#11: Presidential Medal of Freedom
On this day in 2004, Arnold Palmer joined previous winners Nelson Mandela, Stephen Hawking, Mother Teresa and other luminaries when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“Arnold has given his all,” said President George W. Bush at the medal's presentation, “playing with style and a daring that changed the game of golf… Every big crowd we see at a golf tournament today started with Arnie’s Army.” Athletes such as Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson and Billie Jean King had been awarded the honor, but Palmer was the first golfer. He's been joined by three others since: Jack Nicklaus, Charlie Sifford and, most recently, Tiger Woods. As President Bush added before giving Palmer his medal, “the father who taught him to play golf at Latrobe Country Club would be very proud today.”