There’s a different feeling around Bay Hill Club in the lead-up to this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.
A mournful one.
Palmer passed away in September, making this year the first in which the tournament’s host won’t be watching over the proceedings.
So this week has become more about honoring “The King” than it has about the tournament itself. And rightfully so.
Palmer was a trailblazer for golf — and sports in general– so many of the game’s marquee players are honoring Arnie in their own special way.
Rory McIlroy posted a photo on Twitter of a letter Palmer sent him following hir first major victory at the 2011 U.S. Open.
In the letter, Palmer praised McIlroy for his play at Congressional and extended a personal invitation to his tournament the following year. McIlroy wouldn’t make it to Bay Hill until 2015, but he is back in the field this week to honor the golf legend.
Rickie Fowler also will honor Palmer in his own way this week, as he’ll be wearing custom Palmer-inspired shoes.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational tees off Thursday.
Thumbnail photo via Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports Images