PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

A memory for a lifetime

December 11, 2009

On a lark on Christmas Eve, 1967, Peter Deeks and some friends, emboldened no doubt by the evening's refreshments, decided to place a phone call to one Arnold Palmer, whose phone number in Latrobe, Penn., surprisingly was listed. Deeks called, Palmer answered and they spoke for 12 minutes, a story that Deeks recounted here as part of the USGA's compilation of memories to commemorate Palmer's 80th birthday in September.

It wasn't the first time that Deeks had told the story, but it might have been the last, or close to it. Deeks, 64, died following a brief illness in Toronto on Nov. 6. His obituary said that he was a lifelong member of Rosedale Golf Club in Toronto and Gator Creek and Sara Bay in Sarasota, Fla.

It's probably safe to say that however many memorable moments his passion for the game provided him, none surpassed that phone call to the King, who was gracious enough to chat amicably to a stranger on Christmas Eve, 42 years ago.

-- John Strege