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RIP The King

Arnold Palmer, a 7-time major winner, Hall of Famer and golf’s most beloved figure died Sunday. He was 87 years old.

When it comes to writing an article about The King, it’s hard for a 30-something-year-old to do it justice. I wasn’t around when he was playing the game competitively. I’ve never met the man. What I do know is Arnold Palmer was a true legend and loved by all.

Everyone seems to have an Arnold Palmer story. Watching the Golf Channel last night and this morning, you got to see how he touched so many lives in such a positive way. And when you see Freddy Couples break down in tears when talking about the man, you begin to realize the impact Palmer had on the game of golf and those who have played it.

What I remember about Arnold Palmer:

I remember being a 9-year-old boy playing golf for the first time with my father. I remember changing my shoes in the locker room and looking up at the following picture on the wall.

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Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan at the 1966 Masters

“Wow,” I thought, “those guys looked cool!”

Not many people pulled off the cardigan better than Arnold Palmer.

I also remember the first time I saw Palmer’s legendary swing. I tried my best to emulate that famous helicopter finish when attempting to hit a cut.

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But my favorite memory occurred every year in April—the ceremonial first tee shot at Augusta National to kick off The Masters Tournament.

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Watching these three over the years tee it up on the first was something truly special. It was definitely on my bucket list of things to do, which unfortunately I never got the opportunity to experience. I remember seeing, not just fans gather round, but also a lot of the players come out early to pay their respects to the original “Big Three.”

In his career, Palmer won 62 times on the PGA Tour (fifth on the all-time list) and 10 times on the PGA Senior Tour. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.

While Palmer might not be remembered as the single greatest player who ever lived, he died as the most beloved.

One thing that keeps coming up when people talk about Palmer is his charisma—the way he carried himself, the way he made people feel when they met him, and the time he took to pay tribute to his fans.

Sam Snead once said, “Palmer went to bed at night with charisma, and he woke up the next morning with more.”

Palmer’s scoring and shotmaking was what captivated the sports world. If he did not win, he at least lost with flair.

It has been said that Palmer sold a million color TVs—nobody wanted to watch him perform his magic in black-and-white, neither the man of the house, nor the lady.

Arnold Palmer’s legacy will continue to live on. He made the majority of his money off the course, mostly through courses he designed and also the licensing of his name. In 2015, Palmer was the 3rd highest paid retired athlete behind Michael Jordan and David Beckham. Palmer trademarked his name, and that famous umbrella logo. He co-founded the Golf Channel in 1995, and his famous Arnold Palmer drink, which consists of half lemonade/half iced tea, will forever live on.  And thanks to the philanthropic efforts of the Arnold Palmer Medical Center and Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundations, he will continue having a lasting impact on the lives of others.

After hearing of Palmer’s death, many took to social media to express their sadness and pay their respects. Here are a few…

RIP Arnold Palmer. Gone but never forgotten.

Arnold Palmer 1929–2016

What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive. –Arnold Palmer

 

 

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