Posted: Aug 17 2015
My only memory of my grandfather is a brief video clip - Robert Blair Rinnier caddying for Arnold Palmer on ESPN Classics. Never having met him in person, I’ve always been curious to learn more about him. Strange to know that he and someone as famous as Arnold Palmer were so close.
Coincidentally, about a year and a half ago, a huge Arnold Palmer fan who would later become my boyfriend (we didn't know each other at the time) wrote a letter to Arnold Palmer, expressing his honest admiration and gratitude for the king of golf. Not expecting anything in return, Michael was beyond excited to receive a note back from Mr. Palmer along with a signed autograph.
A week or two later Michael and I ventured out on our first date, and Michael used his Arnold Palmer story as an easy icebreaker. Needless to say, it didn't take much to win Michael over after sharing my own personal connection to Mr. Palmer. A year flew by, and without my knowing, Michael decided to write Mr. Palmer another letter to share the news that he was now dating his caddy's granddaughter. Within a week, Mr. Palmer had invited us to come to visit him at his home in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Giddy as we'll ever be, we road tripped to Latrobe, ecstatic and eager to meet the living legend.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted and made to feel right at home, as if we were the Palmer grandchildren. It was fascinating to see, touch, and ask questions about the countless golf and historical memorabilia that adorns the walls of Mr. Palmer's office, home, and golf club. Mr. Palmer shared many stories of my grandfather with me and even had a huge picture of the two of them on his wall. We laughed together when I learned that my grandfather had actually rigged the caddy pairing system to become Mr. Palmer's caddy in the first place but that they went on to win many tournaments together, including the U.S. Open. The day unfolded with Mr. Palmer and his wife, Kit, giving us a tour of their home, treating us to a delightful lunch at the club, and even taking us for a 9-hole spin around on their golf cart.