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Palmer still sets example of legible autographs
“Up to that, I always signed my name as I would sign a check,” Harrington said. “My caddie gave me a lecture after I won the Open. He said if he was a little kid and asked me for my autograph, and that’s what he got, he’d be very disappointed.”
The Irishman took that to heart. He now signs his full name, a style similar to Palmer.
“If you’re going to sign it, you’d be better off signing less and signing it properly,” Harrington said. “I do notice the others (that can’t be recognized). And I think it says a lot about the person.”
Zach Johnson signs with a “Z” and a line through it. He won’t win a penmanship contest, but there is no question whose name is on the flag. He is happy with his effort and believes it is legible. And then he saw another name on the flag.
“Not as legible as that _ oh, wow,” he said.
Above where he signed was the name of Michael Thompson, nearly all 15 letters in the name as clear as can be. Much like Harrington, Thompson took the advice of his caddie, Matt Bednarski, about a month after they began working together in 2011.
Previously, it looked like an EKG reading _ a mostly flat line except for two spikes (the “M” and the “T”) and a short drop for the “p.”
“I give credit to Matt. He told me to make it legible,” Thompson said. “I changed it to write every letter, to emulate Arnold Palmer. He has probably the greatest signature in history. You can’t read 70 percent of the names on a flag. Every now and then you can kind of make out who they are if you know the players. Mine sticks out like a sore thumb. I’ve gotten more compliments on my autographs from fans, kids and parents than I ever would have imagined.”
Rory McIlroy still has a lot room for improvement.
His signature is a series of loops that are as curly as his hair. It is difficult to decipher the “R” or the “M” or even what language it is. A young girl with an oversized foam golf ball at the Houston Open proudly showed her autographs. There was Steve Stricker, Justin Leonard, Mickelson. And then she gleefully said McIlroy had signed it.
She pointed to a bunch of loops. “I think he signed it upside down,” she said.
Mickelson is a master of autographs, signing for up to an hour after his round, though he has started to cut back as he gets older and has other obligations.
“I’ve got so many letters that it’s hard to make every one meticulous,” Mickelson said. “I do the best I can to make sure you know whose it is, but I still have to make it somewhat quick, too. But look at Palmer, Hogan, Nelson, Nicklaus. They always felt like if it was worth the time to do it, then do it right. Make it legible.”
Ian Poulter, of course, wanted some style. He finishes writing his name with a big loop that becomes a circle, and then he draws a hole and a flagstick in the middle of the loop.
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