The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor. It was founded by President Harry Truman in 1945 to recognize civilians for their World War II service, and was reinstated by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 to honor distinguished service in a fields including sports, arts, business and science.
Palmer, one of golf's most popular figures ever, won 62 PGA Tour events and nearly 100 tournaments worldwide. He won seven major championship titles, including four Masters, two U.S. Opens and one British Open.