Even the game gave little away about this golfing enigma. He featured on the box artwork, and the title screen, brandishing a meaty fist, but beyond that... he was nowhere to be seen. There wasn't even the option to play as Arnold Palmer: your character was just some anonymous guy wearing a stupid flat cap.
Of all the Arnold Palmer golf games you could imagine being made, Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf would rank among the least Arnold Palmer-y. Indeed, it probably featured the absolute bare minimum of Arnold Palmer-ness required to get away with even being called an Arnold Palmer golf game.
Sega had something of a habit of adding a token celebrity sportsman to their games, once they hit markets outside of Japan. Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf had been released in Japan as Ozaki Naomichi Super Masters - a game which contained precisely no Arnold Palmer.
Whether Arnold Palmer, Tommy Lasorda (baseball) or Pat Riley (basketball) ever saw or played the games, to which they allowed their names to be attached in return for some money, remains in doubt.
Sadly, we can't ask Arnold Palmer. He's dead now, you see, and his secrets go with him to the grave. He was 87, and his name was an anagram of Mr Loan Pedlar.
Until I played Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf I had never heard of birdies, or eagles, or a par, or - ha ha - bogies. I'd never played golf, barring crazy golf on summer holidays (crazy golf? Talk about overselling something - maybe if they'd shrieked and thrown hairbrushes at you while you were putting your ball towards the hole shaped like a windmill...). I wasn't a golf fan. Indeed, I wasn't a fan of sport of any stripe. Everything I know about golf is derived entirely from Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf.
So why even buy it if I wasn't a golf fan? It was slim pickings in those early Mega Drive days. Beyond Golden Axe, I was struggling to justify the £189.99 I'd spent ordering it from Special Reserve.
Altered Beast was a travesty. Super Thunder Blade and Super Hang On hadn't been much better. Buying Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf - just as I had John Madden Football - was an act of desperation, borne from guilt. I had an infant daughter, who I should've been saving my money for, and I'd splashed out nearly £200 on a toy that I was struggling to enjoy. So... of course I had to spend more money to try and get my money's worth.
Plus, I didn't even know what sort of games I was going to like in this era of "mean machines", so anything that got a decent review was a potential purchase. I dare say that Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf had been given a 90%-ish score in C&VG.
Oddly, while it might seem on paper like an incongruous fit with me, I ended up really liking Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf. It was relaxing. It was easy to play.
As a result, over subsequent years I continued to flirt with golf sims, but they became increasingly more authentic and realistic.
The more hardcore they became, the harder I found it to stay engaged with them. The casual golf sim player was being pushed out, in favour of courting the dedicated fan.
There was something shamelessly arcade-y about Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf - a fact that was underlined by its famous Fantasy Zone easter egg; miss a hole 100 times, and it unlocked a level of Sega's pastel-hued shoot 'em up.
Some years ago, I hired a golf club bar for my daughter's 18th birthday party. When I went in to pay for the booking, I hadn't noticed that the clubhouse was divided into two areas, delineated by one side being carpeted garishly, and the other having a plain tiled floor.
Without realising I'd done anything wrong, I stepped a foot or two onto the carpeted section, and was asked by a snooty member sat at the bar to step back over onto the tiled side. I was wearing trainers, you see, and these were banned in the members area. He continued to sneer at me while I waited for the payment to go through.
Suffice to say, it didn't endear me to golfers: Arnold Palmer had always looked so friendly on the box of the Mega Drive game, but in that moment I realised I'd been sold a lie. The golf world was one of rules and privilege. A place where I am no longer welcome. Except... for that one time I was, when Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf had embraced me with a pair of light blue golf trousers.
Rest in peace, Arnold Palmer. BOGIES!