User-Generated Sequel Follows Critically Acclaimed Arnie, Which Became Golf Channel’s Most-Watched Original Production
Arnie & Me Kicks Off Golf Channel’s Coverage of PGA TOUR’s Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, Beginning Wednesday, March 18
Golf Channel was overwhelmed by the fan response to its 2014 presentation of the critically acclaimed three-part television event, Arnie, which was described as “mesmerizing” by Sports Illustrated, “tremendous” by CBS Sports, and a “three-part epic” by Golf Digest. Therefore, Golf Channel invited fans of Arnold Palmer – affectionately known as “Arnie’s Army” – to submit videos that captured their personal stories, with the intent to create the fourth installment to Arnie, titled Arnie & Me, premiering Tuesday, March 17 at 10 p.m. ET.
The collection of stories featured in Arnie & Me is emotionally heartfelt and funny – in some cases both – and told from a soldier who, with his Army comrades, started “Arnie’s Army” to a Super Bowl MVP, Peyton Manning. They provide proof of the unique connection Palmer, one of the most beloved figures in the history of sports, has shared with his legion of fans over the years. Produced by Golf Channel Films, the hour-long special will be presented with limited commercial interruption, courtesy of presenting sponsor Insperity.
“Arnie & Me was born from the tremendous outpouring of fans’ personal stories, which were interwoven within the overwhelming response to Arnie over the past year,” said Mike McCarley, president of Golf Channel. “This film brings many of these stories to life in a raw and unfiltered manner that allows fans to share their connection to Arnold Palmer.”
Arnie & Me producers sifted through more than a thousand videos that were submitted for the project, ultimately, deciding on approximately 40 stories to be featured, including:
- While stationed at the Army base in Fort Gordon, Ga., in 1959, Edward Batta (Roseland, N.J.) was looking for a way to get out of duty, so he volunteered to hold the gallery ropes at the Masters. The press wrote about how the soldiers cheered for Palmer and, thus, began the legion of fans now known as “Arnie’s Army.”
- As a youngster, Skip Manning (Denver, Colo.) captured the visor Palmer famously flung into the air after sinking the clinching putt at the 1960 U.S. Open. He became keeper of the visor until he later donated it to the United States Golf Association Museum.
- William Murray’s (Long Beach, Calif.) father looked forward to playing in a pro-am with Palmer. So much so that he delayed needed surgery, fully knowing his decision could cause him serious health issues. Luckily, he received good news in the end.
- Sandy Fenton (Thousand Palms, Calif.) humorously recalls her mother’s preference for keepsakes, including always carrying in her wallet a photo of Arnold Palmer and the family dog, but no photo of her.
- Dan Callahan (New York, N.Y.) recalls being moved by the speech Palmer delivered to his Wake Forest University football team prior to the 2007 Orange Bowl.
- While playing golf with his father at Latrobe Country Club, a young Eric Hegedus (Pittsburgh, Pa.) hit an errant shot that landed on an adjacent tee box where Palmer stood. Arnie took the time to coach him to hit what became Eric’s best shot of the day.
Arnie & Me also features stories from celebrities who recall special connections with The King, including star NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bench, supermodel Kate Upton, NBC Sports commentator Al Michaels, golfer and Golf Channel on NBC analyst Peter Jacobsen, Feherty host and golf analyst David Feherty, and PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. PGA TOUR pros Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and D.A. Points also reminisce about their children born at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.
After the Arnie premiere in 2014, Golf Channel asked fans to share their photos, videos and anecdotes of their moments with The King via social media using the hashtag #Arnie, and thousands of entries poured in from all over the world. Golf Channel also will be showcasing some of the stories featured in Arnie and Me on social media via a video countdown starting Tuesday, March 10. On the day of the premiere, fans will be encouraged to share their thoughts on the stories and The King using the hashtag #Arnie. They also can follow @GolfChannel and the social conversation around Arnie and Me using the hashtag #Arnie or by visiting GolfChannel.com , which has a robust library of extended cuts of interviews.
Production on Arnie & Me was led by Golf Channel Senior Producer James Ponti, with oversight by Golf Channel Vice President of Original Productions Jay Kossoff. The Tuesday, March 17 world premiere of Arnie & Me will be preceded at 7 p.m. ET by an encore presentation of Arnie, which has been described as “mesmerizing” by Sports Illustrated, “tremendous” by CBS Sports, a “three-part epic” by Golf Digest, “what might be the most important project in Golf Channel’s 20-year history” by the Associated Press, and “the kind of biographical treatment usually reserved for U.S. presidents” by Advertising Age. The three parts of Arnie – produced by 13-time Emmy Award winner Israel DeHerrera – plus the final installment, Arnie & Me, features:
- “Arnie & His Army” (7 p.m. ET) – Part one recalls the people who influenced Palmer and instilled the values of integrity and human kindness that helped make him the man he has become both on and off the golf course, with special tribute to his parents Deacon and Doris.
- “Arnie & His Majors” (8 p.m. ET) – Part two remembers Palmer’s competitive career, his go-for-broke style and his ups and downs at golf’s major championships.
- “Arnie & His Legacy” (9 p.m. ET) – Part three delves into the legacy of Arnold Palmer and his influence on popular culture, which stretches way beyond the links.
- “Arnie & Me” (10 p.m. ET) – A new, concluding installment featuring personal stories about Arnold Palmer.
Arnie & Me kicks off a special week, March 16-22, which also features pro-am, early round, and weekend lead-in live coverage of the PGA TOUR’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard on Golf Channel, weekend coverage on Golf Channel on NBC, and weekend Spotlight coverage focusing exclusively on Bay Hill’s challenging finishing stretch of holes on Golf Channel that complements NBC’s traditional live coverage. In addition, Golf Channel’s Golf Central and Morning Drive will originate from the Bay Hill Club and Lodge throughout the week.