Arnold Palmer was Tiger Woods 40 years before Tiger Woods. His down-to-earth, approachable personality and aggressive style of play helped make golf more than a country club status game. He, along with the growth of television, brought golf to the masses...and brought the masses to golf. Palmer had throngs of fans (known as "Arnie's Army") the way Tiger does now.

Palmer (DOB: 9/10/1929, Latrobe, Pennsylvania) won seven major tournaments (1958, 1960, 1962, 1964 Masters; 1960 U.S. Open; 1961 and 1962 British Open; the PGA Championship was the only major Palmer did not win in his career).

Palmer had 60 wins on the PGA Tour (61 according to some sources, including Palmer's company's online biography of him), with his first coming in 1955 (Canadian Open), several months after winning the U.S. Amateur Championship. He also was an impressive 22-8-2 in Ryder Cup matches, including being the playing captain of the American side in 1963 (the 22 wins remains a record). Palmer also won 10 tournaments on the Senior PGA Tour (some sites say 12), including the 1980 and 1984 PGA Seniors Championship and the 1981 U.S. Senior Open. His overly aggressive style on the golf course won him a myriad of fans, but might have cost him some golf tournaments.

Off the course, Palmer's become even richer with his business ventures, some golf-related, some not. He's the co-founder of the Golf Channel cable network.

Palmer has won many awards and honors, including being named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1960, Associated Press Athlete of the Decade in the 1960s, being a charter member of the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974 and being inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame in 1980.

In 1999, ESPN's SportsCentury selected Palmer as #29 on their list of the 100 greatest North American athletes of the 20th century.

Recently (in 2001), Palmer has been involved in a bit of controversy. After signing a long-term contract with Calloway Golf Clubs, Palmer started endorsing their ERC II golf clubs, which have been declared non-conforming (illegal) by the United States Golf Association (USGA). For this, he was been widely criticized, despite his insistence that he believes the clubs he's endorsing are superior products, and his support is not related to the money he's receiving.

Regardless, Palmer remains a golf legend, and along with Jack Nicklaus, helped elevate golf as a sport decades before Tiger Woods.

Editors Note:

Arnold Palmer died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 25, 2016, he was 87 years old.

A usually non-alcoholic drink consisting of half iced tea and half lemonade. (Some recipes call for adding vodka.) In the southeastern US, you can also usually order this as tea and lemonade without explaining that you want it in one glass, not two.

Arnold Palmer has said, through his personal assistant, that he believes his name became associated with the tea and lemonade mix about 30 years ago when he asked for it at a Palm Springs restaurant during a tournament. He made it his regular order, and the drink ended up being named for him.

I like it because I do like my iced tea lemony, but only half-sweet. You get some caffeine, but not too much, some quick sugar energy, but not too much, and even a bit of health-giving fruit. Mainly, though, I like it for its taste.

"The Beat", Denver Rocky Mountain News, August 14, 2002, p. 2D
Brown, Ann. "Word of the Week", Arizona Daily Star, April 26, 2002, p. F9

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