Bandwagoning The Big Names: Arnold Palmer

In honor of Arnie’s upcoming Invitational, l wanted to take a deeper look at one of golf’s favorite legends.

Arnold was born in 1929 in Pennsylvania. His father, a groundskeeper at a country club, taught him the sport before he went to college on a golf scholarship. After three years in the U.S. Coast Guard and an eventual completion of his education, Palmer won the U.S. Amateur in 1954 and went on to become known as “the King.”

Photo: Arnold Palmer Design
Photo: Arnold Palmer Design

Palmer won seven majors in his career, but never landed the elusive PGA Championship, coming in second place on three separate occasions. Total, the man amassed 62 career wins on the PGA Tour, four on other tours, and 10 on the Champions Tour.

A few of his MANY notable achievements include: garnering “Arnie’s Army,” a huge and diverse fanbase that adored him and watched his every move; becoming the first man to reach $1 million in Tour earnings; playing on the U.S. Ryder Cup team six times and captaining it twice; appearing in the Masters Tournament 50 times; and being an active pilot for more than 50 years.

Photo: Airport Journals
Photo: Airport Journals

Arnie took his rightful spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974 and took home the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. He’s won countless other awards – Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year (1960), Old Tom Morris Award (1983), Presidential Medal of Freedom (2004) and many more.

He isn’t just well-known for his game; the “Arnold Palmer” – half lemonade, half iced tea – is a regular drink request all over the country. As the story goes, in 1960, Arnold ordered “half lemonade, half iced tea” during the U.S. Open and was overheard by a woman at the bar. She later ordered “that Palmer drink,” linking the beverage with Arnold.

Photo: Golf Channel
Photo: Golf Channel

Aside from family-friendly drinks, Arnold has taken his brand off the tee in numerous other ways. He owns the Bay Hill Club and Lodge (the site of this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational), he’s got his own course design company, he helped found the Golf Channel, he has his own wine company, and he bought Latrobe Country Club, where his father used to work.

Arnie, at the age of 85, is still heralded as one of the greatest there will ever be, and as much as I love my guys – Jordan, Rickie, Rory, and so on – getting to meet them pales in comparison to shaking the hand of Arnold Palmer.

His invitational begins tomorrow, with Rory McIlroy making his first start in the tournament. I’m ALWAYS excited about golf, but this will be a particularly interesting week of coverage as they put a spotlight on the King.

Photo: U.S. Coast Guard
Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

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