Arnold Palmer, golf legend and entrepreneur
interviewed by Brandel Chamblee, Golf Channel analyst
From tee to tea, Palmer recounts success on and off the links
Arnold Palmer is legendary for his more than 90 national and international golf championships. But it was his business and philanthropic prowess that enchanted audience members at the Forum on Thursday, where he was interviewed by Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.
Palmer’s entrepreneurial success is plentiful and far-reaching. The “fashion mogul,” as Chamblee dubbed him, backs the Arnie clothing line, which is sold in more than 400 retail stores in Asia. His passion for what’s known as the “Arnold Palmer” — a mix of lemonade and tea — is now bottled in a former Rolling Rock brewery in his hometown of Latrobe, Pa.
Palmer fondly recalled playing golf with President Dwight Eisenhower after winning the 1958 Masters and of his rivalry with another golf legend, Jack Nicklaus. He spoke with pride about how he lent his name to a children’s and women’s hospital in Orlando. “If I ever walked in and it smelled like a hospital, I told them that my name would come off,” he said.
On stage, he was choked up recalling the emotions of what it was like to stand on the first tee as a representative of his country on the opening day of the Ryder Cup and listen to “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Palmer was quick to credit his eventual success on and off the course to the lessons he learned from his father early on. “I can’t thank my father enough for the things he taught me,” he said.
Among those lessons? How to grip a golf club. “That’s still the way I hold a club today,” he confirmed.
“I was always willing to take chances on the course,” Palmer said, “and shoot through the trees if that’s the shot I needed to get to the winner’s box.”
For over a half century, Arnold Palmer has been one of the best-known sportsmen and businessmen in the world. As a professional golfer, he has won 92 national and international championships, 62 of them on the regular PGA Tour during his prime playing years. Most prominent among the professional titles were four Masters, two British Opens and the memorable U.S. Open Championship at Cherry Hills in Denver in 1960. Palmer has been equally successful in the corporate world. He is President of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, a world-encompassing organization that covers his business, licensing and appearance activities, and he has ownership positions in three golf and country clubs, an automobile dealership and a golf course design company. He was enshrined as a charter member of the World Golf Hall of Fame as well as the American and PGA halls of fame. President George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, and he received the Congressional Gold Medal at the U.S. Capitol in September 2009.
Brandel Chamblee grew up in Irving, Texas, and went to college at the University of Texas (UT). There, he was a three-time All-American golfer and was inducted into the UT Hall of Honor. Upon graduating he turned professional and won events on the Web.com, South American and PGA tours. But in 2004 he made the transition from professional golf to the broadcast booth. He has become more well-known for his work at Golf Channel and has been ranked as the best golf analyst in TV. In addition to his contributions to Golf Channel, where he mixes studio obligations for the Golf Central and Live From programs with calling live tournaments, Brandel writes columns for Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine. When he is home in Scottsdale, Arizona, he raises three young children and serves as the Scottsdale Golf Ambassador for the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.