Professional Gold legend Arnold Palmer (1929-2016) died September 25, 2016, at age 87
|Palmer, Nicklaus 1966|
Before the match, there was a $100-a-plate luncheon for 100 persons. At 1:30 PM, Palmer and Niklaus gave a 30-minute golf "clinic" to the assembled guests. Reportedly, 1,500 spectators purchased a ticket for $10 to watch the match.
The match began and 2 PM on the WCC South Course, with Palmer teamed with Delaware State Amateur Champion Roy Marquette. Jack Nicklaus was team up with another famed amateur golfer William (Bill) Hyndman III, from Philadelphia, who had participated in 15 National Amateur Golf Championships. Nicklaus shot a course-tying record of 69; Palmer shot 71; Marquette shot 73; and Hyndman shot 75. The Morning News newspaper edition of September 9, 1966, carried a photo in the "sports" section that showed the 1,500 spectators crowding around the first green.
After the match, C. Rodney Smith, Vice-President of Free Europe, Inc., wrote a thank-you letter to the Delaware Committee Co-Chairmen, in which he said, “
The turnout for both the lunch and the golf exhibition and the newspaper and radio coverage were all amazingly good. It was a good illustration of how effective an imaginative idea can be when so well executed.
The wider knowledge about Radio Free Europe, as well as the financial support, generated by the lunch and exhibition with their attendant publicity is very valuable to us. The interest in RFE and East Europe displayed by the newsmen was impressive….It was a genuine pleasure to meet both of you and your distinguished guests, and to get to see Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus in action. Their pre-match demonstration shots as well as their play on the course were something to watch. Those two have personalities to match their professional golfing abilities.
|Smith at Left|
The exhibition match raised $8,200 to help support Radio Free Europe. The 1965 Delaware fund raising campaign resulted in $3,500 in private contributions for RFE. Coincidentally, Nicklaus and Palmer each received $3,500 for their participation in the match.
For more information about the life of Arnold Palmer, visit http://www.arnoldpalmer.com
Photo of C. Rodney Smith courtesy of Hoover Institution, Radio Free Europe Collection, Stanford University
Photo of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, after winning a team event in 1966 in West Palm Beach, Fla.