On September 25, the world of golf lost one of its most prodigious players of all time, Arnold Palmer. He finished his career with 62 Professional Golfer’s Association of America tour victories which is the fifth most by any one golfer ever. During his collegiate years at Wake Forest University, Palmer won the 1949 and 1950 Southern Conference and NCAA individual titles and led his team to three Southern Conference championships.
In 2010, Wake Forest named a 17-acre practice facility after Palmer. He also started the Buddy Worsham scholarship along with another scholarship with his namesake.
Before Palmer played at Wake, he learned golf from his father, the greenskeeper at Latrobe Country Club in Latrobe Pennsylvania. After college, he joined the Coast Guard until he decided to go pro in 1954. His first win came at the Canadian Open during his rookie year in 1955. Palmer continued his career until 2004 when he finally retired.
Even with all of the success that surrounded Palmer, he never allowed it to change how he treated people. He was known to shake every hand and sign every autograph for the fans in attendance.
“He just really spread the game a lot, he was the first person to make golf fun, because he was the first person to interact with spectators a lot,” sophomore Zach Brown said.
Brown added that what really made Palmer special was that he took his time with every person that addressed him.
“He was able to spread the appeal of golf to the average or common man,” World History and Psychology teacher Michael McCulloch said.
Along with being one of the greatest golfers of all time Palmer is credited with the creation of the drink “Arnold Palmer”. It is a mix of lemonade and iced tea and first became popular in 1960.The story goes that he ordered the drink and a nearby woman overhead and ordered “that Palmer drink”. Although today the drink is said to be half lemonade and half iced tea, Palmer preferred 3 parts iced tea and one part lemonade. Since the early 2000s, the drink has been sold by Arizona Beverage company.
To honor the death of one of Wake Forest legends the university will put Palmer’s umbrella logo on BB&T Field, Spry Stadium, Kentner Stadium, David F. Couch Ballpark and the Joel Coliseum. The logo will also be found on athletes’ jerseys, football helmets and a flag carried by the football season at home games. On October 8, while playing Syracuse at home, Wake took the opportunity to recognize Palmer before the game. At the game, fans were also given the chance to sign a banner that will be given to the Palmer family on a later date.
Photo from NBC News