Arnold Palmer: The Man Who Inspired An Army

AHEAD of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando this week the US PGA TOUR website is featuring a fascinating pictorial based piece on the life of Arnold Palmer, and the origins of the “Army” he inspired.

It begins with Palmer as a 17 year old junior at Latrobe High School, playing in the final round of the 1946 Pennsylvania state championship.

Writer Mike McAllister says towards the end of his round the teenage golfer faced a tough lie out of heavy rough.

Palmer lashed a 5-iron through a narrow gap between some trees and when his “risky, courageous decision paid off, as the ball rolled up to the green” the young American noticed the positive reaction from the “little gallery” that was following him.

“For the first time, there was a little gallery following me, and I remember how enthusiastically they cheered over that shot,” Palmer is quoted as saying. “Their response genuinely surprised me. They loved it…and so did I.”

McAllister says the endearing label of “Arnie’s Army” – the one that would eventually describe golf’s most avid fan base — was still years away from creation but that moment was a start.

The Palmer website feature is well worth a look, is easy to read with lots of photos and video, like the one below.

You can access the feature here

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