GOLFING LEGEND DIES
Palmer, one of the world’s most celebrated golfers, passed away in Pittsburgh at the age of 87. He’s survived by the second wife Kathleen “Kit” Gawthroop, two daughters and a grandson, Sam who plays on the PGA tour.
His accomplishments are numerous. Palmer is the winner of seven major tournaments. He attended The Masters Tournament for 50 straight years, was the co-founder of The Golf Channel and the first client of Mike McCormack’s IMG. In addition, the golfer from Latrobe, PA was one of 13 original inductees in the World Golf Fame in 1974. He was also presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009. In addition, he’s credited with helping create the Senior PGA Tour which is for professional golfers who are at least age 50. It’s now called the Champions Tour and Palmer was a 10-time winner.
He was born in 1929, the son of steelworker and in what sometimes is called an “elitist sport” he never forgot his humble beginnings and his thousands of fans loved him for it. Later on his father would become a greens keeper and then a club pro for the Latrope Country Club. Palmer started golfing there at the age of four. He completed a stint with the United State Coast Guard, then won the United States Amateur Championship in 1954 at the age of 19.
The Golf Digest said he burst upon the professional golfing scene at the same time television stations were introducing color and it was like he was tailor made for the event. “Audiences loved him because he always swung as hard as he could on every full shot.”
“He was the perfect figure for TV because of his athleticism, good looks and because of the way he played the game,” his biographer Jim Dodson explained in his book. A Golfer’s Life.
“He created the excitement that television symbolized. It was immediate and it was fresh because it could take people right to the scene in ways media had never seen before.”
His thousands of ardent fans were called “Arnie’s Army” and he always signed everyone of their autographs in perfect penmanship.
“What’s the point of signing something if the person can’t read it or later can’t even remember whose signature it was,” he stated.
The Golf Digest said it was apparent in March of this year that Palmer was growing frail. He was in attendance as host of his annual PGA tournament which is held at the Bay Hill Lodge outside of Orlando, Florida. Shortly after that event he announced that he would no longer hit the first ball that officially opened The Masters which he had been doing since 2007.
His specific accomplishments include winning The Masters in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964. He won the British Open Championship in 1961 and 1962 and the United States Open in 1968 after being seven strokes behind as he started the final nine holes. With that feat he beat golfing legend Ben Hogan as well as a young Jack Nicklaus. He never won the PGA championship but three times he ended up in second place. In total he won 62 times on the PGA tour and an amazing 29 of his wins were between 1960 and 1963.
“Arnold Palmer has passed away at the age of 87 years old. Rest in peace Arnie. You are forever a legend in golf as well as life,” The Golf Digest stated when it made the announcement.