March 4 forever stamp honors golf champion Arnold Palmer
By Michael Baadke
One of the most famous golfers in the history of the sport will be celebrated on a new United States commemorative stamp March 4.
The nondenominated (55¢) Arnold Palmer forever stamp will be issued during an 11:15 a.m. first-day ceremony at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, on the driving range at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, 9000 Bay Hill Blvd., in Orlando, Fla.
The U.S. Postal Service reports, “The stamp dedication ceremony at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard is open to ticketholders.”
According to the Arnold Palmer Invitational website, single-day ticket prices for the tournament begin at $60, with a 10 percent discount if Mastercard is used to purchase the ticket.
The website also says, “Complimentary Any One Day tickets are available for all United States active duty and military retirees, plus one guest. Must show Department of Defense ID.
“Discounted tickets are also available for U.S. non-retired veterans, plus one guest at $27.50 per ticket (valued at $55 per ticket).”
There is a fee for parking.
Additional ticketing and ceremony reservation details can be found online.
The new stamp was designed by USPS art director Antonio Alcala using a color photograph of Palmer taken by James Drake during the 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.
The image shows Palmer completing his swing with his club held high. “Arnold Palmer” is printed above the golfer’s head, and “FOREVER•USA” reads up from the lower left corner.
The stamps are offset-printed by contract printer Ashton Potter in panes of 20 that will go on sale in post offices nationwide on the date of issue.
“To have my father celebrated in this way is a true honor,” said Amy Palmer Saunders, the younger of Palmer’s two daughters. “It’s something I think he would be proud of as both an individual and as an American, and it’s a wonderful way to preserve his legacy.”
Born Sept. 10, 1929, in Latrobe, Pa., Arnold Daniel Palmer was introduced to the sport of golf by his father, Milfred J. (Deacon) Palmer, the lead golf professional at Latrobe Country Club.
After attending Wake Forest College and serving three years in the U.S. Coast Guard, Arnold Palmer quickly won the U.S. Amateur championship at age 24 and turned pro less than three months later in November 1954.
His win at the Canadian Open on Aug. 20, 1955, was the first of his 62 PGA Tour victories among his 95 professional wins. He won the Masters Tournament four times (1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964), the U.S. Open in 1960, and the Open Championship in 1961 and 1962.
He retired from tournament golf in 2006.
Palmer’s sensational wins, approachable demeanor and easy interaction with the public quickly made him a popular figure on the pro tour and are often cited as reasons that public interest in pro golfing flourished in the 1960s.
His many followers and fans were dubbed “Arnie’s Army,” a name that was later applied to Palmer’s charitable foundation, which continues to support numerous health care initiatives for children.
The Postal Service acknowledged Palmer’s popular appeal by stating, “With drive and charisma, he helped transform a game once seen as a pastime for the elite into a sport enjoyed by the masses.”
Palmer died at age 87 on Sept. 25, 2016, just prior to scheduled heart surgery.
Along with his philanthropy, Palmer was a remarkably successful businessman, lending his name to many ventures that include his favorite drink, a mix of iced tea and lemonade known today as the Arnold Palmer, marketed by Arizona Beverages. He was also a founder of the Golf Channel on television and endorsed a line of sportswear and apparel bearing his name.
His signature and iconic striped umbrella are still seen on many products today and have been adapted for the black first-day cancel created for the new stamps.
The color first-day cancel shows a scene from a golf course and an approach to the next green.
Palmer is the fourth golfer to be celebrated on a U.S. stamp for his accomplishments in the sport.
Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias (1911-56) and Bobby Jones (1902-71) were each honored on 18¢ stamps issued Sept. 22, 1981 (Scott 1932-1933).
Jones was honored a second time on a 32¢ stamp issued in 1998 as part of the Celebrate the Century series (Scott 3183n).
Francis Ouimet (1893-1967), was featured on a 25¢ stamp issued in 1988 (Scott 2377).
Other U.S. stamps celebrating the sport include a 32¢ Golfer stamp in the 1995 Recreational Sports set (Scott 2965), and the nondenominated (49¢) Golf Ball stamp in the 2017 Sports Balls set (5206).
The imprinted stamp on a 13¢ Golf stamped envelope issued in 1977 (Scott U583) suggests the motion of a golf club head about to strike a ball.
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