The news came out of left field and punched me right in the gut.
I was scrolling on Facebook this afternoon when I saw that Arnie Burdick, longtime media director for the Heritage golf tournament onHilton Head Island, had died. He was 92.
Arnie Burdick isn’t a household name to most folks, but to anyone who has ever covered the PGA Tour event he was an essential contact. He was one of those folks who didn’t need to be called by his last name; his first sufficed.
The story goes that Arnie retired after a legendary newspaper career inSyracuse,N.Y.Like so many snowbirds, he came toHilton Head Islandfor retirement. When the Heritage folks found out his background, they eventually persuaded him to take a job to work with the media.
I started going to Heritage media days in the late 1980s, and Arnie never forgot me. Like any good media director, he never forgot a face or a name. He was always quick to help with whatever I needed, and he was so nice that I would feel bad when I couldn’t make it down to cover the event.
One of the highlights at the tournament’s media day in late February is the presentation of the Arnie Burdick Media Award. It goes to a media member, usually a veteran scribe or broadcaster, who has covered the tournament for many years. The award itself is a pair of glasses with thick black frames, just like Arnie used to wear. The person who wins each year is always honored to be linked to Arnie.
I thought I knew a little bit about him, but it turns out I didn’t know much. For starters, he didn’t play golf. And he was quite the lacrosse player during his college days.
Here’s a link to his obituary:
Farewell, Arnie, and thanks for everything. You will be missed.