On the less
conservative side, he has owned 17 automobiles in five years, from a watermelon
Ford to a white Cadillac, and he is a lavish tipper. He paid his U.S. Open
intense desire to win every tournament he plays has not diminished with
successive victories but remains as firm as ever. He is now especially eager to
win the British Open, and talks of trying to capture the Open of every country
which holds such an event. (There are 24 of them.) "Money is not as
important to me as championships," he has said.
In a sense,
Palmer is an amateur in a professional sport. The business sidelines that have
developed as he prospered frankly bore him. He has shrugged off his success in
his matter-of-fact fashion, enjoying it but hardly reveling in it. Recently he
went to a high school football game in Huntington, W. Va. "Nobody will know
me here," he said happily to a friend, a little bit of the old
hell-raiser's spirit in his voice. "We'll walk around down by the end zone
and if anybody comes over I'll say I'm a scout from Wake Forest and you say
you're a scout from Maryland."
Minutes later a
youngster in a football uniform came running up. Arnold Palmer put on his best
scout-from-Wake-Forest look. "Yes, son?" he said importantly.
"Excuse me," said the boy, holding out a crumpled popcorn bag, "but
would you autograph this for me, Mr. Palmer?"