The King holds court for Gus Andreone

By Bob Denney
Published on
The King holds court for Gus Andreone

Living most of his professional life in Pittsburgh, PGA Professional Gus Andreone never got the chance to formally meet Arnold Palmer, who would occasionally visit Andreone’s home course, Edgewood Country Club.

“I spent 30 years at Edgewood, and Arnie Palmer would occasionally appear for special events. But, his father, Deacon, came once a year to play,” said Andreone, 104, the PGA of America’s oldest and longest serving member. “I never got to meet Arnie. I did get to know Deacon, who was tremendous in relating to people. It rubbed off on Arnie.”

Andreone, who lives in Sarasota, got his wish on March 2, traveling southwest of Orlando to meet the 86-year-old legend at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, which Palmer has owned since 1974.

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Since 1979, Bay Hill has been a regular Tour stop, and in 2007 became the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.

“We got to talk about old times, and Arnie couldn’t have been more gracious,” said Andreone. “Arnie had taken a fall recently, and it was fortunate that he could finally be able to meet. I’ve enjoyed many wonderful things in life; this was at the top of the list.

“Any player today could take a page out of Arnie’s book on how to treat people. Arnie opened the door to help players enjoy what they do today through his ability connect to the fans.”

Andreone, who still plays golf twice a week at Palm Aire Country Club in Sarasota, said that Palmer is one of the few who justifiably carries a title, “The King.”

“Nobody will ever take title from Arnie,” said Andreone.