Inspired by a recent television series on a golfer whose competitive prime came 50 years ago, Adam Marcoulier was motivated enough to write the former golfer a letter, asking for a favor.
In a move that should surprise no one, Arnold Palmer came through.
Marcoulier wrote Palmer in April, wondering if the seven-time major champion might consider sending along a congratulatory note to Nate Marcoulier, Adam’s younger brother who would soon be graduating from St. Bernard’s High School in Fitchburg. The brothers live in Leominster; Nate will be joining Adam in the fall at Stonehill College.
Palmer’s reply came a month later, and arrived at the house three days before Nate’s graduation party. When Adam handed Nate his graduation present, he told him to handle it carefully. As soon as Nate saw Palmer’s name and the colorful umbrella logo on the back of the envelope, he knew exactly what he was holding.
“Dear Nate,” Palmer’s letter began. “I understand from your brother, Adam, that you are quite a golfer and a great younger brother. I hear you’ve won several tournaments, including the Massachusetts Division II District Tournament. Congratulations!”
Nate was speechless.
“I probably read it six or seven times before it really came close to sinking in that Mr. Palmer actually wrote me a letter. I still really can’t believe it, to be honest,” Nate said. “It was definitely the coolest present I’ve ever gotten.”
In his note, Palmer passed along five bulleted points to follow, his suggestions on how to live a fulfilling and enjoyable life.
“Courtesy and respect are timeless principles, as well as good manners.”
“Knowing when to speak is just as important as knowing what you say.”
“Know how to win by following the rules.”
“Know the importance of when and how to say thank you.”
“Never underestimate the importance of a good education.”
He concluded by wishing Nate good luck in college, and the typed letter was signed by Palmer.
“I thought there was a good chance we’d get something back,” said Adam, a 21-year-old senior-to-be at Stonehill. “I figured, why not try at least? At the very worst, if we don’t get a letter back from him, I can give the letter I wrote to Arnold to my brother for his graduation. Fortunately, he ended up with both.”
The gesture by the 84-year-old legend made an impact on the 18-year-old high school graduate.
“Getting that letter is something that I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life,” Nate said. “It can be something I can show my grandkids later on. I can be like, ‘Yeah, Arnold Palmer wrote your grandfather a letter here.’ It’s cool to think about it like that.”
A field of 142 players will converge on Weston Golf Club starting Tuesday to decide the 105th Massachusetts Open. The 54-hole event will cut to the low 50 and ties (or anyone within seven shots of the lead) after the second round. Included among the 142 are 51 amateurs, although professionals have won the Mass. Open each of the past 14 times; Kevin Quinn was the last amateur champion, in 1999. Evan Harmeling will try to defend the title he won last year in a playoff. The Andover resident is trying to win back-to-back Mass. Opens, which hasn’t happened since Geoff Sisk did it in 2006-07. Harmeling won’t have to deal with three past winners of the Mass. Open: Fran Quinn (1990), Jim Renner (2008), and Rob Oppenheim (2009) all qualified for next week’s US Open . . . The USGA announced that Thomas Bjorn, who is dealing with neck and shoulder injuries, has withdrawn from the US Open. Richard Sterne also withdrew, with an undisclosed injury. Replacing them in the field are Scott Langley and Andrew Dorn.
The Sagamore Spring Golf Club team of Barbara Horwood and Karen Fossett defended their title in the Allen Bowl, a Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts tournament held at The Captains Golf Course in Brewster. Horwood and Fossett shot an 86 to win the gross division. They also tied for low net at 64, but that title went to Linda Jamieson and Mary Von Freymann of Presidents Golf Course . . . Lisa Anderson won 4½ of a possible 6 singles points, helping Team Massachusetts to a second-place finish in the 111th Griscom Cup, an annual event that also includes eight-person teams from New York and Philadelphia. Massachusetts finished with 35 points, behind Philadelphia (43½) and ahead of New York (29½). The other Massachusetts members were Rita Bedard, Joanne Catlin, Chelsea Curtis, Amy Dickison, Mary Gale, Pam Kuong, and Katie Nelson . . . Alyssa Morahan of North Reading and Jacquelyn Eleey of Quincy will be competing in the US Women’s Amateur Public Links after advancing from a sectional qualifier at Cyprian Keyes. Morahan was medalist with 79, while Eleey shot 82. The USWAPL will be held for the final time in 2014, at The Home Course in Dupont, Wash., July 14-19 . . . A 2-under-par 68 at Haverhill Country Club gave Larry Hamberger of Bellevue Golf Club low pro honors at a New England PGA pro-member tournament. Low team gross was shared by the Indian Ridge foursome of Scott Gainey, John Nadeau, Bob Masys, and Peter Lane, and the Black Swan CC entry of Matt Cunningham, Howard Reeve, Paul Seccareccio, and Rob Brown. Low net went to the Haverhill team of Jason Dufresne, Mike Berube, Mike Comei, and Richard Tatarczuk . . . Phillip Johnson of Renaissance shot a 4-under-par 68 at Indian Pond to edge Daniel Venezio of Myopia Hunt Club by one shot and win an NEPGA assistants spring series tournament.
The second class of inductees for the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame will be honored at a dinner on Oct. 16 at Blue Hill CC in Canton. The new six-member class (which is actually seven individuals) includes Ted Bishop, the Curtis sisters (Margaret and Harriot), Joanne Goodwin, Paul Harney, Bob Toski, and Fred Wright. Toski and Goodwin are expected to attend, as are family members for the other inductees. Tickets to the event, which will feature a cocktail reception, dinner, and video tributes, will be made available in July. For more information, visit the hall of fame’s website at www.massgolfhall.com . . . There’s been a date change for the Norfolk County Women’s Classic Four-Ball at Presidents GC. The tournament will be held July 25. Entry forms will be available at www.presidentsgc.com starting Saturday . . . The player slots are filled, but club, equipment, and monetary donations are still being accepted for Monday’s James McDonough Four-Ball Invitational at Wollaston GC. The tournament benefits the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund and St. Sebastian’s School, and all golf equipment is donated to the First Tee of Massachusetts. For information, visit www.jamesmcdonoughfourball.com . . . Harris English, Russell Henley, and Erik Compton have been added to the field for the CVS Caremark Charity Classic, which is June 23-24 at Rhode Island CC . . . Last call for the Mass. Amateur Public Links: Applications for this year’s tournament (Cranberry Valley, Aug. 5-6) are due by 5 p.m. Thursday. There are six qualifiers, starting June 30.Have any local golf news that should be included? Michael Whitmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.