#26: The Day the Army was Formed
There are a number of stories as to how the phrase “Arnie’s Army” was coined, but all of them describe the same thing: one of the greatest groups of fans in the history of sports.
The timing and place are certain: 1959, Augusta National, the Masters. Soldiers from nearby Camp Gordon (now Fort Gordon) were enlisted to man the scoreboards. These were early days for the Masters on television, and to ensure a good crowd Augusta National co-founder Clifford Roberts offered free tickets to any soldier who showed up in uniform. Plenty did, and it seemed like all of them were rooting for Palmer. Whomever came up with it, the phrase “Arnie’s Army” appeared in The Augusta Chronicle that week, and a movement was off and running. Now used to describe Arnie’s global legion of fans and members of the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation, Arnie’s Army was near and dear to Palmer’s heart. “When people ask what’s driven me all these years,” he said once, “I always give the same answer: It’s you.”