When it comes to the game of golf, most participants are well mannered and civilized. Little running about and tackling, just caddy talk, whispers and awesome respect for one another as a general rule. Enjoying the great outdoors and doing what they love, golfers are a different breed when it comes to sports and competition. Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus may be the exception, as the living legends have all been friends and foes over the years and will remain so until the end.
As the Memorial Tournament is underway, Palmer, Player and Nicklaus’ living memories of years gone by seems to continue. The trio have developed a comradery and friendly rivalry lasting decades amongst the greenest golf courses of the world. Palmer and Nicklaus along with Gary Player were the first to promote the game of golf as a popular sport. Branching out with their own courses and endorsing products along the way, fame from winning eventually took on new dimensions.
Sponsors have regularly called on the golf pros to endorse their products and promote sales with commercials. It is easily attained work and pays almost as much as winning a tournament or championship, so why not!? Many other pro athletes have followed suit with their recognized names from Olympics, such as Bruce Jenner for Wheaties and Michael Phelps for Subway. In the old days, it was mainly Palmer peddling wares for companies, but since then most popular athletes are approached with handsome benefits for doing an ad.
Almost by surprise, Palmer found himself promoting a product he believed in and had actually created. He favored half iced tea and half lemonade as his drink of choice after playing a round of golf and often ordered it as his usual. It became known as the Arnold Palmer and quickly created a following of likeminded fans. The word was out, as entrepreneurs latched onto his concoction and sold the idea to AriZona Beverage Company.
The half and half mix has become a staple in most grocery stores and is available in bottles, cans and jugs. Palmer’s concoction is the perfect blend and revives the senses with few calories. Although non-alcoholic, some prefer to add their own twist to the drink for an extra kick. Palmer is no stranger to winning, as he has won numerous events around the world and at age 84, he seems to be staying in the game. Boasting over $100 million in sales from his beverage, Palmer continues to be a living legend.
At age 74, Jack Nicklaus is not to be outdone. He is the host and creator of the Memorial Tournament held at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. The Golden Bear now has his own blend of lemonade on the market. The beverages come in three varieties, flavored with either mango, strawberry or honey and ginseng. Nicklaus himself has been the winner of the Memorial Tournament two times, in 1977 and in 1984. His success in world speaks for itself.
Gary Player is content with his own home-made drink of choice to help keep him active and fit. The 77 year old pro lives on vitamin packed natural blends of herbs and veggies and exhibits the stamina to prove it is working.
As the younger crowd of golfers are achieving, winning and doing their own endorsements, the original three of Palmer, Player and Nicklaus remain friends and rivals to the end. It appears as if it is always a good time to hit the little white ball and relax with a cool beverage. Scandals and personal lives aside, golf provides a bond of friendship and the perfect setting for business and pleasure.
By: Roanne FitzGibbon