Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS -


One of the more piv­otal mo­ments in the his­tory of mod­ern golf — all sports, for that mat­ter — was the hand­shake agree­ment be­tween Palmer and IMG founder Mark McCor­mack to rep­re­sent him in con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Palmer was more than a golfer. Com­pa­nies couldn’t get enough of him, and he cap­i­tal­ized on the op­por­tu­nity. His earn­ings went from $6,000 a year to more than $500,000 in the first two years of his agree­ment. He had deals with Pennzoil and Rolex, Cadil­lac and United Air­lines, Call­away and Heinz Ketchup.

In 2011, nearly 40 years af­ter his last PGA Tour vic­tory, Palmer was No. 3 on Golf Di­gest’s list of top earn­ings at $36 mil­lion a year. He trailed only Tiger Woods and Phil Mick­el­son.


Palmer and Joe Gibbs founded a new net­work in 1995 called the Golf Chan­nel, which im­me­di­ately was panned as a waste of air time. Ten­nis mag­a­zine de­scribed it as “24 hours of chubby guys in bad clothes speak­ing in

jar­gon that only they un­der­stand.”

In the early days, even Palmer had his doubts, and the ques­tion arose whether in­vestors should cut their losses. They asked Palmer what he thought, and his an­swer is now on a wall at Golf Chan­nel head­quar­ters in Or­lando, Florida.

“I said, ‘Let me say this to you: If I didn’t try to hit it through the trees a few times, none of us would be here,”’ Palmer said in 2015.

Now, ev­ery golf fan knows about the Euro­pean team at the Ry­der Cup be­cause Golf Chan­nel tele­vises the Euro­pean Tour, along with the LPGA Tour, the PGA Tour Cham­pi­ons and the week­day rounds of all PGA Tour events.


Palmer pi­loted his first air­craft in 1956, and 10 years later, he had a li­cense to fly jets that now are the stan­dard mode of trans­porta­tion for top play­ers, even though most are merely pas­sen­gers.

He set a record in 1976 when he cir­cum­nav­i­gated the globe in 57 hours, 25 min­utes and 42 sec­onds in a Lear 36. He stopped fly­ing his Cessna Ci­ta­tion 10 when he was en­cour­aged not to re­new his li­cense at age 81.

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