Make Mine An Arnold Palmer
What makes an athlete great? Pure talent, winning, many years in the spotlight, records, all these and more. What makes an athlete the greatest? That is a tough one.
Mohammed Ali was the greatest in the boxing world because he said he was. But it was more than that. He may not have been the most dominant boxer of all time, you could make a case that he was, but he definitely made boxing more interesting than any boxer before or after his era.
Golf just lost its greatest of all time. Arnold Palmer won a lot of tournaments, but others have won more. He won many majors, but others have won more. He turned millions of non-golf fans into golf fans…no one before or after has made a greater impact on the popularity of golf.
Jack Nicolaus was great and he had many fans, but he won so often and so easily, many fans wanted to see him fail. Tiger played perhaps like no one before him, but he had his detractors, especially after his personal life made the front pages. Not everyone rooted for Tiger.
Everyone wanted to see Arnold win. He played on the edge. He always went for the toughest shot, and the biggest drive. His swing was not classic and pretty, it was rough but effective. Arnold might fail but he never quit and he often snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. He did it with style, but with a working class determination in a country club sport.
Arnold hit the golf world as TV was beginning to showcase the game and people suddenly wanted to watch a game that prior had only snob appeal. Arnie brought the game to the common folk. Suddenly the public courses were packed and everyone was taking up the game. New golf courses were built all over the country and everyone was part of Arnie’s Army. He was the face of golf for decades, even after his prime playing days.
Search Google for bad things peoples have said about Arnold Palmer and you will find nothing. He was a gentleman, a businessman, a role model, a legend.
We lost a great one at 87 yesterday. Ice tea and lemonade might not be my favorite drink, but if you ask me who was the greatest most influential man in golf for the longest period of time, I say,
“Make mine an Arnold Palmer!”