Happy Birthday Arnie
The other day – Sept. 10 – Arnold Palmer turned 85 years old. And he’s still cool.
Not only did Arnie make golf big time – he made sports big time. At least money-wise for the players. Arnie and Mark McCormick were the guys to come up with the sports agent concept. And Arnie was the perfect guy to represent products and companies. He was handsome – but not pretty. He was stylish with his alpaca sweaters and pink shirts – but still masculine. He was confident – but not arrogant. He was charming – but not phony. Wow. Men admired him and women loved him.
And he was a great golfer. His swing was crazy – it drove Hogan nuts. But he kept the face square through the ball and could play a lot of shots. He had great hands – strong hands and yet had a lot of feel – and for awhile he was a great putter. And he played balls-to-the wall golf – it was so aggressive that it was mesmerizing.
Arnie made the PGA Tour what is. Arnie made the Senior Tour viable – it would have never happened without him. He won over 60 PGA tournaments. He designed over 200 golf courses. And … the half lemonade/half iced tea drink is known as an Arnold Palmer.
But not only is Arnie cool – Arnie is warm … that’s why he’s so special. You can feel it. Years ago at the Masters, a buddy of mine was repping Arnie’s golf clubs and wanted me to meet him. I said no (I’m not into meeting celebrities). But my buddy insisted, so I went over. Arnie looked at me while we talked – he didn’t look around for someone more important. We talked about how we both liked to put leather wrap grips on our clubs. He was very human – he was very warm.
How many people are very cool and very warm? Well, Arnold Palmer is. Hope he had a happy birthday.
GM and Head Golf Professional