Arnold Palmer is set to receive golf’s version of Hollywood’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund Centennial Gala next month.
Serving as honorary chair of the organization’s 100-year anniversary of Ouimet’s 1913 U.S. Open win at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., Palmer will accept the Distinguished Service Award for his life-long contributions to golf.
“Arnold has been a great friend of the fund and he embodies so many of Mr. Ouimet’s qualities,” Fund president Terry Kennedy said in a statement.
Ouimet’s U.S. Open W is the stuff of legend. Indeed, Golf World last month chose the little-known amateur’s achievement as the Most Important Moment in Golf. The playoff win by the 20-year-old from Brookline over British stars Harry Vardon and Ted Ray was a “transcendent triumph,” which, according to the publication, was “clearly one of the game’s seminal occasions” that “captivated America and set it on a path to becoming a great golf nation.”
Ouimet and his 10-year-old caddie, Eddie Lowery, shocked the world by tying the two luminaries and forcing overtime. His stunning victory made headlines worldwide and went a long way toward changing the aura of golf from a game for the wealthy to an activity accessible to anyone. Indeed, Ouimet’s accomplishment was his day’s version of today’s “Grow Golf” initiative.
Palmer spoke at the Ouimet’s 1997 annual dinner and has participated in fund-raising activities for the Massachusetts-based philanthropy that was founded in 1949 to award college scholarships to deserving youngsters engaged in golf.
Kennedy touted the Ouimet’s annual banquet as the “biggest golf dinner in the U.S.” and expected this year’s event to sell out fast and break previous records for fund-raising.
Also on hand to honor Ouimet and Palmer on May 15 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center will be Peter Jacobsen, billed by Kennedy as “the funniest person in golf” — a description with which we would have to agree. Mark Frost, author of “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” will grace the head table, as will returning MC, Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner.
For tickets and sponsorships, visit the Ouimet website www.ouimet.org.
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminer