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Golf: 8 Surprising Things You Might Not Know About Arnold Palmer

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Jun 2016 09:11 AM

Golf legend Arnold Palmer is well-known for his illustrious golfing career, during which he packed in 92 professional championships, including four Masters Tournament wins. Here are eight surprising things you might not know about "The King."

1. Popularity
— Golf was considered an affluent, high-class sport when Palmer started swinging a golf club at age 4 at Latrobe Country Club, where his father, Milfred J. (Deacon) Palmer, worked as a golf professional and course superintendent, according to his website. Drawing a large group of supporters, dubbed "Arnie's Army," Palmer is credited with popularizing the sport.

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2. Wealth
— With a net worth estimated at about $675 million, Palmer ranks among the richest athletes of all time, The Huffington Post reported. Along with earnings from golf tournaments, Palmer's business ventures include golf course design, launching Golf Channel with cable entrepreneur Joe Gibbs in 1995, and his famous lemonade/iced tea beverage sold by AriZona Beverage Co. He has also been involved in automobile and aviation service firms and owns a car dealership, according to his website.

3. Charity
— Palmer has been involved in numerous charitable endeavors, including serving as honorary national chairman of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation for 20 years and leading fundraising for the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Women and the Arnold Palmer Medical Center in Orlando, according to his website. He was also instrumental in the formation of the Latrobe Area Hospital Charitable Foundation.

4. Marriage — Palmer proposed to his first wife, Winnie Walzer Palmer, four days after meeting her at an amateur tournament in Pennsylvania in 1954, Golf magazine reported. She was a 19-year-old Pembroke College student from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, and her parents were opposed to the marriage. The couple had two daughters, Peggy Palmer Wears and Amy Palmer Saunders. Winnie died of cancer in 1999, and Palmer remarried Kathleen (Kit) Gawthrop in 2005.

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5. Medals
— Palmer received the nation's highest civilian awards when he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2012, ABC News reported. In 2012, House Speaker John Boehner called the golfer a "model of integrity, passion, and commitment."

6. U.S. Coast Guard service — After his roommate died in an automobile accident, Palmer was distraught and joined the U.S. Coast Guard to get away, Coast Guard Compass reported. He served from 1951 to 1953, starting out as a physical fitness and self-defense instructor at the recruit training center at Cape May after training.

7. A licensed pilot
— During his 55 years as a pilot, Palmer amassed nearly 20,000 hours in the cockpit, flying open-cockpit biplanes and even a Boeing 747, Flying Magazine reported. In 2011 he announced that he would not renew his pilot's certificate after logging a final trip flying his Cessna Citation X from Palm Springs, California, to his home in Orlando, Florida.

8. Entertainment — Palmer enjoys watching westerns on TV and listening to country western music, his wife, Kit Palmer, told PGATour.com.

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Golf legend Arnold Palmer is well-known for his illustrious golfing career, during which he packed in 92 professional championships, including four Masters Tournament wins. Here are eight surprising things you might not know about "The King."
golf, arnold palmer, surprising, thing, know
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2016-11-14
Tuesday, 14 Jun 2016 09:11 AM
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