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Arnold Palmer Invitational Sees Attendance Rise In First Year Without The King

Arnold Palmer Invitational Sees Attendance Rise In First Year Without The King

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Leishman lamented being the first winner of the tournament not to be greeted by Palmer
The first Arnold Palmer Invitational without its iconic host "provided the kind of Sunday drama that would have made The King proud to deliver his famous 72nd-hole handshake," according to Edgar Thompson of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Marc Leishman won the tournament on a day "filled with momentum swings and heartbreak for several golfers with a chance coming down the stretch" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/20). In Boston, Ron Borges writes Palmer’s "memory and his love for golf hung over the tournament all week." Leishman said, "It’s a huge honor to win this event on a year when we’re honoring such a great man. Sad to be the first guy to walk off 18 and not be greeted by Arnold Palmer but it’s been an unbelievable week for me" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/20). Borges writes "everyone noticed" Palmer's absence. Golfer Rickie Fowler said, "To look over and be in one of the last few groups and not see Arnie up on the hill, it was definitely different." Fowler added, "Not everyone is going to play here but there are guys that do enjoy this course. On top of that, it still being Arnie’s event, guys will be here" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/20).

HAPPY DAYS: In Orlando, Mike Bianchi writes as time goes by, "we can only hope that golfers worldwide continue to give the thumbs-up to Arnie’s statue, his legacy and, mostly, his beloved tournament." Fans yesterday "lined up by the hundreds to get their picture taken in front of the new larger-than-life statue" of Palmer. The tournament was a "resounding success." The crowds were "phenomenal" and the weather "wonderful." Tournament COO Marci Doyle said, "The crowds were way up this year, and I think that can be attributed to Mr. Palmer. Our goal this week was to pay tribute to Mr. Palmer and hope that he would be looking down smiling and happy." Bianchi: "Let’s hope new PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is right when he says he will do everything in his power to make sure The Arnie remains one of the Tour’s premier events" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/20).

LOOKING DOWN FROM ABOVE: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes the "most informative piece of technology this weekend was during NBC's coverage" of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Using a split screen, the camera on the left "focused on the golfer's swing, while the picture on the right was an overhead shot of the hole with a tracer showing exactly were the ball was headed." Jones: "Good stuff" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 3/20).

THE LEGEND GROWS: In Orlando, Naseem Miller reports the fifth annual Arnie’s March Against Children’s Cancer "raised more than $280,000 to benefit patients at Haley Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Arnold Palmer Hospital" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 3/17).

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