Remembering The King: Arnold Palmer
Sunday afternoon at the Tour Championship gave us plenty to talk about, as Dustin Johnson stumbled to the finish line at Eastlake, and relinquished the FedEx Cup and $10 million bonus check to a charging Rory Mcilroy. Then Sunday evening came, and delivered the sobering news that golf’s greatest ambassador, Arnold Palmer, had passed away at the age of 87.
It has been no surprise that Arnold’s health had been ailing in recent months. His few public appearances this year provided visual proof that The King was struggling. But that did not stop Arnie from providing his iconic thumbs up to beloved fans at this year’s Masters and Bay Hill Invitational. Arnold’s fans, known as “Arnie’s Army,” have remained as strong as ever since he burst onto the scene in the 1950s. Arnold’s 62 professional victories and 7 Major Championships dubbed him the name of “The King,” but his blue collar background and widespread appeal to the masses helped him achieve the title “The Peoples Champion.”
Aside from his legendary career on the links, Arnie’s inventiveness in the business realm will leave his largest footprint on the game of golf. Arnold was the first to monetize the game through endorsements and advertisements, blending golf with pop culture. His efforts early on have helped pave the way to the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus check we see in the game today, a figure that exceeds the career earnings of Arnie and Jack Nicklaus combined. Arnie’s largest achievement may very well be the inception of the Golf Channel in 1993, a network that now reaches more than 70 million households in over 81 territories worldwide. His tireless efforts to grow the game of golf have helped Arnold become the third-highest paid retired athlete in annual earnings, behind that of Michael Jordan and David Beckham.
Arnold leaves a legacy that will be forever remembered and appreciated amongst golf fans across the world. He leaves behind a sport that would not be what it is today without his work on and off the golf course. Myrtle Beach is no exclusion to the Arnie effect, as he designed two premium courses on the Grand Strand, River’s Edge and King’s North.
A toast to the The King, Arnold Palmer!