Golf LEGEND Arnold Palmer, a seven-time major winner who brought golf to the masses and became the most beloved figure in the game, died Sunday, a source close to the family confirmed to Golfweek. He was 87.
Reaction poured in from “Arnie’s Army” of admirers in the world of golf.
“We loved him with a mythic American joy,” said Palmer biographer James Dodson. “He represented everything that is great about golf. The friendship, the fellowship, the laughter, the impossibility of golf, the sudden rapture moment that brings you back, a moment that you never forget, that’s Arnold Palmer in spades. He’s the defining figure in golf.”
No one did more to popularize the sport than Palmer. His dashing presence singlehandedly took golf out of the country clubs and into the mainstream. Quite simply, he made golf cool.
“I used to hear cheers go up from the crowd around Palmer,” Lee Trevino said. “And I never knew whether he’d made a birdie or just hitched up his pants.”
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Arnold Palmer, golf’s greatest ambassador, at age 87.”
We are deeply saddened by the death of Arnold Palmer, golf’s greatest ambassador, at age 87. pic.twitter.com/iQmGtseNN1
— USGA (@USGA) September 26, 2016
CBS Pittsburgh reports that the Latrobe native is regarded as one of the greatest players in professional golf history and began playing at the age of 3.
Palmer’s flair for the dramatic introduced the elitist world of golf to a blue collar audience. With a wagonload of trophies, he now receives an honor like no other.
He won the WPIAL and PIAA individual titles as a junior and senior at Latrobe High School in 1946-47. Palmer won seven majors, played The Masters for 50 straight years, co-founded the Golf Channel and was IMG’s first client.
Palmer drew thousands of fans to the game of golf in the 50s and 60s, as his rabid fan base earned the moniker “Arnie’s Army.”
He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2012.
Off the course, he was happily married to wife Winnie for 45 years until her death from cancer in 1999 at the age of 65.
The couple raised two daughters, Peggy and Amy. Amy’s son Sam Saunders now plays on the PGA Tour.
In 2005, Palmer married Kathleen, who was with him when he died…
Rest In Peace my friend and thank you for the memories.