Arnold Palmer looks out over the crowd of more than 800 family and friends, as the Ryder Cup sits in the foreground, after Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson brought it back to Latrobe, during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Arnold Palmer looks out over the crowd of more than 800 family and friends, as the Ryder Cup sits in the foreground, after Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson brought it back to Latrobe, during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Friends and family give Arnold Palmer the 'well done' thumbs up at the bequest of friend Tim Finich, the PGA Tour Commissioner, during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Friends and family give Arnold Palmer the 'well done' thumbs up at the bequest of friend Tim Finich, the PGA Tour Commissioner, during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer's grandson, speaks about his grandfather and the encouragement that he was always given, and the last phone conversation that they had, during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer's grandson, speaks about his grandfather and the encouragement that he was always given, and the last phone conversation that they had, during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Country music artist Vince Gill, sings a cover of Carole King's 'You've Got a Friend' during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Country music artist Vince Gill, sings a cover of Carole King's 'You've Got a Friend' during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Jim Nantz of CBS Sports, recalls a few of his many fond memories of Arnold Palmer, during the public memorial service at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Jim Nantz of CBS Sports, recalls a few of his many fond memories of Arnold Palmer, during the public memorial service at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Golf legend Jack Nicklaus gives the 'OK' symbol, as he reminisces about his friendship with Arnold Palmer, during the public memorial service for Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Golf legend Jack Nicklaus gives the 'OK' symbol, as he reminisces about his friendship with Arnold Palmer, during the public memorial service for Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Pete Luster, co-pilot of Arnold Palmers N1AP jet, talks about the years spent with Palmer, and their friendship, during the public memorial service for Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Pete Luster, co-pilot of Arnold Palmers N1AP jet, talks about the years spent with Palmer, and their friendship, during the public memorial service for Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Members of the United States Coast Guard Color Guard, march past a portrait of Arnold Palmer, at the close of his public memorial service, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Members of the United States Coast Guard Color Guard, march past a portrait of Arnold Palmer, at the close of his public memorial service, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Jim Nantz of CBS Sports fixes the tie of Golf Legend Jack Nicklaus prior to the start of a public memorial service for the late Arnold Palmer at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Jim Nantz of CBS Sports fixes the tie of Golf Legend Jack Nicklaus prior to the start of a public memorial service for the late Arnold Palmer at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
The wife of the late Arnold Palmer of Latrobe, Kathleen 'Kit' Gawthrop, is comforted by a friend after the public memorial service for the golfer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
The wife of the late Arnold Palmer of Latrobe, Kathleen 'Kit' Gawthrop, is comforted by a friend after the public memorial service for the golfer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Arnold Palmer's jet call sign N1AP flies overhead of memorial service attendees, during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Arnold Palmer's jet call sign N1AP flies overhead of memorial service attendees, during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Arnold Palmer's jet call sign N1AP flies overhead of memorial service attendees, during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Arnold Palmer's jet call sign N1AP flies overhead of memorial service attendees, during the public memorial service for Arnold Palmer, at the St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge (right) speaks with professional golfer Peter Jacobsen prior to a memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge (right) speaks with professional golfer Peter Jacobsen prior to a memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Rickie Fowler (right) holds the Ryder Cup as he speaks with fellow professional golfer Bubba Watson prior to a memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Rickie Fowler (right) holds the Ryder Cup as he speaks with fellow professional golfer Bubba Watson prior to a memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Guests are seen reflected in the glasses of professional golfer Bubba Watson as they arrive at a memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Guests are seen reflected in the glasses of professional golfer Bubba Watson as they arrive at a memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Barry Frank, a sports businessman who was one of the originators of the 'The Skins Game' televised golf events, arrives at a public memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Barry Frank, a sports businessman who was one of the originators of the 'The Skins Game' televised golf events, arrives at a public memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Latrobe residents Romi Green (left) and Lisa Poole watch from the stands at Chuck Noll Field as a large screen shows a broadcast of the memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Latrobe residents Romi Green (left) and Lisa Poole watch from the stands at Chuck Noll Field as a large screen shows a broadcast of the memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
A flag flies at half mast as Latrobe residents (from left) Mary Ann Conroy, Joanne Spanos, and George Jakubovic watch from the stands at Chuck Noll Field as a large screen shows a broadcast of the memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
A flag flies at half mast as Latrobe residents (from left) Mary Ann Conroy, Joanne Spanos, and George Jakubovic watch from the stands at Chuck Noll Field as a large screen shows a broadcast of the memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
St. Vincent Basilica is seen in the background as Latrobe residents (from left) Mary Ann Conroy, Joanne Spanos, and George Jakubovic watch from the stands at Chuck Noll Field as a large screen shows a broadcast of the memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
St. Vincent Basilica is seen in the background as Latrobe residents (from left) Mary Ann Conroy, Joanne Spanos, and George Jakubovic watch from the stands at Chuck Noll Field as a large screen shows a broadcast of the memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
Rob Lamb of Los Angeles, California, wears an 'Arnie's Army' pin and smiles as he listens to television golf anchor Jim Nantz shares memories of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer during a public memorial service on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Rob Lamb of Los Angeles, California, wears an 'Arnie's Army' pin and smiles as he listens to television golf anchor Jim Nantz shares memories of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer during a public memorial service on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
Guests react as television golf anchor Jim Nantz asks the crowd to give legendary golfer Arnold Palmer one final ovation during a public memorial service on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Guests react as television golf anchor Jim Nantz asks the crowd to give legendary golfer Arnold Palmer one final ovation during a public memorial service on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Professional golfer Tom Watson (left) is seen as he leaves  a memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Professional golfer Tom Watson (left) is seen as he leaves a memorial service for Arnold Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Arnold Palmer's private jet, tail number N1AP, flies over the statue of Boniface Wimmer during a memorial service for Mr. Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Arnold Palmer's private jet, tail number N1AP, flies over the statue of Boniface Wimmer during a memorial service for Mr. Palmer on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe.
Jim Nantz of CBS Sports gives a thumbs up gesture commonly associated with Arnold Palmer of Latrobe, while speaking during a  a public memorial service to honor the golf legend at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Jim Nantz of CBS Sports gives a thumbs up gesture commonly associated with Arnold Palmer of Latrobe, while speaking during a a public memorial service to honor the golf legend at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett listens as Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, talks about the life of his grandfather during a public memorial service at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett listens as Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, talks about the life of his grandfather during a public memorial service at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Golf Legend Jack Nicklaus delivers his remarks during a  a public memorial service for late Arnold Palmer of Latrobe at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Golf Legend Jack Nicklaus delivers his remarks during a a public memorial service for late Arnold Palmer of Latrobe at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Laura Dupre holds a sign of support with the logo of the late Arnold Palmer of Latrobe following a memorial service in honor of the golf legend at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Laura Dupre holds a sign of support with the logo of the late Arnold Palmer of Latrobe following a memorial service in honor of the golf legend at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
A moment of silence is observed with family and friends following a memorial service in honor of golf legend Arnold Palmer at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
A moment of silence is observed with family and friends following a memorial service in honor of golf legend Arnold Palmer at the St. Vincent Basilica on October 4, 2016. Palmer died on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.

Arnold Palmer's memorial service started, as you might expect, with a request from a member of Arnie's Army.

It was one the audience at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe would oblige, one we wish we could experience one more time from golf's greatest ambassador.

“Might I suggest,” master of ceremonies Charlie Mechem said, “that the tone and the mood of this service be best exemplified by the image of him striding up the fairway with that iconic smile of his, hitching up his pants and giving a thumbs-up.”

Golf greats, family and friends bid farewell Tuesday to the man known as The King, one revered for the ease with which he could rub elbows with royalty yet connect with the common man.

Palmer, who died Sept. 25 at age 87, is credited with popularizing the white-collar sport in the 1950s and '60s with his blue-collar mentality. Palmer played with bravado and brilliance — or, as Mechem said in golf parlance, “sneaky smart” — in winning 62 PGA Tour titles, including four Masters, two British Opens and a U.S. Open.

On this beautiful day, Arnie's Army included captain Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson of the reigning Ryder Cup champions, who brought the trophy.

“It just meant so much to all of us and my Ryder Cup team,” Love said. “It was a sad day for golf, but we were glad we were all together. It's what Arnie would have wanted, for us to go on and play. I'm happy to be here. ...

“Arnie would have loved to see this trophy. It's a sad day, but it's also part of a celebration. This cup's for him.”

Its proudest member might be Jack Nicklaus, Palmer's fierce but friendly rival. Nicklaus beat Palmer in a playoff at the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont. With a tear in his eye, Nicklaus recalled countless “remember whens” of his most cherished moments with Palmer in a friendship that spanned exactly 58 years.

“He was an everyday man. Everyone's hero,” Nicklaus said of Palmer. “Arnold managed to removed the ‘i' from ‘icon' and let the world share in his greatness.”

Arnie's Army included PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who said Palmer revolutionized the sport and sports marketing with his “deep, deep love and affection for what it meant to be a professional golfer.” The game grew from 5 million golfers in the U.S. to 30 million, from 5,000 golf courses to 15,000.

“The puzzling thing for me is, why was he so popular?” Finchem said. “Was it because of the way he played the game? Was it the way he created excitement on television? He had this other thing, this incredible ability to make you feel good, not only about him but yourself.”

Finchem asked the audience inside the basilica, which held almost 1,000 people, to lift their hands and give a thumbs-up.

Arnold's Army included Sam Saunders, who had the blessing of being Palmer's grandson and the burden of following him into the sport as a pro golfer.

Saunders shared the story of his last phone call with the grandfather they called “Dumpy” — a nickname borne when granddaughter Emily tried to call him “grumpy” — and the best advice Palmer ever gave.

Talk less and listen more.

What we listened to was simply beautiful, from “America the Beautiful,” by the St. Vincent College Singers to country artist Vince Gill singing “You've Got a Friend” to bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace” as N1AP co-pilot Pete Luster did a flyover in Palmer's Cessna Citation X.

Arnie's Army included former Cessna CEO and chairman emeritus Russ Meyer, who called Palmer's friendship “one of the blessings of my lifetime.” Meyer talked about Arnie's love affair with aviation, that he wasn't just a pilot but an outstanding pilot, one who was as good gripping the controls as he was a golf club.

Arnie's Army included CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz, who marveled at how Palmer could relate to everybody and told a story of Queen Elizabeth asking how many people Palmer had played golf with.

“Can we give him one more walk, one more ovation for the 18th?” Nantz asked his audience. For the next minute, Palmer received a rousing standing ovation. “We're going to miss him,” Nantz said, “the captain of our game.”

Arnie's Army included Peter Dawson, former chief executive of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, who credited Palmer with resurrecting the British Open in the 1960s.

“Yes, Arnold was golf's greatest ambassador at both home and abroad,” Dawson said. “He mixed with heads of state ... but never lost his common touch. He was ‘The King' and always will be. Has anyone done more for the game? No one should come even close.”

Arnie's Army included Annika Sorenstam, whose friendship with Palmer went beyond the golf course. Sorenstam thanked Palmer for his charitable contributions to Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, where her son, Will, was born 13 weeks prematurely.

“Arnold inspired millions with his kindness and generosity, and I see that in Will,” Sorenstam said. “Even though you were ‘The King,' you made everyone feel like royalty in your presence.”

Mechem reminded us that an army becomes stronger when losing its leader out of respect and asked that of Arnie's Army.

It was a perfect day and a perfect way to honor Palmer — the only better way would have been with a round of golf — and included a final request.

“I simply ask you to just remember when Arnold Palmer touched your life, touched your heart,” Nicklaus said. “And, please, don't forget why.”

Arnie's Army was left with an everlasting image: Palmer, with a thumbs-up and a smile, striding the fairway to heaven.

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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