Arnold Palmer (1929 - )
Born Pennsylvania, USA, Palmer is one of the greatest golfers of the modern era and probably closest to the hearts of the American public than any other.
Palmer, whose father was a club professional, grew up with golf all around him. As a boy, he crept onto the golf course at dusk and practised pitching and putting. Although successful as an amateur, he decided to seek adventure rather than become a golf professional. In 1951, he joined the US Coast Guard and served for 3 years. Back in civilian life, he won the US Amateur in 1954.
Confident of his talent, Palmer turned professional on the back of that victory. He had the good sense to hire a business manager which enabled him to concentrate on winning tournaments. His game is characterised by precision putting and powerful drives or as Palmer puts it, "if you can see it you can hole it".
Palmer was made for television when it arrived in the 1960s. He great personality shone through and earned him enormous popularity. His fans, known as Arnie's Army, sometimes numbered in the thousands and were quite boisterous in their appreciation. He flew his own jet and sometimes 'spooked' the host golf course when arriving for a tournament.
Palmer went on to win the Open twice, the US Open once and the Masters four times. He also served on 6 Ryder Cup squads and represented his country 6 times in the World Cup. His achievements earned him a place in the Modern Triumvirate along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. A testament to his love of competitive golf is that he played on the Seniors Tour.
Coupled with his many victories on the course, Palmer's endorsements have earned him a large fortune. He also has an interest in several companies including an interior design company which is largely managed by his wife. It must also be said that Palmer also sponsors or has set in place the framework to encourage new talent; Curtis Strange's early training was funded through a Palmer scholarship.
Palmer is a true hero of golf and is fondly remembered for his great achievements and huge personality. In many ways he helped to shape the modern game and as such deserves our appreciation and respect. Press here to visit Palmer's Home Page (www.arnoldpalmer.com)