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The King - Arnold Palmer

The man who made golf an art form

Posted Aug 31, 2010 by Legends

Arnold Palmer

In every sport, you have one quintessential person who transforms the game from pastime to art form, a person who gets the public buzzing by their shear presence and someone who propels the game into the limelight and makes it stick.

And The King, Arnold Palmer, is that man to golf.

Palmer made the game beautiful. He made the game accessible. He made people want to play golf. But his life is more than just golf. His life has touched many people.

Palmer, as well as being a golf immortal, is a highly successful businessman, a prominent advertising spokesman, a skilled pilot, a talented golf course designer and consultant and a devoted family man. He has reigned supreme on the golf course, he has beaten prostate cancer, he has given back to his community and to charity. He is a legend.

So where did it all start for the great man?

The golf boom of the latter half of the 20th century proved a major milestone in his life as this is when his popularity and success soared to heights that few anticipated would be possible for a golfer before Palmer started playing.

The 1960s were his decade and he was names ‘Athlete of the Decade’ in a national Associated Press poll after winning the majority of his 92 championship crowns during that time. A total of 62 of these came on the US PGA Tour and started with the 1955 Canadian Open.

However, it wasn’t just this magnificent record that made Palmer the legend that he is. He has a magnetic personality coupled with an unfailing sense of kindness and thoughtfulness to everybody he meets which has endeared him the millions worldwide and has led to the formation of ‘Arnie’s Army’ – the largest non-uniformed ‘military’ organisation on the planet.

On the course, The King won seven major championships with four Masters victories – 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964 – one US Open in 1960 and two British Open crowns in 1961 and 1962. His US Open win came in spectacular fashion after he came from seven shots behind in the final round.

The only major to elude his grasp is the USPGA Championship in which he finished second in three times. He also played in two Ryder Cups and served as the victorious captain in 1963.

These achievements, coupled with his business success and work with raising money for many charities, led to Palmer being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from then President George W. Bush.

There is so much that can be written about Arnold Palmer and his auto-biography sums it up perfectly, but to me he will be another golfer I would have loved to have seen in his prime. Golfers and people like Arnie don’t come along too often and it is amazing that he fulfilled hi spotential and gave so much to his sport and to those around him. What a legend!

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