Almanac Golf: RIP Arnold Palmer – Long Live the King

Arnold Palmer, King of Golf and the World’s first global sporting brand, passed away today in Pittsburgh.


Palmer won seven major titles between 1958 and 1964, including the Masters (4), the U.S. Open (1), and the British Open (2).


Palmer won 62 tournaments on the U.S. tour over 5 decades, with close to $7 million in prize money. He was the first golfer earn $1 million in purses.







  1. Growing up in the 60’s Arnold Palmers personified American brashness and optimism. His golf swing looked agricultural but he hit it a mile and like Seve in later years he was relentlessly competitive and aggressive in his shot making. We aped his knock kneed putting stance and punchy swing. We played with the Dunlop 65 golf ball that celebrated his US Open final round winning score.
    With the ever present cigarette and lock of hair falling across his forehead, he exuded masculine risk taking. I liked him least of the big three after Player and Nicklaus at the time. It is only in recent years that I have come to understand the man beyond the image.
    His partnership with Mark McCormack and his fledgling IMG made him the poster boy of Coca Cola imperialism, but he came from a humble background. Towing a caravan to early tournaments with his young wife. No one gave more to charities and youth golf once his wealth was established.
    He single handedly rescued the British Open from obscurity in 1960 when he played in the centenary Open at St Andrews after a decade in which the best US players had stopped competing due to the travel and poor prize money. Australia’s Kel Nagle beat him that year, but determined to be an international ambassador for golf he came back to win in 61 and 62.
    A decent, hard working, generous man. The bedrock of professional golf.
    Vale Arnie. The army has lost its general.

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