Quotes on Palmer
He is the most immeasurable of golf champions. But this is not
entirely true because of all he has won, or because of that
mysterious fury with which he has managed to rally himself. It is
partly because of the nobility he has brought to losing. And more
than anything because of the pure unmixed joy he has brought to
--Dan Jenkins (of Arnold Palmer)
Arnold Palmer is an early riser. He is anxious to get the day going
because who knows how many good things might happen.
It's always good to see Arnie in an event. It means I'm not the
oldest one in the field.
--Don January (on the two month difference between his age and
In 1960, Sports Illustrated chose Arnold Palmer as its "Sportsman of
the Year" and I went to West Virginia, where he was playing in the
West Virginia Open, to interview him for the story. It was a good
place to talk, because there wasn't much pressure in the tournament
and not much competition for Arnold's attention. And, I'll never
forget; we were in a diner. Arnold was eating a hamburger. There
was a bottle of ketchup on the table, and Arnold said to the
waitress, "You shouldn't use this kind of ketchup; Heinz is better."
After she left, I asked him, "What's with the ketchup?" And he told
me, "I have a ketchup contract." But that's the way Arnold was. He
really thought that, because he had a contract, he had an obligation
to be out there selling Heinz ketchup 24 hours a day.
--Ray Cave, Sports Illustrated
Arnold [Palmer] is the greatest role model that any sport ever had.
When a young fellow comes on the tour today, sooner or later one of
the old timers like myself will take him aside and say, "Study that
man. Look at the way he loves the game, conducts himself, and treats
other people. Arnold Palmer is the one you want to be like.
Arnold's [Palmer] place in history will be as the man who took golf
from being a game for the few to a sport for the masses. He was the
catalyst who made that happen.
All good things come to an end, so someday Arnold [Palmer] won't be
playing golf anymore. And that will be a very sad day for all of us,
when we don't see Arnold on the golf course. He's our foremost
ambassador to the world and the international symbol of excellence
The first time I saw Arnold Palmer was at a tournament in Tijuana in
1955. My wife said to me, "I saw the most exciting golfer I've ever
seen today; a fellow named Palmer." I thought she meant Johnny
Palmer; a short guy with rosy cheeks and bushy black har. She said,
"No, this guy looks more like a middleweight fighter." So I was
puzzled, but the next day on the course I saw a young guy with his
shirt hanging out, whacking the heck out of the ball, and sometimes
it landed in the fairway, and sometimes not. And that was Arnold
Arnold [Palmer} has what I call an 'Eisenhower smile'. Those two
men, they'd smile and their whole faces would look so pleasant; it
was like they were smiling all over.
Arnold Palmer is the most aggressive player in the history og golf.
Some guys, if they're behind six or seven strokes, they start
playing for fourth place. Arnold could be behind six or seven
strokes and the last day he'd go out and try to shoot zero.
Arnold embarrassed a lot of guys on the tour into signing
autographs. A lot of players used to snub fans. They'd give some
kind of excuse about being busy and run on, and Arnold was so
wonderful about it, so patient with fans, that the other guys had on
choice but to follow his example.
I like playing in front of the Army. It was wild at times. When
Arnold teed up his ball, they cheered. And if I'd walked on water,
they wouldn't have noticed. But I enjoyed the excitement of all
those people, and I think the Army was good for golf.
It is doubtful that there was a man present at Birkdale [1961
British Open] who wanted Palmer to lose. It's impossible to
overpraise the tact and charm with which this American has conducted
himself on his two visits to Britain. He has no fancy airs or
graces; he wears no fancy clothes; he makes no fancy speeches. He
simply says and does exactly the right thing at the right time, and
that is enough.
Arnold Palmer invented pro golf as it exists today. Ben Hogan didn't
make golf popular. Hogan was as much fun to cuddle as a porcupine.
Nicklaus didn't do it. It was all going on th tour by the time
Nicklaus got there. Palmer's the King. He's the one who made it all
There's a tale that's told, presumably apocryphal, about a round of
golf that Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan played in 1960. On the first
hole, Hogan scored a textbook par-3. Palmer's drive came to rest in
a tree stump; his second shot made it to the edge of the green; and
he holed a 40-foot putt for par. On the second hole, Hogan's drive
split the fairway; his second shot was on the green; and he two
putted for another classic par. Palmer's tee shot landed in three
inches of water; he blasted his second shot out onto the fairway;
his third shot came to rest several feet beyond the green; and he
chipped in for par. On the third hole, Hogan executed four more
near-perfect precise shots for his third par in a row. Meanwhile,
Palmer's tee shot landed in the rough; his second shot landed in a
bunker; and his third shot bounced into the hole for a birdie.
Whereupon Hogan turned to Arnold and demanded, "Look dammit; we're
here to play golf. Stop fooling around."
A big-name winner like Palmer is a modern King Midas. Everything he
drinks, smokes, wears or drives can turn to gold. All he has to do
is testify, yes, that's what I put on my hair, smoke, drink, wear,
drive, swing and hit.