#17: The Day He Quit Smoking
Never was Arnold Palmer’s determination tested more, perhaps, then when he decided to quit smoking.
A smoker like many of golf’s greats in the early years, Palmer even appeared in cigarette ads for a time. But around 1964 he decided to stop, spurred on, he said, by new information linking cigarettes to lung cancer. He quit smoking on course around that time but his last cigarette wouldn’t come until 1970 or so. “When I see some of the old film clips and see how I silly I am with that thing hanging out of my mouth… I could just cringe,” he told Golf Digest after his 70th birthday. “I can run now at 70 better than I did 40 years ago, when I huffed and puffed.” Palmer spent the rest of his life encouraging others to quit, sharing his own experience and wisdom: “If I had known what cigarettes were doing to me,” he said, “I would have quit sooner than I did.”