Tributes Pour in for Arnold Palmer, ‘King’ of Golf


As a pioneer of sport, Arnold Palmer was a humble and devoted man to the number one love in his life; golf. Although the nation has been swept by a tragic passing, his unrivaled achievement has been noted and as Rory McIlroy reminded him ‘Mr Palmer, I will never want for anything at all in life. That’s all because of you.’

Golf Digest, on Twitter:

Summarised in a small excerpt, his energy and revolutionary sporting spirit, put his career at the forefront of a multi-billion dollar industry.

Arnold Palmer was born September 10, 1929 and had been influenced by his father who was an avid golfer. His first set of golf clubs were cut from a tree by his father when he was only four years old and his love for the game stemmed from there. He attended Wake Forest College, having received a golf scholarship and having won the 1954 U.S Amateur, he decided to go pro. Since becoming one of the leading American golfers of all time, he has become widely known as ‘the king’, who inspired a widespread passion for golf. The game has a lengthy history and his passing on Sunday at the age of 87 only goes to show his effort and legacy that will continue to transcend the game of golf and that of generations.


Photo credit: Coast Guard 

James Dodson, Palmer’s photographer describes the late king as ‘the most charismatic, down-to-earth person I’ve ever been around, and I’ve spent a lot of time around famous people. There’s no public and private difference between Arnold Palmer. He was generous and kind and funny and loved to needle you’. One of Palmer’s most famous quotes about golf, perfectly describes his character: ‘deceptively simple and endlessly complicated’. Born In the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, outside of Pennsylvania, he was your average man; a virtue that made him so compelling to have collected 95 titles, including 62 US PGA Tour titles over his lifetime. His very first victory was at the Canadian Open, August 20, 1955 and the last was the Senior Tour Crestar Classic, September 18, 1988. His winning titles consisted of the US Open, British Open and the Ryder Cup. When you compare his professional career to his beginnings, it is astonishing to have noted his strength for the game, having started golf at a country-club with a very small following. In an interview with CNN’s Shane O’Donoghue, he commented: ‘Gold was coming on, it wasn’t anywhere near the magnitude that it is today. Of course, I was a very enthusiastic young man looking for a way of life that I felt was coming on’.

Palmer was also well-know to many of the presidents of the United States of America. Palmer was in close contact with the current president, Obama, as well as Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George HW Bush and George W Bush. Tributes very quickly poured in to honour Palmer who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, and the Congressional Golf Medal in 2009. He was the first golfer to have been awarded the Medal of Freedom.


Photo credit: Morse

Arnold Palmer was fortunate enough to have become part of an era when television was at its height of innovation. Live television was growing in popularity and Palmer became one of the first sports stars that featured on television, helping his career reach new heights and to an audience he may never have found. Palmer was the first player to earn $1million and by 2008, he had earned almost $30million through off-course projects. His hobbies outside of the game included flying, and his last flight was in 2001, having flown from California to Orlando at the fantastic age of 81.


Photo credit: Debby Wong/ 

Since his passing on Sunday, the world has taken to social media, keeping Mr Palmer’s family in their prayers and to offer their own perspective of the great man and golfer. As the Ryder Cup begins this week, many are reflecting as to how Palmer truly inspired a new generation. Davis Love III, who is an American professional golfer, having won 21 events on a PGA Tour has commented on the loss that ‘Arnold leaves an impact on the game and on sports in America that is unmatched’. Palmer was involved in playing six Ryder Cups, reflecting his victorious wins; between 1958 and 1964, he had won 25 titles, including 16 top fives and was the runner-up five times.

Tiger Woods offered a beautiful sentiment to his testimony:

The world may have lost a legend, but the tributes that have been delivered demonstrate long-lasting friendships, thanks and the power to have taught future generations.

Feature image credit: Debby Wong/

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