He was called “The King of Golf,” but more importantly was known as “a man who connected with the masses.”  He was also a businessman, philanthropist, trailblazing advertising spokesman, talented golf course designer and experienced aviator. Yes, Arnold Palmer led a life that would make any #5 FEIR proud. Sadly, the world lost ‘Arnie’ on Sunday at the age of 87, the quintessential “accessible common man.” How’s that for the down-to-earth “Opportunist”?

Palmer was one of just a few #5s to find success on Tour, also including Greg Norman, Payne Stewart, Severiano Ballesteros, Davis Love III, Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer, and John Daly. Today, they are virtually extinct at the professional level, as the game becomes more complicated, calculated, consuming, and one might argue … less of a game. To be sure, Arnold’s approach to golf would not last long if he were a hopeful youngster today. “While his approach on the course was not a model of aesthetics the whirlybird followthrough, the pigeon-toed putting stance it worked for him. With thick forearms and a thin waist, Palmer had an aggressive risk-reward approach to golf that made for compelling theater. He hit the ball with authority and for distance and ushered in an aggressive, hitch-up-your-trousers, go-for-broke, in-your-face power game rarely seen in the often stoic and staid sport.”  In fact, it was said that Ballesteros, Langer, and Norman all adopted the same gambling style that Palmer made famous in the 1960s. Go figure, being #5s themselves!

Of course, Palmer’s arch-nemesis would forever be Jack Nicklaus (#8 BEIL), though the two would always be best of friends. “We were great competitors, and loved competing against each other,” Jack Tweeted shortly after news of Arnie’s death. “But we were always great friends along the way. Arnold always had my back, and I had his. We were always there for each other. That never changed.”

And to end with a bit of wisdom from Mr. Palmer, “Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character.

Written by: Staff
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