The KING of Golf Passes Away
6 Decades Wearing Nothing But Rolex
It is alway so sad to write a tribute when somebody so loved passes away. Arnold Palmer died today in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania hospital at the age of 87.
"I would like to be remembered for bringing golf to a worldwide audience."
Arnold Palmer is not only one of the great golfing legends, but also a lifelong Rolex wearer. He has had the nickname of "The King" of golf because he was the first golf superstar in the age of television. He is considered to be a member of "The Big Three" along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Arnold Palmer became the first official Rolex Golf Ambassador in 1967.
Golf and tennis are arguably the greatest physical games in the world, and Rolex both sports are dominated by ultra successful players who wear Rolex. It does not mater wether you are talking about The Open, or Wimbledon, Rolex reigns supreme on the wrists of the best players who have dominated both sports.
"Rolex has shared every second of my time for the last 54 years." –Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer was responsible for making the elite sport of golf popular with the masses. During his amazing career he won 92 overall victories including 4 Masters. He was also elected PGA Player Of The Year in 1960 and 1962.
An American Rolex President
Many of the U.S. Presidents, begging with Warren Harding, were big golf fans and players. U.S. Presidents beginning with Dwight Eisenhower were big fans of Arnold Palmer, as seen below in the photo taken in 1960.
You could almost say that Arnold Palmer was THE Golf Ambassador to the White House.
Arnold Palmer is pictured below in the Oval Office with President Nixon on February 13, 1969, along with fellow athletes, Bart Starr (NFL football player) on far left, and Al Kaline of the Detroit Tigers. Notice, that Arnold Palmer is wearing his yellow gold Rolex President Day-Date, which you can see even better, if you click on the photo.
In 1993, Arnold Palmer was awarded the National Sports Award by U.S. President, Bill Clinton, and in 2004, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.
In 2009, Arnold Palmer received the Congressional Gold Medal which is an award that has been around since the American Revolution. The Congressional Gold Medal recognizes distinguished achievements and contributions. In the photo below we see U.S. President Obama signing the "Arnold Palmer Gold Medal Act" in the Oval Office in the White House.
"Arnold Palmer had swagger before we had a name for it."
—U.S. President Obama
Arnold Palmer is only the second golfer in history to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, which has to be approved by two-thirds of the Congress & Senate. The very first Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to George Washington in 1776, and since then, only 141 medals have been awarded. President Obama sent out a tweet as a tribute to Arnold Palmer, which you can see below.
Here's to The King who was as extraordinary on the links as he was generous to others. Thanks for the memories, Arnold. pic.twitter.com/UlyfpIBOL2— President Obama (@POTUS) September 26, 2016
Groovy Baby Yeah!!!
This advertisement appeared in Sports Illustrated in the November 18, 1968 issue. So what did men do before the Sony Play Station Tiger Woods games existed–back in 1968? Here it is. The reason I am sharing this with you is you see that Arnold Palmer is wearing his yellow gold Rolex Day-Date 48 years ago, back in 1968. 1968 was–of course–the year of, "The Summer Of Love."
1982 Rolex Day-Date Ad
1980s Sidney Mobell Jewelers in San Francisco Ad
Yellow Gold Day-Date with President Bracelet
1992 Rolex Day-Date Tridor Ad
The photo below shows Arnold Palmer sporting his Rolex Day-Date Tridor, which is featured in the 1992 Rolex Ad above. Rolex called this watch the 'Tridor' as it featured center links that were composed of pink gold, yellow gold and white gold.
The photo above and below show a Rolex Day-Date Tridor Reference 18239 in detail and they appear courtesy of Bob's Watches. The photo below really shows the intricate precision of how Rolex achieved this amazing technological feat. Rolex discontinued the Tridor model many years ago, but it remains an interesting novelty in the history of Rolex design language.
Rolex Datejust ad from July 1995
Arnold Palmer & Jack Nicklaus
Two Golf Legends
ROLEX and Golf's Big Three
The term, "Golf's Big Three", refers to Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, who are pictured together below in 2007, all sporting their Rolex watches.
Notice Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus are wearing yellow gold Rolex Day-Date models and Arnold Palmer is wearing one of my favorite Rolex models, which is an original LV Submariner, which has a green bezel with a black dial.
In the photo below taken in the late 1960s we see the Golfs Big Three in the same order as the photo above.
Pictured below is a screen-grab from Rolex.com's Sports and Culture website from about 6 years ago. I featured golf's Big Three which consist of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Players.
It is amazing that the photo of Golf's Big Three was taken 50 years ago, back in 1962 when J.F.K. was the President Of The United States!!! Speaking of President's, the Rolex President is the primary watch choice of the big three.
Rolex Sports Legends
On July 23, 2007, five of Rolex' greatest sporting legends got together at Rolex headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Pictured above from left to right, 3 time gold medal olympic skier, Jean-Claude Killy; Racing legend, Sir. Jackie Stewart; Golfing legends, Gary Players, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus.
The Big Three (Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player) observe the laboratory at Rolex headquarters as new time pieces are created. [Note: In 2014 I had the opportunity to don a Rolex Lab Coat when I was invited by Rolex to take a tour of all four Rolex manufacturing facilities in Switzerland, and see for myself what really makes Rolex tick. Very few people from outside Rolex have ever witnessed this, and I hope in the future Rolex will created a detailed video documentary on this amazing experience. Until then, you can check out my super-detailed article titled "Inside Rolex: Exploring What Makes Rolex Tick."]
Here is the press release that described the event pictured above:
GENEVA - Golf's Big Three - Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus - celebrated perhaps the longest on-going commercial relationship in sports this week with a two-day visit to the home of Rolex watches, where they were honored by the managing director of Rolex SA, Patrick Heiniger, and a select group of about 40 guests including Rolex board members and senior executives.
Palmer and the business manager for all three golfers, the late Mark McCormack, first met the late Andre Heiniger, Patrick's father and then Rolex's managing director, while on a business trip to Japan in 1961, and the relationships grew from there. Nicklaus and Player were presented with Rolex watches to mark their U.S. Open victories in 1962 and 1965, respectively, and Palmer became Rolex's first golf ambassador in 1967.
Joining the Big Three were their wives and two other world-class sportsmen and Rolex ambassadors from the same era, the Grand Prix racing champion Sir Jackie Stewart and the Olympic and World Cup champion skier Jean-Claude Killy. They were all presented gold Rolex GMT Master II watches to mark the occasion.
There was an informal welcoming dinner on the evening of their arrival. The next morning they were given a tour and saw Rolex watches being made.
There was a ceremony in Rolex's Andre Heiniger Auditorium. A video of the Big Three created especially for the occasion was shown before Patrick Heiniger spoke and recognized the Big Three in these words:
"In 1960, Arnold gave new life to the British Open and made it a championship never to be missed by the best players. As a result he created the modern Grand Slam.
"In 1965, Gary overcame all odds to be the third golfer ever, and the first of his generation, to win all four of the major golf championships in his career.
"In 1986, Jack proved that he was indeed the golfer of the century, winning the Masters at 46 years of age, to increase his total to 18 majors, five more than the great Bobby Jones."
Heiniger continued: "Like you, we at Rolex honor excellence and achievement. We equally honor the humor and the humanity that all of you radiate. It is thanks to that magical mix that we are here together so many years down the road.
"What we share transcends our association through sport and is rooted in the timeless values that each one of you celebrates in your daily life, be it through your philanthropic work, your business activities, your passions, your hobbies."
After the ceremony there was luncheon in Rolex's executive dining room for all attending, and that the tour of the Rolex facilities was continued. In the evening, Heiniger entertained the Big Three and their wives with a private dinner to conclude their visit.
Founded in 1905, Rolex has been associated for exactly 80 years with "the pursuit of excellence in sports, the arts and exploration" - to quote from their corporate communications - starting with a young female swimmer from Brighton, England, in 1927, one year after the Rolex patented the first waterproof wristwatch.
The swimmer's name was Mercedes Gleitze, and she was 27 years of age when she attempted crossing the English Channel armed with a Rolex Oyster. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder and managing director of Rolex, saw the promotional value that Gleitze could have, and her feat was duly recognized with a front-page advertisement in the Daily Mail. Rolex was also associated with Sir Edmond Hillary's 1953 conquest of Mount Everest.
While other watch companies are connected with a few golfers, or have their name on a tournament, Rolex dominates the sport like no other sponsor in any product category. Its affiliations extend to all four major championships for men and for ladies, the Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup, Presidents Cup, European Tour, PGA of America, Rolex Rankings for ladies golf, LPGA Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards, and leading professional players including Phil Mickelson, Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Adam Scott, Retief Goosen and Luke Donald.
Rolex supports top sports and cultural events all over the world. It is present at more than 165 events in the realms of golf, yachting, tennis, equestrian events, motor sports, exploration, culture and the arts, as well as philanthropic awards programs, and Rolex's affiliates also support other local events.
Arnold Palmer with Andre and Patrick Hieniger
As mentioned in the story above, Arnold Palmer became a brand ambassador for Rolex in 1967, and he is pictured below with the second and third CEO's of Rolex, Andre Heiniger (center) and his son Patrick Heiniger (right). Arnold Palmer was the first big sports star that Rolex signed to be a paid brand ambassador, which really set a new precedent for Rolex. Arnold Palmer remained a Rolex brand ambassador until he passed away September 26, 2016.
"My Association with Rolex has been one of the most fulfilling and compatible relationships I have had the privilege of enjoying in my lifetime. To be honest, there is far more to the relationship than I could ever tell you, and you know, my partnership with Rolex goes back for nearly 50 years. I have had the pleasure of getting to know a lot of people at Rolex very well, and to be able to count them among my friends, so I have great feelings for Rolex. Not only have I learned a lot from the company, but Rolex has done so many great things over the years that have been of tangible benefit to golf as a sport." —Arnold Palmer.
The Rolex story above also mentioned that Andre Heiniger met Arnold Palmer through the famous sports agent Mark McCormack, who is featured in the Rolex add below:
Arnold Palmer is pictured below wearing his Rolex LV Submariner at a press conference in 2008.
The photo below shows Arnold Palmer in 2012 signing an autograph from the seat of a Golf Cart. Arnold Palmer was known for signing every single autograph when people asked him. Many people will miss his presence in the world. He was a great man!!!
The photo below shows Arnold Palmer with Modern Golf Legend, Tiger Woods, who is also a Rolex Gold Brand Ambassador.
No Matter how you dice or slice it (no pun intended ;-), Arnold Palmer lived a beautiful and charmed life. Take for instance the recent photos below, that were taken of Arnold Palmer with Supermodel and Actress, Kate Upton. On thing for sure, is that Arnold Palmer lived the fullest of lives...