Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

As General Arnie Sounds Retreat, His Army Weeps

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

As General Arnie Sounds Retreat, His Army Weeps

Article excerpt

Arnold Palmer has bid a sad farewell as a competitor to the game he popularized.

Grown men wept as the aging general of golf, 64, led his army into battle for the last time on the PGA Tour.

As goodbyes go, this one ranks near the top. Although Arnie will continue to play Senior PGA Tour events, it won't be the same without him in a Masters, U.S. Open, British Open or PGA Championship.

Leave the endless farewell tours to other sports stars, such as Julius Erving or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Arnie prefers his short and sweet.

The sentimentality got pretty deep when it became evident that Arnie would not qualify for the weekend rounds.

"This is it. We're witnessing history," said Marge Fulstone of nearby Greensburg, Pa., a 20-year Army veteran, as she watched Palmer slash and sweat his way to a 10-over-par 81 Friday for a two-round total of 158.

Palmer found it difficult to express his thoughts in post-round interviews.

Basically, he said he got tremendous enjoyment out of his 40-year career and is eternally grateful for having the chance to play a major role in the growth of golf.

"I've never been so tongue-tied in my life," Arnie said later.

He stayed around this weekend in a ceremonial capacity as honorary chairman of the 94th U.S. Open.

Ironically, as Palmer broke down in the media center Friday, his longtime friend and rival, Jack Nicklaus, ascended to the top of the leaderboard.

"Jack's always trying to upstage me," Arnie said. "Here he is, crashing my retirement party."

Pride Of Marceline: Marceline, Mo., native Don Walsworth was among 14 of 41 first-timers to qualify for the third and fourth rounds. Walsworth, one of 18 players forced off the course by a lightning warning Friday evening, finished the second round Saturday morning at 4-over 146 (71-75).

He quickly turned around and played his third round at 2-over 73. He was hurt by double bogeys at the sixth and 16th holes.

"It was tough having to stop (Friday)," Walsworth said. "Luckily, I was on the 18th fairway. I wasn't in the rough, and I did know from looking at the computer that I could probably make a bogey (and still make the cut). …

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