Rory McIlroy remembers the moment well. He was about to address the media after what was surely a highlight of his career. Moments before, he had won the 2016 Tournament Championship and, with it, the FedEx Cup. Then, a PGA Tour Official leaned in and delivered the shocking news: Arnold Palmer had just died.
Ironically, the Brit hadn’t won a tournament since that day when he showed up at Bay Hill last week. That’s a span of over 500 days. While McIlroy acknowledges that the exchanges between Palmer and himself were not always cordial, the two became close in later years.
It is unclear whether the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational Tournament Champion utilized any of the tips bestowed upon him by the Legend last weekend. However, the gallery in Orlando saw him navigate the course expertly, ultimately shooting an 18-under par 270.
It’s not far-fetched to believe that Arnie was smiling down from above as his former pupil won the tournament bearing his name.