The Story of an Arnold Palmer: What is an Arnold Palmer?

By Troy Klongerbo
February 26, 2016


JD: I’ve taken your best qualities and my best qualities and combined them into something even better, much in the way that iced tea and lemonade were joined to become an Arnold Palmer. Incidentally, has anyone else ever done less to become famous? I mean yay for me, I mixed two drinks together.

Dr. Cox: Arnold Palmer is a golfer.

JD: I’m sure he has lots of hobbies, Perry, the man’s a drink mogul

JD’s hilarious lack of sports knowledge was an ongoing gag on “Scrubs.” He didn’t know who Barry Bonds was, he once guessed that Latrell Sprewell played hockey and that the Knicks were a tennis team. He even won a “Worst Athlete in America” award in one of his many day dreams.

Still, his Arnold Palmer ignorance is likely more common than the show wants you to think. Since Arizona introduced the 99-cent can, people of all ages have been drinking “Arnold Palmers,” while likely knowing little to nothing about the man.

This isn’t unique to Palmer, either. Consider the name Tim Horton. What do you think of? Donuts? Coffee? Canada? Well before he started the restaurant chain, Horton was a Hall of Fame defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He is regarded as one of the most important figures during Toronto’s long ago dynasty of the 1960’s.

Now, hockey is less popular than golf (or at least players from the Original Six era are lesser known) and Horton never reached the heights of Palmer in his sport. The King can rightfully hold a place among golf’s all-time greats.

Horton and Palmer do, however, share this distinction. They are both a “who” and a “what.” Imagine Jeopardy!

Answer: This drink is half iced tea and half lemonade.

Question: What is an Arnold Palmer?

Palmer really is a drink mogul in some people’s eyes. And if they know him as a golfer, it’s unlikely they can tell you how many PGA victories (62) or Major Championships (7) he won.

The question, though, was always the same when anyone enjoyed an Arnold Palmer: why iced tea and lemonade? How did something so obvious carry his name?

ESPN launched a 30 For 30 Short in 2013 to answer those very questions. Check it out below. (Coincidentally: Will Arnett is drinking an Arnold Palmer out of a Maple Leafs cup)

And bonus viewing:

In the words of Scott Van Pelt, that was awesome.

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