Palmer's last course he had under construction in Minnesota
LAKE ELMO, Minn.--Hollis Cavner says he thinks his Royal Golf Club currently under construction in Lake Elmo, Minn., is the last course in the U.S. designed by Arnold Palmer.
LAKE ELMO, Minn.-Hollis Cavner says he thinks his Royal Golf Club currently under construction in Lake Elmo, Minn., is the last course in the U.S. designed by Arnold Palmer.
"I think he was working on one in Scotland," Cavner said Monday, "but as far as I know, ours is his last one here" in America.
When Palmer visited Royal Golf Club for the last time on Aug. 4, Cavner said he made Palmer promise him he would be back for the grand opening in July 2017. He said, "It's a deal."
Palmer died Sunday at 87. His design company created more than 250 courses around the world. After teaming with Cavner to build the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, the annual site of the Champions Tour's 3M Championship, they paired up again to remake what for decades was the 3M-owned Tartan Golf Course.
"I'm just so glad I got to do this golf course with him," Cavner said. "Ten years ago we started talking about this property. He wanted to see it to the end. He just couldn't quite make it."
Cavner said Palmer was admitted to a Pittsburgh hospital several days ago to have a heart valve replaced. "It just gave out before he could get it fixed," Cavner said.
Cavner said Palmer took a liking to him when he was a "go-fer" working on ESPN golf telecasts almost three decades ago. Cavner formed Pro Links Sports in 1992, putting on PGA Tour and Champions Tour events, plus corporate outings. Palmer participated in "five or six" of Cavner's events every year.
"He helped me out for 20-something years when he didn't have to," Cavner said. "He's been my buddy for a long time. I loved him to death. His legacy isn't as a great golfer, it's as a great human being."
Cavner said Palmer's health started deteriorating 18 months ago when he tripped over his dog Mulligan while they were out on a walk. "He never recovered from that," Cavner said.
Cavner got the news of Palmer's death early Sunday evening while out to dinner with former PGA Tour star Nick Price in Jupiter, Fla.
"I spent the rest of the night bawling my eyes out," Cavner said. "But you know what? Now I'm going to start celebrating his life. That's the way he'd want it."
Palmer will be at the forefront of this week's Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National. There will be a moment of silence during Thursday's opening ceremonies. Players from both teams will wear a patch during matches designed by the Palmer family.