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Birthday Tribute to Arnold “The King” Palmer

WOODLANDS, TX - MAY 04:  Arnold Palmer reacts to a shot during the Greats of Golf exhibition at the Insperity Championship at the Woodlands Country Club on May 4, 2013 in Woodlands, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Fred AltvaterContributor IIOctober 6, 2016

Arnold Palmer will celebrate his 84th birthday Tuesday, September 10, at home in Latrobe, Pa.

Palmer brought professional golf to television sets all across the land and drew working-class America to the game of golf.

A cigarette dangling from his lips, a tug at the waist of his trousers and his “go for broke” style enamored men and women alike.

He bridged the gap between Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead and brought golf into the modern era.

He won his first official PGA Tour tournament at the 1955 Canadian Open. The last and 62nd win of his career came in the 1973 Hope Desert Classic.

Along the way, he won seven major championships, including four green jackets. Augusta National and Arnold Palmer will be forever linked in golf history. He, along with Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, serve as honorary starters on Thursday morning of Masters week.

Through various endorsement agreements with Fortune 500 companies, Palmer is still one of the highest-grossing sports figures in America annually.

Throughout his life, he became close friends with entertainers and politicians. Bob Hope and President Dwight Eisenhower were frequent golfing partners.

Palmer has also been recognized off the golf course. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Palmer’s golf design company was founded in 1972 and has built over 300 golf courses worldwide. He is most proud of his Bay Hill Golf Club in Orlando and has made it his winter residence for many years. Bay Hill also hosts the Arnold Palmer Invitational every March and is a favorite among tour professionals.

He was instrumental in the foundation and development of the Golf Channel. It was the first cable channel dedicated solely to covering golf.

The man even has a drink named in his honor.

Arnold Palmer achieved the “American Dream” with charisma, style and a strong work ethic.

Perhaps his most important work will continue long after “the King” is gone.

He has passionately donated his time, money and talents to the growth of the Arnold Palmer Medical Center. Through Palmer’s efforts, the hospital offers the finest facilities and advanced technology in the treatment of children’s health issues.

The AP Medical Center includes the 158-bed Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the 285-bed Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.

Palmer and his former wife Winnie became associated with the hospital in the mid-1980s, and they helped raise millions of dollars for the facilities.

No child is refused treatment, and thousands of families have benefited and will continue to benefit from the treatment provided by the Arnold Palmer Medical Center.   

Arnold Palmer was a child of the Great Depression, and he fully appreciates the gifts that he has received throughout his lifetime. He signs every autograph with precision, meets every eye with a warm wink and greets everyone as a friend.

Happy Birthday, Arnold.

Long Live “the King.”

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