Arnold Palmer, 1929-2016


Arnold Palmer, who built a golf legacy as the King by connecting with the common man, died Sunday in Pittsburgh, near his longtime home in Latrobe, Pa. He was 87.

Palmer died of complications from heart problems, it was confirmed by Alastair Johnston, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises.

Palmer was fifth on the all-time PGA Tour wins list with 62 and tied for seventh on the list of major-championship winners with seven. He was the PGA Tour's leading money winner four times between 1958 and '63, and Player of the Year in 1960 and '62. His honors included being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, winning the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award and being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

But any list of achievements, no matter how impressive, misses what made Palmer "the King." It was an unbeatable combination of charisma, fighting spirit and downright likability that allowed him to almost single-handedly propel golf into the television era in the 1960s.

In addition to the success he found on the golf course, Palmer made a mark in business as a product endorser and golf-course owner and designer. He also was a prolific philanthropist, helping to build two major hospitals in his adopted hometown of Orlando, Fla.

And not least of all, he was a founding father of Golf Channel, a venture he saw as a promising way to grow the game he loved so much.

The Arnold Palmer story cannot begin to be told in one small article. Elsewhere on this site we offer looks at the multifaceted areas of his life.

Arnold Palmer, 1929-2016. RIP.