A celebrity. A golfing icon. A legend. These are just a few words that describe the late Arnold Palmer who, unfortunately and shockingly at the age of 87, died this past September 25th while awaiting heart surgery.
Whether it was for his golf legacy or incredibly popular iced tea, Arnold Palmer left a permanent imprint on the world. Deemed “The King” by all in golf, Palmer changed how the game was played. His achievements ranged from winning 90 golf tournaments, particularly the Masters four times, to being the first golfer to make $1 million playing the sport, and countless others. However, arguably, his greatest accomplishment was spreading golf to a worldwide audience.
Eventually, The King gained a constantly growing fan base known as “Arnie’s Army”, which supported him at every tournament. He became known as the face of golf.
Although Palmer was a large reason the sport propelled in the 1960s, he had the help of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. These three top golfers were the definition of great rivals who more importantly, had an even greater respect for each other. This rivalry helped boost the sport into a more mainstream and broadcasted event.
Palmer impacted not only the sport but pop culture as well. The famous iced tea/lemonade drink, “Arnold Palmer”, was named after the golfer. A large reason for his fame was his movie star status in the eyes of women, and a “one of us” look to men. He was both a celebrity and average man at the same time, which made his personality all the more magnetic.
On the day of Palmer’s death, Nicklaus stated, (via Twitter), “Arnold always had my back, and I had his…He was the king of our sport and always will be.”
Current golfing star Phil Mickelson was quoted saying, “I saw how much time and attention he gave to fans, the media, and worthy charitable causes. I’m like every other fan of his enormous influence on the game and his great generosity off the course.” Not only did golfers share their thoughts about him but so did multiple ex-presidents and fans.
Arnold Palmer’s legacy has lived on and will live on for many years to come. Not only will he be remembered in the sport of golf and pop culture, but in everyone’s hearts as well.