Celebrating Arnold Palmer’s 85th birthday, Golf Channel on Wednesday will air an encore presentation of the critically acclaimed Arnie which chronicles the life and legacy of Palmer and became the most-watched original production in Golf Channel history. The three-part television event will air in consecutive hours beginning at 3 p.m. ET and in primetime at 8 p.m. ET.
Narrated by actor Tom Selleck, Arnie showcases how the golfing legend revolutionized and transcended the game to become one of the most beloved figures in sports history. Arnie spans Palmer’s entire life to the present, from his early childhood through his amateur and professional golf careers, his various off-the-course enterprises and the legacy he has left in his wake. Throughout the presentation, golf’s iconic legends, family, business partners, colorful personalities and two U.S. Presidents recount the great stories that created the cultural phenomenon around the man.
Following the overwhelming response to Arnie when it first aired in April, Golf Channel continues to invite fans of Palmer to submit videos capturing their personal stories that can be used in a fourth installment, titled Arnie & Me, scheduled for a 2015 premiere. Golf Channel has set up a dedicated web page on Golfchannel.com that has been designed to collect the most compelling user-generated content from Palmer’s fans, affectionately known as “Arnie’s Army.”
The three parts of Arnie feature:
- “Arnie & His Army” – 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. This retrospective ranges from stories of Deacon teaching him how to grip a golf club to his early days on the PGA TOUR with his first wife, Winnie, as they raised a family together to those who helped build Palmer into a worldwide brand. And this brand was built around a man who never fails to acknowledge his fans or sign an autograph, an autograph famed for always being legible. Palmer believes if you are going to take the time to sign, make it right, which is a philosophy he has ingrained in other sports superstars. The first hour also delves into Palmer’s influence on sports marketing. Before Michael Jordan and Nike there was Arnold on his tractor touting the benefits of Pennzoil motor oil. He was the first athlete who had any kind of significant influence on popular culture, an influence that continues to this day. In fact, his range of influence has been unrivaled – evidenced in part by the fact that he could perform as a spokesperson for Pennzoil while, concurrently, serving as an ambassador for the luxury Rolex brand.
- “Arnie & His Majors” – Part two remembers Palmer’s competitive career, his go-for-broke style and his ups and downs at golf’s major championships. Covered are his amateur victories, including the U.S. Amateur in 1954, which he calls his most important win ever; his four Masters titles in a span of only seven years; the thrills of his U.S. Open victories and how winning the Open Championship in 1961 at Royal Birkdale changed that major championship forever in the minds of American players. Also explored is Palmer’s challenging history with the PGA Championship – the only major he never won.
- “Arnie & His Legacy” – The concluding hour delves into the legacy of Arnold Palmer and his influence on popular culture, which stretches way beyond the links. Despite his last win on the PGA TOUR coming 40 years ago, according to “The Golf Digest 50” money list, Arnold Palmer had his best-year ever in earnings in 2013 and was the third-highest earner off of the golf course, behind only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. This placed Palmer second behind Michael Jordan on Forbes’ list of highest-paid retired athletes in 2013. The Arnold Palmer brand has launched a wide range of businesses, including a lifestyle designer label in the Asian marketplace with more than 400 retail outlets, a self-titled iced tea-lemonade beverage, golf course design and management firms, and even a cable television network by co-founding Golf Channel nearly 20 years ago. And his long-standing relevance in popular culture continues to have an impact, evident by the fact that he was just as likely to have his photo taken with Hollywood starlet Esther Williams as a 17-year-old in the 1940s as he was with supermodel Kate Upton in 2013. He has always had the ear of golfing U.S. Presidents starting with his special friendship with President Dwight Eisenhower and the admiration of Hollywood icons like Bob Hope and Johnny Carson. And Palmer has reached the echelons of the rich and famous without compromising his core values throughout his life, which are on display with his many charitable endeavors that have raised millions of dollars for charities, including the world-renowned Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando and hosting the PGA TOUR’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at his Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge.