Review: Golf's 'Arnie' Puts Legend in Perspective

Rating: Four stars out of 5

For those who are too young or have forgotten, Golf Channel’s three-part documentary Arnie brings memories and perspective to the course Arnold Palmer first set on America’s sports and culture more than a half-century ago.

Screening the first two parts of the home movie of sorts — Palmer is a co-founder of Golf Channel — Arnie weighs in on the influence of his steely father Deacon and supportive mother Doris, and the profound impact the death of Wake Forest friend Buddy Worsham had on the young man.

Arnie also examines what was Palmer’s hardly initial embrace of Mark McCormack, the late IMG founder, whose influence on the player’s life and the sports marketing world is boundless.

Palmer’s charitable legacy, particularly the hospitals named for his late wife, Winnie, is explored, along with his business acumen.

So, too, are the common folk comprising his Army that helped golf explode and have had their love requited. Palmer responds to all letters he receives, housed in countless boxes in a shed at his home.

The doc also swings at the competitive relationship and friendship with Jack Nicklaus, and their contrasting styles and personalities.

Then, there is the golf.  Black-and-white footage dramatically captures Palmer’s hard-charging, go-for-broke style that would make Phil Mickelson proud. It yielded seven majors, as well as the implosion on 18 that ended his chance to become the first man to repeat at The Masters in 1961.

What better way to cap Masters Sunday by spending time with Arnie, the film about the man who burnished his legacy at Augusta National.