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First-of-its-kind exhibit pays tribute to life of golf legend Arnold Palmer

Arnold Palmer Experience on display all week at Bay Hill

ORLANDO, Fla. – Fans attending this year's Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando will have a unique opportunity to look back on the life of the legendary golfer. 

It's the first time they'll get a look at some iconic items that Palmer, who died of complications with heart issues at 87 in 2016, collected throughout his career. The items can be seen at an interactive exhibit known as the Arnold Palmer Experience on display all week at Bay Hill. 

The experience starts with a six-minute film that takes a look back at how Palmer became a legend.

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"It was such an amazing life that Arnold Palmer had, that we wanted to try to tell that in a compelling way," Jon Podany, the CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, said.

Also for the first time, fans will see some of Palmer's most precious memorabilia brought from his hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. 

"Some of Mr. Palmer's awards and trophies and even little handwritten notes -- everything from letters from the presidents to medallions he saved from different events," Marci Doyle, the tournament director, said.

Part of Palmer's workshop from his Bay Hill home in Orlando, where he enjoyed sprucing up his golf clubs -- a few of which will be seen through the experience -- will also be on display.

Some of the famous shots that Palmer made can be seen throughout the exhibit and fans will get a chance to replicate those shots in simulators. 

One of those is the famous shot at the Royal Birkdale 1961 Open Championship, which some say showed how strong his mental game was when he got the ball out of a bush.

"He could've easily just pitched out and tried to make par, you know? Doing it that way, he decided he was gonna try and hit the green out of that bush and slash through there," Podany said. "And he got it out (on) the green and that propelled him to go on and win his first Open Championship."

Palmer was the winner of over 90 golf tournaments, including four Masters wins in 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964, a U.S. Open win in 1960 and two British Open wins in 1961 and 1962.

Aside from being one the greatest golfers of all time, Palmer was also a man of the people.

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"It's truly representing more than just golf, because some people don't realize how much he influenced outside of the game of golf. He would drive around on his golf cart, and he would shake hands and he would sign autographs," Doyle said.

Podany said whether it was with a smile, wink or thumbs up, Palmer made everyone feel like they were his best friend.

The legacy of the passionate and kindhearted man lives on through the Arnold and Winnie Palmer Foundation, the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and, of course, his iconic iced tea-lemonade combo drink, which was created by his wife in their kitchen.


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