Nicklaus on Palmer: 'Part of my life went with it'


As the outpouring of tributes and memories continues in the wake of Arnold Palmer's passing, Jack Nicklaus offered a telling assessment of the impact made by his friend and longtime rival.

Palmer and Nicklaus went toe-to-toe many times over the years, most notably at the 1962 U.S. Open where Nicklaus beat Palmer at Oakmont for his first major title. The two later joined Gary Player to form golf's "Big Three," raising the overall state of the game with each tournament victory.

Nicklaus joined Golf Channel's coverage of Palmer's passing via phone Monday and offered insight on the loss he felt after the two shared fairways for more than 50 years.

"When I heard the news last night, I was just crushed," Nicklaus said. "It just sort of felt like part of my life went with it, which it did. He was such a good competitor, good friend, and so great for the game of golf. He did so much for all of us as it relates to promoting the game, furthering the game, and he did so much for my career as far as being my friend and helping me."

While players past and present shared their personal memories of The King in the hours after his passing, Nicklaus encapsulated Palmer's selfless nature with a single maxim.

"I think Arnold would rather have gone to a cocktail party with 100 strangers than out to dinner with two friends," Nicklaus said. "He just liked to give himself to the public and his fans. That was Arnold, and that was his personality. I don't think he ever met a stranger, and that was great."