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L E’s Stories – After Church On Sunday: Pops And The Boys Were Part Of Arnie’s Army – Tribute To Arnold Palmer

It was off to Sunday school at 9 am every Sunday morning…..which was followed by Sunday church service with Pastor L. L. Morris at the 1st Baptist Church of Midland, Texas….which was followed by lunch at The Blue Star Inn, the most popular Chinese / American restaurant…..which was owned by Mr. Joe Chung, a restaurateur who greeted every visitor with a wonderful “Ah-so Mr. Wally and family”….as he knew the names of all of his regular customers….and Bone Daddy’s family never missed church…..and never missed Sunday lunch with Joe Chung.  The truth of the matter is that Bone Daddy has wonderful memories of eating at The Blue Star Inn….and especially Joe Chung’s annual Christmas party for his loyal customers….which included a personalized invitation to have dinner and drinks on him….as any invitee could order as much of anything on the menu as each person could eat….which was a special dinner with “no limitations” on the menu…..and you could “eat until you were full”.  After Sunday lunch at The Blue Star Inn….it was home to spend the Sunday afternoons watching sports on television….and since golf was popular with Pops and the three boys….that is when they would all root for Arnold Palmer….as they were devout members of “Arnie’s Army”….so this story is dedicated to the King of Golf himself.             

Golf – 1955 To 2006 – Special – Arnie’s Army Remembers Famed Golfer

Arnold Palmer (September 10, 1929 – September 25, 2016) was an American professional golfer….who is generally regarded as one of the greatest and most charismatic players in the sport’s history…..while dating back to 1955, he won numerous events on both the PGA Tour and the circuit now known as PGA Tour Champions…..as Palmer was nicknamed The King….while being was one of golf’s most popular stars …..as well as being seen as a trailblazer, the first superstar of the sport’s television age….which began in the 1950’s.                                                                                                                                                                        

Golf – 1954 To 2006 – Special – Documentary Film – “The King: The Legend Of Arnold Palmer”                                 

Palmer’s social impact on behalf of golf was perhaps unrivaled among fellow professionals…..as his humble background and plain-spoken popularity helped change the perception of golf from an elite, upper-class pastime (private clubs) to a more populist sport accessible to middle and working classes (public courses)…..when Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were “The Big Three” in golf during the 1960’s…..and were widely credited with popularizing and commercializing the sport around the world.

 

Golf – 2011 – Special – “The Big Three” Tee Off – With Arnie At 82 + Jack At 72 + Gary At 76

 

Golf – 2013 – Masters Par 3 Contest Special – With Arnold Palmer + Gary Player + Jack Nicklaus

 

Golf – 2015 – Golfing World Inside The Game – Gary Player on Arnold Palmer Friendship

 

Golf – 1984 – NBC’s Skins Game – Arnold Palmer + Jack Nicklaus + Gary Player + Tom Watson – With Vin Scully

In a career spanning more than six decades, Arnie won 62 PGA Tour titles from 1955 to 1973….as he is 5th on the Tour’s all-time victory list still in 2020….while trailing only Tiger Woods, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, and Ben Hogan. He won seven major titles in a six-plus-year domination from the 1958 Masters to the 1964 Masters. He also won the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998…..and in 1974 was one of the 13 original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame.                                                                                     

Golf –  1955 To 2006 –  Golf Digest Special – Arnold Palmer Tribute – With Chris O’Donnell + Jim Nantz + Wayne Gretsky + Patrick Reed

Arnold Palmer was born to Doris (Morrison) and Milfred Jerome “Deacon” Palmer in Latrobe, PA….which was a working-class steel mill town…..where he learned golf from his father….who had suffered from polio at a young age…..and was head professional and greens keeper at Latrobe Country Club…..which allowed Arnie to accompany his father as he maintained the course.  Palmer attended Wake Forest College on a golf scholarship….but he left school upon the death of close friend Bud Worsham….and enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard….where he served for three years from 1951 to 1954.  At the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey….where he built a nine-hole course and had some time to continue to hone his golf skills.  After his enlistment term ended, Palmer returned to college and competitive golf…..when Palmer won the 1954 U.S. Amateur in Detroit…. and made the decision to turn pro in November of that year.  “That victory was the turning point in my life,” he said. “It gave me confidence I could compete at the highest level of the game.”                                                                                    

Golf – 1969 – Shell’s Wonderful World Of Golf – Featuring Match Between Arnold Palmer Vs Doug Sanders

When reporters there asked Gene Littler who the young golfer was that was cracking balls on the practice tee, Littler said…. “That’s Arnold Palmer. He’s going to be a great player some day. When he hits the ball, the earth shakes.”….and after winning that match, Palmer quit his job selling paint….and played in the Waite Memorial tournament in Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pennsylvania….where he met his future wife, Winifred Walzer….to whom he remained married for 45 years until her death in 1999.  On November 17, 1954, Palmer announced his intentions to turn pro by saying….. “What other people find in poetry, I find in the flight of a good drive,”                                                                                                                                               

Music – 2019 – Mike Stone – “Thank You Arnie (We’re Your Army)” – Musical Tribute To Arnold Palmer

Palmer’s first tour win came during his 1955 rookie season….when he won the Canadian Open and earned $2,400 for his efforts….and then basically “raised his game” over the following season….while his charisma was beginning to be a major factor in establishing golf as a compelling television event in the 1950’s and 1960’s….which set the stage for the popularity it enjoys today….while leaving lasting memories with Bone Daddy, the original Sportsphile.  His first major championship win at the 1958 Masters Tournament established his position as one of the leading stars in golf….plus, he earned $11,250 for his 1st win at Augusta National.                                                                                                                                

Golf – 1955 To 2016 – Special – Arnold Palmer’s Letters Leave Enduring Legacy

By 1960, he had signed up as pioneering sports agent Mark McCormack….as his first client.  In later interviews, McCormack listed five attributes that made Palmer especially marketable…..his good looks…. his relatively modest background …..the way he played golf, taking risks and wearing his emotions on his sleeve….his involvement in a string of exciting finishes in early televised tournaments….and his affability.  Palmer is also credited for securing the status of The Open Championship (British Open) among U.S. players….cuz before Ben Hogan won that championship in 1953, few American pros had traveled to play in The Open….which partly was due to its extensive travel requirements….as travel in the 1950’s wasn’t quite like it is in 2020, I mean, can you say “face recognition” for speeding up the process….plus, the purse for The Open was pretty small back then…..and then there was the style of its links courses….which were radically different from most American courses).  At this point in  Arnie’s career, he simply wanted to emulate the feats of his predecessors Bobby Jones, Sam Snead and Hogan in his quest to become a leading American golfer.

 

Golf – 1960 – U S Open Highlights – Featuring Arnold Palmer’s Charge To Victory In The Last Round

Palmer finally traveled to Scotland in 1960 to compete in the British Open for the first time. He had already won both the Masters and U.S. Open and was trying to emulate Hogan’s 1953 feat of winning all three tournaments in a single year.  Palmer played what he himself said were the four best rounds of his career, shooting 71-69-67-69. His scores had the English excitedly claiming that Palmer may well be the greatest golfer ever to play the game.  British fans were excited about Palmer’s playing in the Open. Although he failed to win, losing out to Kel Nagle by a single shot,  his subsequent Open wins in the early 1960’s convinced many American pros that a trip to Britain would be worth the effort, and certainly secured Palmer’s popularity among British and European fans, not just American ones…..as Arnies Army had gone overseas and showed up in force at St Andrews, Scotland.  Arnie was greatly disappointed by his runner-up finish in the 1960 Open Championship…..but the fact remains that his appearance overseas drew American attention to The Open ….which had previously been ignored by the American golfers.  Palmer went on to win the Open Championship in 1961 and 1962….and last played in it in 1995. Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, called Palmer “a true gentleman, one of the greatest ever to play the game and a truly iconic figure in sport” His participation in The Open Championship in the early 1960’s “was the catalyst to truly internationalize golf,” said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.                                                                                                                                           

Golf – 1960 – British Open Highlights – With Kel Nagle + Arnold Palmer + Roberto DeVicenzo

 

Golf – 1961 – British Open Final Round Highlights – Featuring Arnold Palmer

 

Golf – 1962 – British Open Highlights – With Arnold Palmer Winning His 2nd British Open In A Row

Palmer won seven major championships:

  • Masters Tournament: 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964

  • U.S. Open: 1960

  • The Open Championship: 1961, 1962

However, the measure of this incredible golfing legend wasn’t consumed by the seven majors that he won….nor the 68 PGA events he won….nor the 92 championships he held in his golf bag…..but rather, the number of people that he touched….as The King had time for everyone “big and small”…..as he made sure to make all of those around him feel like they were an integral part of The King’s Court.  An enduring legacy of this man’s kindness are found in the many letters that he personally took the time to write….and that speaks more volumes than even his extraordinary golf career.                                                                           

Golf – 1958 – The Masters Highlights – Featuring Winner Arnold Palmer

Golf – 1960 – The Masters Highlights – With Arnold Palmer Champion

 

Golf – 1962 – The Masters Highlights – With 1st 3-Way Playoff In Masterrs History – With Winner Arnold Palmer

Golf – 1964 – The Masters Highlights – Featuring Champion Arnold Palmer

Palmer’s most prolific years were 1960–1963….when he won 29 PGA Tour events….which included five major tournaments in four seasons.  In 1960, he won the Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete of the year and Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Sportsman of the Year” award….as “Arnie’s Army” stretched far and wide….with millions and millions of followers who will never give up their “enlistment in Arnie’s Army”.  In 1967, Arnold Palmer became the first man to reach $1 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour…..when by the late 1960’s, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player had both clearly ascended into their “Big Three” rivalry….for what is truly amazing is that Arnie won a PGA Tour event every year from 1955 to 1971 inclusive….and in 1971 he enjoyed a revival while winning four events….as well as winning the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average four times in 1961, 1962, 1964 and 1967…..while he played on six Ryder Cup teams in 1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1971 and 1973….and was the last playing captain in 1963….plus he  captained the team again in 1975.  Arnie also won the 1st World Match Play Championship that was held in England….which was an event originally organized by his sports agent Mark McCormack to showcase his stable of players…..as the partnership between Palmer and McCormick was one of the most significant in the history of sports marketing…..for long after Arnie ceased to win tournaments, he remained as one of the highest earners in golf due to his appeal to sponsors and the public….which was living proof of how much Arnold Palmer meant to his multi-million strong Arnie’s Army…..who were big purchasers of the products he pitched.                                                                                                                      

Golf – 1960 – U S Open Special – Caddying For Arnold Palmer – As Told By Gil Reed

Palmer was eligible for the Senior PGA Tour (now PGA Tour Champions) from its first season in 1980….and as with the PGA Tour, he was one of the marquee names who helped the Seniors Tour to become successful. Arnie’s Army were treated to ten wins on the tour….which included five senior majors…..all of which came after passing age 50…..then in 2004…..Arnold Palmer competed in the Masters Tournament for the last time….which marked his 50th consecutive appearance in that event.  At his death, he and Jack Nicklaus were the only two Masters champions to be regular members of Masters organizer Augusta National Golf Club….as opposed to the honorary membership the club grants to all Masters champions.  From 2007 until his death, Palmer served as an honorary starter for the Masters.  He retired from tournament golf on October 13, 2006, when he withdrew from the Champions Tours’ Administaff Small Business Classic after four holes due to dissatisfaction with his own play. He played the remaining holes but did not keep score.                                                                                                      

Golf – 1994 – Shell’s Wonderful World Of Golf – Match Between Arnold Palmer Vs Jack Nicklaus – On Pinehurst No. 2 Course

Palmer had a diverse golf-related business career, including owning the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida….which is the venue for the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational….while helping to found The Golf Channel….and negotiating the deal to build the first golf course in the People’s Republic of China…..which was the precursor to the formation of Palmer Course Design in 1972, which was renamed Arnold Palmer Design Company when the company moved to Orlando, Florida, in 2006. Palmer’s design partner was Ed Seay….and they designed more than 300 golf courses in 37 states, 25 countries….and five continents (all except Africa and Antarctica).  In 1971, he purchased Latrobe Country Club (where his father used to be the club professional) and owned it until his death. The licensing, endorsements, spokesman associations and commercial partnerships built by Palmer and McCormack are managed by Arnold Palmer Enterprises. Palmer was also a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. 

 

Golf – 1955 To 2006 – Golfing World Inside The Game Special – Arnold Palmer: A Legacy Fit For A King

In this lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile’s opinion….which is supported by all the sports video content that I have viewed while posting 5,500 videos….is this…..there are many times in sport where an athlete is legendary, but not the greatest of all time…..where they are more important to their sport, than being the best to ever play the game….and that is who Arnold Palmer was….for he was the horse that professional golf rode into the explosion of the game all over the world….as there are still a large number of Arnie’s Army still alive and kickin’ in 2020….and like Pops and the three boys, many of them enlisted while sitting around a black and white television with “rabbit ears” antennas following Arnold Palmer around the golf course on any given Sunday.                                                                                                                                       

Golf – 2016 – Golfing World Special – Arnold Palmer Memorial Service With Words From Jack Nicklaus & Grandson Sam Saunders

 

 

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