Arnold Palmer Doesn’t Give Grandson Sam Saunders a Sponsor Exemption to Arnold Palmer Invitational

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Never let it be said that Arnold Palmer plays favorites, not even with his own family. Palmer’s grandson, Sam Saunders is trying to break through onto the PGA Tour and is currently earning his stripes on the Tour. Prior to that, however, he played is college golf at Clemson. After leaving school he received a sponsor exemption for three consecutive years to play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Hey, it’s all about who you know, right?

Well, grandpa isn’t giving anything to Saunders anymore. He’s going to make him work for it. ”That’s where he needs to be,” Palmer said. ”If he’s good enough to play here, he has to prove it to me. He has to play on the dot-com tour first. He’s aware of it. He’s very aware of it. Why do they want to play here if they can play over there until they’re qualified to be over here?”

Saunders will be playing the Tour event in Louisiana this week. Last week he finished tied for 12th in Chile and completed the 2012 season in 50th place. He is hoping to finish the in the top 25 this year, so as to secure his PGA Tour card for next season.

I think it’s great that Palmer gave his grandson a chance to take part in the event. I think it’s even better than he is now making that same grandson earn his own way into the event. Palmer wasn’t given anything during his career, and he knows that true success can only be attained after putting in the requisite amount of hard work.

Palmer also made an excellent point that by giving his grandson an exemption, it is taking the spot away from another golfer that is more deserving. ”I’ve got to look at all these kids in the face when I gave Sam an exemption, which he doesn’t deserve,” Palmer said. ”How can I tell them they don’t get an exemption if they’re good? So it was an easy decision.”

It’s good to know that Palmer has not lost an ounce of class over the years. Good for him and good for his grandson. Hopefully the kid earns his way into the event next year.

Carl Conrad is the Senior Golf Writer for Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.