"We've become somewhat close over the last two years," says Fowler, who is still looking for his first victory but is exempt into the Masters by virtue of his World Ranking (31st). "I've known him through his grandson Sam [Saunders, who finished 30th at Bay Hill]. I've been around him a little bit, and I guess he's kind of taken a liking to me. It's a cool person to have on your side. He's the King."
During Saturday's third round, Palmer and his longtime p.r. man, Doc Giffin, turned up in a golf cart that ferried them across the 16th tee and onto a swale by the lake that separates the 16th from the finishing hole. Palmer stepped out of the cart looking like a movie star. He was wearing gray slacks, a plaid dress shirt and had a red sweater draped around his neck. He was the coolest man on the property, and No. 2, whoever that was, was a distant second.
Palmer watched the golfers play through. Vaughn Taylor, an Augusta native trying to play his way into his hometown major, spotted Palmer from the 16th tee and approached him.
"Everything all right?" Palmer asked, and Taylor, who would finish 54th, nodded.
Then it was Fowler, bounding down the hill to greet his new BFF. "You can't really just walk by him," Fowler said.
Palmer gave Fowler a thumbs-up. Fowler went on to birdie 16.
That's Arnie, a tournament host unlike any other.