In his third book, Arnie and Jack – Stories of My Long Friendship with Two Remarkable Men, former LPGA Commissioner Charles Mechem shares stories and anecdotes about Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, two men with whom he shared golf and business bonds for more than 50 years. It’s a “must read’’ for any golf fan who can’t get enough of the King and Golden Bear, and even for those non-golfers who want a peek behind the curtain at what makes great men, well, great.
Published by Mission Point Press, Arnie and Jack includes forewords by Nicklaus and Doc Giffin, Palmer’s personal assistant for 50 years. Palmer died in 2016 at age 87. Nicklaus, the holder of a record 18 Major championships, celebrated hs 82nd birthday this past January.
Actually, the 152-page page book includes a third remarkable man – Mechem himself. Credited by many within the golf industry as the man who saved the LPGA, Mechem writes about Palmer and Nickaus with the same unabashed enthusiasm he brought to his five years (October 1990 to Dec. 31, 1995) as commissioner, a time when he attended every tournament, shook ever hand, kissed every baby and established relationships between the TV networks and sponsors that formed the foundation of the LPGA as it exists today..
Mechem’s remarkable legal and business career spanned six decades and included his role as a longtime advisor to Palmer and Nicklaus. Few people, outside of their families, had access to Palmer and Nicklaus the way Mechem had.
“They are two of the most extraordinary people who have ever lived inside or outside or sports,” Mechem told me.
Palmer and Nicklaus continue to transcend the game of golf – and American sports. Mechem, as gifted a storyteller as he is a businessman, relates his stories as easily as if were having a beer with you inside the clubhouse.
“I just chose stories I thought would not only interest people, but give them additional insights into the types of men these guys were,’’ said Meachem, 92. “As time goes on, their impact won’t be felt as prominently as the past 15 or 20 yeas, but Arnold Palmer basically changed the PGA Tour. And Jack impacted it because of his incredible performance.’’
“They were different in several ways. Arnie was the most charismatic athlete of his time. Jack was more private, bit very wam off the course. But there were very similar in important ways. Each had the same view of integrity, honestly, and playing the game properly. All the good stuff athletes have.’’
Arnie and Jack is available in e-book and print versions at Amazon. For other retail locations, visit www.charliemechem.com.