Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, a man who transcended sports and life, who won seven major championships and 62 PGA tournaments, inspired an ‘Army’ of followers that lasted decades, and a man known simply as ‘The King’ on the golf course, has died at the age of 87.
Palmer was known for his hard-charging style, a charisma that kept him relevant through endorsements well past his playing days, and a rivalry with another great, Jack Nicklaus.
While Nicklaus dominated that rivalry in many ways on the golf course, Palmer always held firm a love from fans and the common everyday people he seemed to represent in a way that nobody else could.
Palmer had no trouble transitioning from friendships with US presidents – every one since Eisenhower – to the every day man who would hike up his trousers, blast long bombs off the tee, and then stalk the ball down the fairway with a cigarette between his fingers, all to the crowd’s delight.
He was also friends with Donald Trump:
He will be sorely missed, not just from the golf and sports world, but by nearly everybody that knew his name.
Tiger Woods paid tribute to Palmer on social media, writing “Thanks Arnold for your friendship, counsel and a lot of laughs.”
He added, “Your philanthropy and humility are part of your legend. It’s hard to imagine golf without you or anyone more important to the game than the King.”
And former rival-turned-friend Jack Nicklaus wrote a stirring tribute to Palmer on Facebook which read in part:
Arnie’s Sportscentury bio on ESPN includes a phrase which reads “When he won, we all won.”
This week, we all lost a little bit.