87 Years of Royalty And Smiles
Widely known as “The King” across the world of golf, Arnold Palmer grew the sport of golf in every possible aspect. His style and good looks propelled him to the top of sporting popularity while his golf game and risk-taking carried him near the top of the list of all-time greats in the game. Winning 7 professional major championships and 88 other professional wins, the King is one of the most star-studded and decorated golfers, if not athletes, of all time.
He was 87 years old.
Arnie’s earlier years were spent humbly; his father was a greenskeeper. He took young Arnold to learn and experience the game with him. As his experience and love for the game grew, he started playing and was skilled enough to end up playing for Wake Forest University on a scholarship. One of the more honorable parts of Palmer’s career comes next.
He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Following Palmer’s service in the Coast Guard, he returned to Wake Forest for competitive golf and ended up winning the 1954 U.S. Amateur Championship. His decision to turn professional and continue playing was now tenfold. During his professional career, he would go on to join the widely heralded “Big Three” of golf with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Those three, with the help of each other, would end up changing the game forever with their ever-lasting rivalry. Golf grew in almost every continent due to the success of Palmer and his supporters, dubbed Arnie’s Army. Because of him, winner’s paychecks increased, legacy of the tours became more broad, and the overall skill level of professional golf went up. His style caused excitement and some of the most incredible and clutch golf shots ever hit. While he always wore a smile, he was one of the greatest competitors to ever walk the links.
Some of the Moments in Pictures
The King rolls in a long putt in the final round of the 1964 Masters Tournament to win by 6 strokes.
Palmer having the Green Jacket put on him after shooting -5 on the back side of Augusta National to win the 1962 Masters in a playoff.
Arnold Palmer shot -5 on the front nine at Cherry Hills en route to a final-round 65 to win the 1960 U.S. Open by 2 strokes over Jack Nicklaus
Palmer hits a shot during the 1961 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, his first of back-to-back Open Championship victories.
Arnold Palmer may be remembered by some as someone who didn’t complete the Grand Slam, someone who lost three U.S. Open 18-hole playoffs, and by many non-golfers, is known for being the brand name of a half-lemonade, half-iced tea drink. However, his philanthropy and generosity to organizations and foundations whose missions are to grow the game of golf are forever-lasting and incredible. 7 major championships and never being a losing Ryder Cup team spell out his career on the course, but off the course is where Palmer made perhaps the greatest of all his impressions to the golf world. Arnie once said, “Concentration comes out of a combination of confidence and hunger”. He is credited to supplying many aspiring golfers, now tour professionals, with this hunger and eventual confidence to succeed and win golf tournaments. He also once said, “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated”. For all of us, Arnold Palmer made it look the easiest all the time.
Thank you, Mr. Palmer. May your smile and style forever grace the game of golf.
Images from Boston Herald, BBC, Sports Illustrated Golf, and Golfer’s Digest.