Palmer returns to Edmonton

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

Alan Prokop admits without Peter Jacobsen, there probably wouldn't be any Arnold Palmer. But the managing partner of the Blackhawk Golf Club could care less. One of the game's biggest legends is coming to play his course.

"They have a very close relationship," Prokop said. "It's almost like a father and son relationship. They have a special bond. And we know that without Peter Jacobsen, Arnold Palmer probably wouldn't come up here."

Jacobsen participated in the first two Blackhawk Tour Challenges as one of the marquee golfers. The seven-time PGA tournament winner was a big hit with fans. He also liked the Blackhawk club, which keeps him coming back.

"Peter loves coming up to Canada," Prokop said. "He has a great relationship with fans up here." Palmer hasn't been in Edmonton since winning the Canadian PGA Championship in 1980.

He also won his first professional championship here in 1955, winning the Canadian Open. Both tournaments were held at the Royal Mayfair Golf and Country Club. "Arnold Palmer is still one of the best-loved guys in golf," Prokop said.

"To bring him back 27 years after his last visit to Edmonton is pretty special. He's 77 now and it's probably pretty safe to say this is probably his last time back."

Unlike the previous two challenges at Blackhawk, the July 2nd event will be more intimate. Only 350 guests will be allowed in as spectators.

Also up for sale is a chance to play a hole with Palmer and Jacobsen. For a cool $5,000, golfers can get up close and personal with the legend.

A portion of the proceeds from the Blackhawk event will go to the Caritas Hospital Foundation.

"Being a more intimate event, fans are going to be able to interact with the players a little bit more," Prokop said. "There'll be a little bit more of a private feel to the event.

The first Blackhawk challenge in 2005 drew 2,500 fans.

Last year 1,000 tickets were sold to the event which featured Jacobsen, Tom Watson, Paul Azinger and Natalie Gulbis.

"Arnold is still that magnet that people want to see, especially that older demographic that grew up watching him and golf evolve because of him. "He still has that charisma that he had in the 50s and 60s."

Admission price for spectators has yet to be made public.But with such a limited number, organizers expect demand to be high.

"Out of respect for Arnold we want to create a very special experience," Prokop said.

"That's the primary reason for limiting the numbers. We didn't want to do an event that may exclude the general public from participating. But it's hard. Where do you draw the line?

"This is the way we thought would best be comfortable for everybody."


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