SHAWNEE ON DELAWARE, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The world first heard Arnold Palmer’s name in 1954 when he won the U.S. Amateur. The following month, over a Labor Day holiday, Palmer played in a tournament at Shawnee Inn.
Little did he know that weekend, his next greatest win wasn’t on the course but over at the pool. And her name was Winnie Walzer.
“He saw her at the pool and tried to figure out who it was,” says Charlie Kirkwood, owner, Shawnee Inn & Golf Course.
Winnie was no stranger to the Shawnee Inn; her family had a membership and lived locally.
Kirkwood adds, “and the rest is history. Very quickly there after they became husband and wife.”
Soon after exchanging vows, ‘Arnie’ turned professional. But he still made time to visit the Shawnee Inn.
“He was a pioneer in the game. He’s the one who made the sport cool, popular,” says David Quinn, golfer from New Jersey.
The ‘King of Golf’ passed away Sunday at age 87.
“It’s just the passing of an era,” is how Kirkwood explains it.
Staff lowered the flags outside Shawnee Inn Monday morning to half staff to show respect for the legend.
“You knew it was going to come to an end sometime, with a superstar like that, but then when it finally comes to a end, its pretty sad,” says Quinn.
A superstar — leaving behind a legacy — and a local love story.
Winnie lost her battle against ovarian cancer in 1999. Six years later, Arnold Palmer re-married. He passed away Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh after heart problem complications.